Depending on which state you live in, the requirements for record keeping for homeschooling differ. Even if your state doesn’t require records, it is a good idea, in my opinion, to keep some records and some examples of your students’ (children’s) work.
Let me give you an example. One of the women in my local homeschooling group was asked by her husband to send the children to the local public school this year instead of homeschooling them. (The details are not important to my point.) She was asked by the school principal for any records she had. Caught completely off guard by the request, she said she didn’t have any. Later, she was able to reconstruct a list of activities, curriculum, and level of achievement in language arts and mathematics. She candidly admits she gave a bad example of a homeschooling parent.
Everyone has a different method – including no method at all and no formal record-keeping. I am writing this post for two reasons – 1) to encourage you to keep some level of records, even if it is only a picture or two of science projects completed or an end-of-the-year math test; and 2) to explain my own record-keeping method.
Each year, I purchase a student calendar/notebook that is my child’s own to draw/write in, but which also serves as my record of what we did each day. If a day was particularly good or bad, I write a note to that effect on the side. If there is something that needs to be celebrated or worked on, I include that in the communication section of the notebook for that week. When my spouse and I don’t see each other much due to work schedules, he can pick up the notebook at any time and see what we’ve been working on as well as how things are going.
This year, I have two notebooks – one for each child that is “schooling.” There is some repeat information (religion, science, history, kindergarten electives) written in both, but each is updated daily. The lesson plans that I worked on over the summer for the different curriculum are very helpful both in knowing what to cover each day, but also when recording what we did. If we did exactly what the lesson plan called for, I can use the page numbers listed in the lesson plans rather than pulling the book back out to check to see how much we covered.
One thing I noticed while looking back over the past week worth of notebook notes – we do a LOT each day.
On a side note, it is a good thing we are running a week ahead of my original lesson plans in Language Arts (Spell to Write and Read, SWR). The consonant/vowel reference page that I thought should only take us three days to complete (while doing other things) has already taken four days. We will probably take two more days to complete it at the pace we are currently setting. While dictation is going well and Child #1 is doing great with phonogram review, she simply hates to write. She doesn’t mind using the white board, but I make her copy down the words in her Learning Log and it seems she takes more time to complain than to write. And, as in years past, I find I can get her to write them if I provide an incentive of some sort for getting done (e.g., an extra hug/kiss or a sip of a carbonated beverage). I try not to resort to that on a regular basis, though.