January 8, 2014

Home School Record Keeping

I had this question from my friend, Jen, at Many Blessings, Busy Life last fall.  I tucked it away to post and it kept getting pushed lower and lower in my drafts as the fall got busier and busier.  I am attempting to catch up and clean out.  So here it goes.

Kat,

We've started back school and a question came up about records. I went to the local homeschool group meeting and the special speaker mentioned keeping records. When I was telling Mason about it that night, he reminded me that you had kept amazing records years ago when ya'll had that trouble with the courts. I thought I would ask for some advice. I know you are busy with school and a baby, but when you get a chance can you send me some ideas? So far, I've only kept tests from their workbooks, but we are expanding our curriculum and it won't be that easy any more.

 Hope everyone is well!!

Love to all,
Jen

The way I keep records is after the fact. Most people write out long plans for the school year but I found that cumbersome. Once the lesson plans were written I felt like I had to stick to them strictly and it was 1- impossible and 2- frustrating. But for the sake of protecting ourselves Allen likes very careful records of what we do. This has proved helpful not only when we were challenged by the courts on custody but for my own benefit.

I have looked back at records to see what I used for a particular subject at one time or another or how I split the work up over the school year.  Having these records to look back at greatly reduces my planning now that I have complete sets of records from two graduates. I can easily see what we tried, what we liked or disliked, what lessons we expanded on or what we used to supplement a lesson.

At the end of a school year or during the summer break I sit down with my kids each individually and decide what we will use for the upcoming year. For example, all the kids will study their Bible but together we decide which books they should focus on and which curriculum they would like to use to do so. Math is always Math-u-See.  I'm not opposed to trying something else if they would like to, but they never do.  We all love it.  In the older grades there are options, however.  This year Emma had the choice of algebra, geometry or stewardship math. For the younger kids there are options between various grammar, health, and history curriculum. They also like to explore new things.  One child might say they are interested in studying electricity this year so we look together until we find a curriculum that suits us both.

When the school year starts each child has a list of what we would like to accomplish in the upcoming year. Emma's looks something like this:

Bible History: Rod and Staff 8 and 9
Math-u-See algebra 1
American Math Challenge, World Maths Day
Greek- level 4
Italian finish book 1
Literature- Abeka 8
Easy Grammar 8
Art- Barry Stubbing Feed My Sheep
History Abeka 8 and GA Henty
Science Abeka 8
Health Abeka 8
Music history famous composers, piano weekly lessons, daily practice

Then I sit down and figure out a time table for the work. That would look something like this:

Bible: 2 lessons /week
Literature: 20 days/unit
Grammar: 1 page,1 review or 1 test/day
Math:1 lesson/week
History: 30 days/unit
Greek: 1 lesson/week
Italian: 30 days/part
Art: 1 lesson/ week 

And then... As work is completed it is written in a good old fashion lesson plan book. I use plain Mead books because they have just what I need... Lots of blocks and not small chintzy ones.

Emma's from last year is packed away so even though it would make sense for me to send a photo of hers here is a page from Nathaniel and Aedan's fourth grade book.

On the top of each page I write which week of school we are in (1) and the date of that Monday (9/3/12) 

Down the left side I name the subjects math, bible, language arts (easy Grammar, daily grams, read and think, cursive, readers), science/history/health/social studies/geography, extras (art, music, phys Ed, field trips, community service.

Then it's simple... I write in what they do. When they are in 5th grade or so they are taught how to keep their own records.

So for this week it looks something like this. I am translating my shorthand.

Monday:
Math: Math-u-See lesson 1 -We watched the video and I gave instruction - we practiced a few examples together. Then the boys did page 1A in their workbook. They also drilled facts using Xtra math online and they played drill games together using flash cards.

Bible: Exploring with God lesson 1. The boys read the lesson book and the corresponding scripture. On Tuesday we discussed what they had read and they each read the lesson orally to me. Then on Wednesday they completed the workbook assignment for lesson 1.

Language arts: Easy Grammar workbook page 2 (we discussed and practiced together and then they did the page together. Daily Gram workbook 1, Read and Think practice 1, cursive practice page 1, Modern Intermediate Reader Lessons 1-3.

Science: section 1.1 Stop, Look and Wonder

Health: unit 1, chapter 1- Your Body Frame Work,  Fearfully and Wonderfully Made.

History: read introduction

Music: read chapter 1- Bach

Art: lesson 15 Note: there will not necessarily be something in every box for every day in the last row because we often work for an afternoon on art or music instead of doing it every day.

As far as which papers I keep... I just keep a sample of each subject... At the beginning of the year placement or assessment tests or the first lesson from each subject. And then final tests from each subject. I also file away each child's favorite lesson from each subject.

By the time our review rolls around, I don't have any work to do.  I just grab the folder and go.

I hope that helps you out. If you have any other questions or need clarification please let me know.

Happy School Days!


1 comment :

  1. This is awesome and really helped me out this last year. I'm not as detailed and we don't have as many subjects to cover. I have just just simple single subject notebooks (the ones that are about 20 cents at Wal-Mart in the fall). Each child has their own notebook and they simply write down what they do for school that day. I've also told them they can draw something of what they've learned or put a sample of what they've learned in there. Kind of like a cross between a journal and a scrapbook. We also concentrate on only two subjects at a time. Most of the younger ones are doing math and language arts/reading, while the high-schoolers are doing math and history/world geography. This way is such a less-stressful way of keeping records. Oh, I still keep the tests from the workbooks though. lol

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