Record-keeping in our homeschooling only became a ‘thing’ a few months into doing this.
It’s not because I didn’t want to – in all honesty, it’s because starting to homeschool is really quite overwhelming, and I think if anyone who is new to homeschooling says differently, they have eaten too many Hershey Bars!
Laws for homeschooling vary from country to country, and if you are in the USA, it also varies from state to state. You do need to check the laws for where you live.
Some states in the USA, for example, require that you records of your homeschooling, if not though, it is a good idea to keep these so that you can easily see progress, where more assistance is needed, and it’s also quite motivational for your children to see what they have accomplished.
Variety of Record-Keeping Methods
Keeping records is not set in stone and there are a variety of ways you can do this.
1. Daily Lesson Plan
Daily lesson plans show what subjects you have taught to your children. They will also show the way your children’s lessons are progressing (from basic to intermediate to advanced).
These lesson plans could be important for school officials to learn what could be lacking from your schooling and in what area they could help you with. Teachers could also help you with lessons that could be a good primer for the next and more advanced level of any subject.
2. Time Spent For Each Subject
Time spent for each subject is an indication of what subjects you have focused on and what subject your children might be having some problem absorbing. Although this is not an accurate basis, this could be used to understand problem areas and reasons why your children are having an easy (or tough) time on their subjects.
3. Diaries and Journals Updated Regularly
Regular diary and journal entries of your children’s achievements (or failures) are a good way to keep a record of your homeschooling. This can prove helpful in two ways. The first is you can keep track of what areas your children have already studied. This will prove beneficial in monitoring your children’s progress with their lessons.
The second way it can help is that it will help you in knowing where your children are having an easy time and where they need more time and attention. This is important so you could focus on one subject if you think your children need it.
It is simple to create or copy a test or exercise from one of the books your children use. Results from these exams can be compiled and recorded. These, just like any other records, can be proof of your children’s achievements. Grades are more concrete records of your children’s progress and concrete proof if someone wants to look at your children’s records.
Grades also give your children a sense of achievement. This will help in building their characters and giving a boost in their egos. Failures can also help, too. You just have to handle their feelings carefully and make sure that they realize that they can make their failures as stepping stones to success.
Portfolios are a collection of your children’s works, from their exercises to their tests and anything that they have done while schooling. For your younger children, these could include the first time they write a letter or the whole alphabet. Included in their portfolio are their mathematical computations and other exams. For your older children, this could include pictures from recent field trips to museums and other historical trips. Other things that could be included are science tests and experiments and, if possible, a picture of your children’s science projects.
Creating portfolios are a great option for record-keeping for your homeschooling lessons.
6. Standardized Tests
A standardized test performed by an authorized school official could be a good way to let the government know if you’ve been schooling your child at home. These tests will show what subjects your children are having any problems with. Results from these exams (even if your children fail) will not really be a gauge of the success of your homeschooling. These tests would let school officials know how to help you with regards to subjects your children are having difficulty with.
There are several reasons why you would want your children to take a standardized test. The first reason is given above. These tests will let you know what subjects your children are having some difficulty with.
Some people believe that record-keeping is an effective way to gauge your children’s abilities and knowledge compared with people their age. I don’t fully agree with that as the curriculum you choose to follow may be different to their peers in a traditional schooling system, you might be following eclectic homeschooling and educating your children on topics they are interested in.