Get it in writing…record keeping

One of my friends who is homeschooling for the first time was wondering how to keep records. She was a little nervous “somebody” might come demand to see her records and she’d get in trouble if they weren’t right.  I’ve felt that way too.  But record keeping doesn’t have to be difficult.  There are lots of different ways to keep records.  First, you need to check with either your umbrella school or the county you registered with for information.  What do they require?  My umbrella only wants a curricula list at the beginning of the year, and each semester the number of days completed and the grade for each subject studied. While I do not report my day-to-day activities to them, I am responsible for keeping track of what we do.

Keeping records for the state is not the only reason to write down what you do.  If I continue on the present path, I will teach each subject, topic or grade at least 4 times.  My math is no biggie to remember, but I don’t want to forget that cool series of books on grammar that were so delightful when Happy Girl was in early elementary.  I’d hate to miss reading books she loved to Doodlebug, my youngest, just because of my bad memory.

When I started homeschooling, I went to the Parent-Teacher Store and dutifully purchased a planner.  I filled in the first week’s lesson plans and got started.  Some day that first week, Emily asked me how to become a Christian, we prayed and then spent the morning excitedly calling grandparents.  Our day was wonderful, but my planner was now a mess. I didn’t want to erase it, and I think I probably used ink anyway.  Now what?

I used the computer to make my own planning sheets and it worked well. Here’s the sheet I used for her kindergarten year. I refined it every year, and then decided I couldn’t read my own handwriting.  Now I keep my records on the computer. I make a template for the week’s plan, then every week I copy and paste a blank week to the bottom of my Excel document, plug in the dates and plans for the week and I’m done. I then print it off so I can refer to it during the week and add in things or delete them as needed without getting on the computer.  Now that I’m keeping records on three children, my weekly plan looks quite intimidating.  It’s not really, and having it all written down keeps me from forgetting to read a poem from Now We Are Six or wondering how many pages of our science book I planned to read, or we have to leave for piano on Tuesdays at 2:00. While it may appear quite regimented, it actually is very freeing. I can see what I need to get through my day, but I can still shuffle stuff around if something comes up and we need to change our plans–and it does frequently:).

How do you keep records?

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