As part of developing your curriculum, it is important
to remember to keep good records of your child's homeschooled years.
Homeschool record keeping can be as important as the curriculum that
you choose. Well-documented records could potentially become critical
at some point in your future. Sometimes this documentation is required
for school officials, application for enrollment in a new school, legal
matters, or possible family matters. Stay on top of your record keeping
so that if you ever need them, everything will be in order.
Reasons to Keep Records
Being Prepared and Organized in how your home and homeschool operates
is the key to sanity! Organization helps you to mentally prepare
your presentation of lesson work on a daily basis.
Proof that "education" is taking place. Who
would want or have good reason to know this? College? Grandparents?
School officials? Legal/Court? Applying for a scholarship?
Records of this nature enable you to hold onto memories,
parents' or kids,' giving you something to reminisce with in years
This type of tool helps you see where you've been and
what has been accomplished and mastered so you can re-evaluate
where you're going and what to do next, what to emphasize, and
what to eliminate.
See and know the overall picture of where you're headed; Record
keeping helps keep your student headed in the direction where
you both want to go. Helps you verify that your child is equipped
and prepared for the future they are destined for.
These are items that can be part of or included in a creative,
well-presented, well-rounded portfolio. You want it to represent
your student's progress, accumulated knowledge, and/or expertise
in a particular area.
of the topics in this section are discussed in detail, including examples
in my books.
How to Keep Records
need to keep 2 kinds of files.
General Student File contains basic administrative
materials, it is your master file that you ammend each year by including
the School Year File.
School Year File contains academic and attendance materials
and is kept on a yearly basis.
Record keeping doesn't have to be complicated. Simple records are fine,
just be consistent.
Examples of Record Keeping Tools
All of the items here are tools I used to develop my own
| Attendance & School
A Daily Log
of an "at-a-glance" daytimer at Amazon.
Use a calander or a day planner to keep your notes, study topics,
had a large spiral bound calendar that planned our week where I
wrote the items/topics we intended to get to during the week. It
was a week at a glance type of calendar.)
day timer is also a good idea for your student. It helps with their
own personal organization. They can list what they hope to accomplis
and keep their own notes.
keep my student organized, we used a chart that listed Monday through
Friday across the top and the time of day down the left hand side.
For each day we populated each box with subject names using as many
boxes for the length of time we planned for the topic. This changed
for each “semester”. It was a visual attempt to plan
each day. Example.
| Course of Study
A Course Survey
The course survey is what I used to put on paper all of the topics
my student wanted to study in a year. It was the starting point
for the year. My student had access to the course survey so he could
add or subtract items. It always included the planned list of books
and literature that were going to read/use as well. Generally, our
course survey was 7-10 pages.
Our study guide (some call this a syllabus) described in detail
the topics listed in the Course Survey Overview. It included resources
we used and the activities and projects we wanted to accomplish.
It also had numbered classes that could be tied to a calendar, which
we rarely did, but I was just that organized then. I developed one
study guide for each “subject” or topic. Each guide
was specific enough to take my student along a certain path, but
is loose enough to permit a tangent into an obtuse topic. The collection
of these study guides became our course of study for that year.
A progress report outlines your
progress. It states what you did and sometimes, how well you did
it. It's easier to produce progress reports and/or report cards
if you keep a daily journal of some sort.
I didn't individually grade
each bit of work, we addressed problems immediately, rather I
gave an overall assessment of how I felt my student did in each
topic each semester. Because my student wanted to know how he
was doing, I made report cards for him. One version I used is
practice in middle school allowed me to readily generate transcripts
as we got closer to high school.
Up to the 6th grade, I kept an Annual Summary that listed what we
accomplished and where we needed to improve. They were notes for
me, but I kept them in case I ever needed them for another purpose.
I was opposed to keeping track of “grades”, but my student
wanted to know how he was doing. So, as a compromise, as we approached
the 6th grade, I began to keep track of “grades”, (progress
reports) in addition to my Annual Summary. I generated “report
cards” each semester and then blended them with elements from
my Annual Summary to create a “Basic Transcript”.
Basic Transcript was a visual record that showed how I evaluated
progress in each subject but it also encapsulated the elements of
the Annual Summary that I preserved in more detail from this point
forward. Both the Basic Transcript and the Annual Summary became
part of The Annual School Year File. When we approached 9th grade,
I started keeping more Detailed Transcripts that were used in college
diploma, promotion or honor roll certificate you issue in your home
school is just as valid and represents the same work (if not more)
than what you might receive from a "school". Examples
There's really only two paths you can take with developing
curriculum. You can buy one and follow it or you can invent your own.
Can Buy a Curriculum
There are some many curriculums for sale that it would be impossible to
list them all here these days. I tried one for 3rd and 4th grade. It was
a disaster and we stopped midway through 4th grade. I wasn't able to find
one that suited our needs, so we invented our own.
Can Invent Your Own Curriculum
Eventually, you will want to assemble some sort of curriculum
plan on your own. As plentiful as the ones are that you can buy for any
student, you'll find that somehow for your student you'll need to "tweak"
what you buy. There are many books and websites available that can help
you with what your student should know. But is it what your student
wants to know? Is it what your student needs to know to go where
he wants to go?
A brief overview of our course of study is here
but it is covered in greater detail in my book: ]