Growing Up

Record keeping in Homeschooling

homeschooling_record keepingA topic that frequently comes up in meetings and forums that deal with homeschooling is record keeping. The importance of record keeping cannot be ignored. It is not only legally required in various States, but also provides important milestones in your child’s learning experience. An interest-initiated homeschooling approach means that the topic of studies is far ranging and multifarious. Thus, it can be something of a challenge to write quarterly reports for the school district, when it is difficult to classify learning into neatly pigeonholed areas.

Record keeping is important not only for the sake of regulations.
It is also an exciting way to record and document the learning process of the child. When most of the learning is done through play and there is no clear cut index of topics that have to be covered, it is necessary for the parent to keep some sort of a log which records the child’s progress.

The records you keep can be as simple as a daily journal, or as elaborate as a software program. If you participate in a support group, you probably have set forms and requirements. But even so, keeping track of daily work makes reporting easy and efficient.

There are various record keeping methods used by various homeschools. Some of the more popular ones are:

Journal:
This can be maintained by the teacher or the student. This basically aims to keep a log of what was learned and what was done. Recording memorable events that happened in the course of the year is a great way to reminisce later on.

Daily planner:
Lay out the plans and the assignments for the week in a teacher’s planning notebook. Check each item as it is covered. Maintain a separate area where any additional things can be recorded. This includes educational trips, visits and videos etc. Any extra topics that were covered are also recorded in this area. Make a summary every quarter.

Portfolios:
This consists of a collection of varied materials that show what the child has achieved and done during the course of study. Portfolio assessment is a very effective way to chart the child’s progress. It gives structure to the otherwise loose and flexible form of schooling called homeschooling. A drawing portfolio will consist of some paintings or sketches that are considered the best in that quarter. A language portfolio may consist of essays,
stories, reading-logs, spelling samples or letters. Progress in mathematics, fine arts, history, science and social studies can all be recorded this way. The biggest advantage is that portfolio assessment places control in the hands of the children. Having a tangible record of what they have established eggs them on to greater heights.

Other than the above-mentioned systems, there are also purchased record-keeping systems that lay out a good checklist. Some of these allow one to personalize the organizer. Irrespective of the methods used, record keeping in one form or the other is essential. Your child’s future may well depend on the well-maintained record that you have meticulously kept over the years.

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