In this week's Blog Cruise on the Homeschool Crew blog, this question was posed:
What are your favorite homeschool record-keeping tips?
I live in a state where little is required for record-keeping. In fact, the only real requirement we have is to keep a record of attendance. That's right, a little check-mark on the calendar each day we do school is it. No transcripts, testing, files, or portfolios.
It is grand.
But, like most homeschool moms, I like having some kind of record of what Ben is learning. You should know I am not good at this kind of thing. I'm not a list-maker or planner. I do well to balance my checkbook each month. Actually, with the advent of online banking, I really don't balance my checkbook much. I don't make grocery lists, write down what I eat, or journal much a part from this blog. Couple that with the fact that it's challenging for us to keep records of our homeschool because we use very little pre-planned curriculum, no neat little workbooks to hold on to or tests to tuck away,.and you have a recipe for not much record-keeping. So how do I do it then? With some creativity!
This year we have begun using Notebooking, both as a way to record learning and to express what is being learned. This is a picture of some of the notebooking pages from Ben's Elections 2012 notebook.
We've been making lapbooks since about kindergarten. Until this year, it was our very favorite favorite way to record learning. Ben still enjoys lapbooks, he's just doing more notebooking now. I'm putting this picture of his Maple Syrup lapbook here because he actually just had this one, and a few others, out looking through them a few days ago. That's the fun think about lapbooks. Years later, Ben still enjoys looking and remembering books we read, field trips we took and how maple syrup is made.
Projects that are difficult to keep, like this collage made from autumn leaves are photographed. Actually, this collage is still hanging on the wall in our school room. It's one of Ben's favorites. But the leaves are VERY crunchy after nearly 3 years and it won't last forever. I love that not only do I have a photo of the project, but also a photo of Ben the very day he made it.
Books are the cornerstone of our homeschool. We always have a book basket filled with books on whatever unit study we're doing. I keep track of our booklists in our library's database. As we are notebooking and lapbooking, we add the titles of books we read. If I forget, then I have the library database to fall back on.
Another way I keep track is through photographs of our field trips and fun projects and activities. We have been blessed to take some amazing vacations and field trips over the years. My goal is to some day compile a selection of photos into a set of "yearbooks" for Ben. I don't really scrapbook anymore (that lasted for Ben's first year of life!), but I've seen some awesome digital books that would be perfect for this. Maybe this will be a summer project this year!
And lastly, this blog is quite a record of our years of homeschool. I began it at the end of Ben's kindergarten year. We're now at the end of his 5th grade year. While I haven't recorded every thing we've done on the blog, there is still quite a lot recorded here. It's so fun to go back to 2007 and see pictures of Ben and lesson plans I wrote back then. We have come a long way, baby!