This week's tip: Record Keeping.
Now that you've taken time to evaluate where your children are after this year of learning, you'll want to add this information to your records.
Begin by following the procedure your state requires for record keeping.
Here in Georgia, the state requires this:
Find that laws for your state by searching '[state name] homeschooling laws' or something close. You should be taken to your state's department of education. Each state varies on this so make sure you know what's required.
Every year I write a summary for each of the subject areas the children and I have covered. I do this by looking back at my goals from the beginning of the year, looking over the lessons we've covered and experiences we've had around each of the subjects. After spending time evaluating, it pretty simple to do this.
As they have gotten older, I have enlisted their assistance in some of the record keeping I do throughout the year. For example, we keep a running list of all books we've read, listened to during family reading time and listened to online or on CD. They each have their own notebooks they record in. I simply copy them into my record keeping journal for each year. My eldest now types hers and emails it to me.
Another example is field trips. As we take them, we record them and write a brief summary of what we encountered and learned. This, too, goes into my record keeping journal. Any pictures we may have taken are also added.
Because our state has such little requirements for record keeping, I have begun to add a bit more to this. In thinking about what each of my children is interested in doing as they get older, we have started portfolios containing samples of their work to show interest, growth and mastery. As we look at what the future may hold--colleges/universities they may attend, I'm also collecting and documenting their growth in ways that these institutions are looking to see from homeschooling students. (This varies from college to college--it's important to start reading up on and speaking to college reps to get a good handle on just what these items are and how they'd like to see them presented.)
I have looked into a few online options for record keeping. While I find that it's less paper to hold onto (when using online options), I haven't found one that I'm totally in love with. So, at present, I write out most of these and keep it in composition notebook with all the plans/goals for that particular year. Looking back I have a good number of these books that I keep in a file cabinet. I can quickly look back over our goals, lessons and find the summaries at the end. Presently, this is working well.
I would suggest that you find a record keeping system that works for your style. If you're brand new to homeschooling or just looking for a few more options, you can take a look at this collection on my Homeschool Organization board.
How are you keeping your records presently? What is working well for you? Are there any changes you'd like to make? Leave a comment below and share what you're using.
Join me next Wednesday for another tip in Planning Your Year Anew: How to Plan 2.0.