We are approaching the end of the school year and that means it's time for evaluations. This can be a daunting task, getting everything together and documented if you have not kept good records. And yes we have been there in our early years of homeschooling. I had my son tested the first couple years just because I couldn't seem to get all our records together to be evaluated. Be sure to check the legal requirements for your state!!
Even so, record keeping is important not only for the sake of regulations. It is also an excellent way to record and document the learning process of your child. When most of the learning is done through life experiences, there is no clear cut index of topics that are being covered. This can make putting a portfolio together, or writing quarterly reports difficult when learning doesn't fit into neatly pigeon holed areas. This is when keeping some sort of a log to record your child's progress can be so beneficial.
The records you keep can be as simple as a daily journal, or as elaborate as a software program. Just keeping track of daily work makes reporting easy and efficient. This journal can be maintained by you or your child. The aim is to keep a log of learning experiences and discoveries. Recording these memorable events and discoveries is also a great way to reminisce later on.
We now complete portfolios for our end of year evaluations. This consists of a collection of various materials that show what my children have achieved and done during the course of the year.
Portfolio assessment is a very effective way to chart your child's progress. It gives structure to the otherwise loose and flexible form of schooling we call homeschooling. A portfolio can be as varied as your homeschool. A drawing portfolio will consist of some paintings or sketches that are considered the best in each 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. They choose what to submit and having a tangible record of what they have achieved propels them to greater heights.
Another popular method of record keeping is the daily planner. This type of record keeping works great if you are a planner. It consists of laying out the plans and assignments for the week in a teacher's planning notebook. Check each item as it is covered. You may also 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 would also be recorded in this area. Make a summary every quarter or as needed.
We tried this system in the beginning, but I'm not a very good planner. So, they didn't get followed very well and so we ended up testing because my record keeping wasn't complete.
There are also software systems you can purchase to help with record-keeping. These systems lay out a good checklist or basis to start. Some allow you to personalize the organizer to better fit your approach. If you have used a software system, what did you like or not like about it?
There are various other record keeping methods used by various home-schools. Regardless of the methods used, record keeping in one form or other is essential. Your child's future may well depend on the well-maintained record that you have meticulously kept over the years.
My suggestion would be to try different methods of record keeping to find what works best for your family and homeschool.
Do you keep records of your children's progress? What have you found works well for you?