The following is a guest post from my friend Cindy Rushton whom I highly admire!
Easy Record-Keeping for the Reluctant Homeschool Mom!
By Cindy Rushton
Record-keeping! Does your hair stand up when you think of record-keeping? Do you begin to grind your teeth? Did you feel like skipping this article just because it seems impossible for “EASY” and “Record-keeping” to ever go together??
Relax. I know that there is not a “one size fits all.” I know that in spite of how hard we may search, there is not a perfect system for every mom! That is OK! My prayer is that if you are in need of some ideas to make a couple areas a little easier or if you have no idea of where to begin, that you will find a few ideas as you come home with us to see how simple record-keeping CAN be. Ready for some quick tips??? Here we go…
–> Find what is mandatory. Every state and school district has differing requirements. Find other homeschool families in your area and see how each of them manages their homeschool records. Find the easiest way possible to meet the requirements. Make it as DOABLE as possible!
–> Choose what works for YOU. Every mom has her favorite method that works JUST for them whether a planner with reproducible pages… a ready to use planner… a simple spiral notebook… binders… a filing cabinet… computer… etc, etc, etc! Before you consider anything else, look at who you are. What makes you feel more comfortable? What helps you to feel more accomplishment? Whether formal or informal… detailed or not even written down… YOUR way is the best way! Decide what works best for you!
–> Document daily! Don’t let it build up. Jot it down throughout the day. When my children were little, I kept one journal for everything. I kept it out on my desk so I could just jot down what we were doing as we did it. It was amazing how much easier that was than even waiting till the end of the day. As they got older, I transferred this process to them. I had always made it easy. So, transferring it to them did not overwhelm them. I began this process by letting them keep up with their reading log. The rest was easy after that. They now keep their records just like I used to. At the end of the month and again at the end of the semester I go through making sure that everything is on target and also look to see how well they are keeping up with my overall schedule. Without good records, this would be impossible.
–> Keep all of their work in Notebooks. We keep ALL of our written work in a binder of some sort. Then, we take it further… we keep ANYTHING that can be pressed in binders. Anything left?? Yes! Then, we take pictures and keep THEM in the binders! (Hehe!) ANYTHING and EVERYTHING that can be studied can also be kept in Notebooks in some way. We keep anything that would expand a study and build a great collection of information on topics we study… great quotes, definitions about a subject being studied, diagrams, character sketches, pictures, coloring sheets, art prints, poems, Bible verses, narrations, Bible word studies, on and on! Our main reason for Notebooking in this way is that if our children are going to spend their time DOING something, it ought to be worthwhile enough for us to KEEP IT. This teaches them to value their work, do a great job on all they do, and that ALL areas of life are truly educational.
–> Scrapbook events, activities, fun studies, and projects! Scrapbooks/Yearbooks for what are REALLY doing throughout our school year is not only fun, but it helps to preserve the memories of ALL that we are doing in our family. There are just some things that our children are learning that are impossible to document without scrapbooking! Get out of the old “school” box and really document your family’s education. You won’t be sorry!
–> Use planning sheets designed JUST for homeschooling. Don’t let commercial record-keepers keep you from homeschooling with a lifestyle of learning! Look for printable pages that are designed just for the homeschool mom. You can find great options everywhere!
–> Buy resources that are designed just for you. We have an entire line of resources that we now have available through our bookstore. Check out our Make Your Own Brain-in-a-Binder Printables. It is designed specifically for the homeschool mom who wants pages designed for every area that must be balanced in the busy homeschool family. Also, check out other great resources by homeschool writers and even pages that are included in many homeschool books (we always try to include pages that we use in our books). Now, you may be like me. You may prefer to make your own planning pages. That is perfectly fine! You can tailor your pages to fit exactly with your family needs. Just be sure to use what works for you!
–> At the end of the school year, file all records together. This may seem to be a mute point, however this will save your brain! At the end of our school year, I gather everything together and add them into one big binder. I date the binder and store it away for my children’s permanent file. Be sure to pull all of your records together into a set and safe place. When you get discouraged along the way, just look back and see how far you have come—it will be a HUGE blessing!
Ok…So, Are You Ready?
So, what about you? Still scared about Record-keeping? Why not think through YOUR OWN way? Try your spin. Use what is easy, simple, and will give you more time with your little ones while helping to keep things in place for you. Most of all, find a way that can capture all of these precious memories of these days for you so you will have them to look back upon tomorrow! Have fun! EVEN with Record-keeping!
Need MORE Help?
Check out Cindy’s New Organized Mom Super Set! It is full of great ebooks and audios that will help take you by the hand and plan the best homeschool year ever! Plus! When you purchase your set you get MORE help with record-keeping, organization, and setting up your home to learn–you also get access to Cindy’s Organization 911 Seminar Set and her newest Seminar Set, Let’s Get Organized for the New School Year.
Yep! Both! Complimentary! Get your set here: