Thursday, September 29, 2011

Record Keeping and Keeping Kids On Track

Every school year is different. I am not doing things this year like I was doing things two years ago or even like last year. I am a big fan of trying something out and changing the process until it works for you. Every child is different, every school year is different and so flexibility is a requirement for homeschooling. You must be able to adapt to current ages and needs (yours too).

We use the A.C.E. program and it has a lot of great qualities that I really like. The program was designed with goal cards. It really is a card, about the size of a large index card, with a colorful table on it and the teacher fills in goals for each day for each subject (in later grades the student writes the goals). I have been using those crazy cards for 5 years. I'll be honest, I'm not a fan. They are easily misplaced by overly active young children and we seemed to use way to many! So this school year I changed things up. I used one of my many one cent folders and created a goal folder for each, Sam and Makiah. I created my own table for each week that was designed with the child in mind; easy to read and with their specific subjects. In the folder they also have their reading list table to be filled out whenever they complete a book. It's big, so it's not easily lost. They can both easily see what their goals are and when they are done they check it off. I should have done this years ago! Then at the end of the week, I can make comments at the bottom about their week and all the extra activities they completed. (Hold on, in the next section you'll see why) I will put the new week's goal sheet in right on top of the previous week. Then at the end of the quarter they can look back and see how much they got accomplished! New quarter, new goal sheets and I'll file the old ones. This system is great. We all love it and its keeping them on track! It's also a great way for dad to come in and see how much they got done that day if he wants too. (Hubs usually just asks, but if he wants to see he can)

While homeschooling is NOT illegal, homeschool families tend to draw a lot of unwanted and unwarrented attention so record keeping is key. Even though I am not keeping transcripts (HALLELUJAH!) I still have a lot of record keeping to, well, keep. Every state is very different in their homeschooling laws and as responsible parents it is a very good idea to know those laws. Being prepared to defend your rights to homeschool is part of making the choice to homeschool. In Missouri, we have to complete one thousand hours of schooling per school year. There are a lot of ways to keep track of your activities, including programs you can purchase. But since we are not keeping transcripts, purchasing a program didn't seem like a solid financial decision since more than half of the program wouldn't get used. Being handy dandy with Word (this took no talent really, but you gotta give me something) I created my own spreadsheets for logging in our hours daily and what those hours were spent doing. Every afternoon, or at midnight when things have slowed down, I sit down and log in what we did that day for both Makiah and Sam. This log is for the core subjects, as well as art, P.E., music, field trips, etc. This particular record keeping is also something new I am doing this year. In the past I have just printed a form offline and manually marked absent, sick, holiday or field trip in an attendance sheet. Not good enough, but I wasn't aware of all the new crazy laws Missouri has in place (I'll say this for Indiana, their laws are MUCH less involved). Again at the end of the quarter those monthly logs will be printed and filed. As with almost everything else in homeschooling, find what works for you in keeping track and do it. And I wouldn't suggest getting behind because catching up is not enjoyable. I mean, I can't remember what I ate yesterday for breakfast so going back and trying to remember what things we did on specific days. . . not going to happen. ~Smile~

Tomorrow is Friday and we have an exciting day planned! I can't wait! I'll be taking pictures and posting our Fabulously Fun Friday on Monday!!

Have a great weekend!!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please leave your comments, suggestions or ideas~~but remember to always be kind and use your inside voice. Please and Thank you.