Monday, January 7, 2019

Homeschooling the Teen Years - Record Keeping

Recording keeping for high school, just like for the elementary school years, will vary widely depending on the strictness of the state regulations where you live.

Drawing by C (age 12)
We live in an extremely free state, with very few regulations, so it is easy for record keeping to become an afterthought.  However, some kind of record of what's been studied and when can come in handy when it comes to preparing a high school transcript for college or military admission - or for future job applications.  Not to mention, that it's just nice to have something to look back at, sort of like a scrapbook of the homeschooling years.

In our house we keep it very simple.  I'm organizationally challenged, so the easier to keep up with, the more likely to be followed through with.

In the fall of the year I grab a couple of sheets of notebook paper and jot down a few "subject" headings - English, Math, Science, History, Bible and so on.  Under those headings I place whatever book, app, or video series we're planning on working through that year - I love books, so I usually have a couple of suggestions for each subject.  Each child has their own sheet, or at least their own subsections on the sheet unless they are going to be doing something together.  I leave room at the bottom of the page to add things we read or do together as a family, such as a speech class or skating days.  Along the top of the page I print "Fall 2018" or whatever year it is, and it goes up on the side of our refrigerator for easy reference.

If we end up not using a workbook or series, or add in something else that the children like better, the old suggestion gets crossed off, and the new added in underneath.  That's it.

At the end of the season/semester I take down the old sheets and shove them into a drawer (always the same drawer, so I won't forget where they've gone) with the stack of other years' sheets, and put a fresh new sheet labeled "Winter 2019" or whatever year it is, up onto the fridge. We repeat this for spring and summer (if it's one of those years where we work right through the summer).

These have always worked as an adequate guide for us.  When one of the children asks if they've done enough homework for the day, we'll run down the list, just to make sure we're not forgetting anything entirely (which I can have a habit of doing, especially on subjects they're working through independently).   If we take a couple of weeks off, because something else has caught our fancy, it's nice to have a reminder of where we started from when we want to get back to it.

These have provided more than enough information for me to use for creating high school transcripts, too.  It's basic, but enough.  We don't move on from subjects unless we've mastered them, so it's pass/fail - "A" or nothing in our house, unless I feel (and it really is just by feel for us) that one of the children has brushed over a subject, done the work, but not learned anything, and then I'll give them a C.   I don't feel guilty about this, because the proof is in the college entrance exams, if they've done their work, it will show, if they haven't learned anything, we're not going to fool anyone anyway.

All that to say, don't stress too much over record keeping (unless you really love keeping detailed notes in fancy record books, or unless you're required to have something specific down following state guidelines).  Even the most unshakeable of unschoolers can jot down what they've been reading, watching, building, or doing for the month - add a date to it, store it in a drawer - and voilĂ  - you're keeping records.

It's great to be a homeschooler.


Summer Jarvis said...

This is good stuff! Printed and put on fridge. Are you on Instagram?

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

Not currently.

Ticia said...

I like how incredibly simple this is.