It’s been ten years since I last homeschooled. I have fond memories of those years although I’m also glad they’re done.
I’m not one of those people who believe everyone should homeschool. You have to do what’s best for your family. Homeschooling was a good choice for us.
I’ve had several readers ask me about my homeschool recordkeeping and time management practices so I thought it was time to share. Keep in mind that it’s been 10 years and things change!
I homeschooled my two kids from kindergarten through high school. We tried using a traditional curriculum but it wasn’t for us. We ended up using a hodge podge and used a LOT of library books. We usually had between 150 and 200 books checked out at all times. Yes, I had a system for keeping track of all those books. When we got home from the library, no one was allowed to touch the book bags until I made a list of all the books. I used a spiral notebook and recorded the books by due date. When it was time to go to the library, we gathered all the books we were done with and the books that were due. As we placed them in the bags, I highlighted them on the lists. If any that were due weren’t highlighted, the search began. In all our years of using the library, we only paid for four books. Two were lost but eventually turned up and two were eaten by the dog.
But back to our curriculum. We used:
- Saxon Math
- School of Tomorrow (not our favorite – too traditional)
- How to Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons
I can’t remember what else. The bottom line is that we liked variety and non-traditional methods. They worked for us.
We weren’t rigid about homeschool hours but we did try to work from 9 to 12 as much as possible. We stopped at 12 for a lunch break. At 1:00 we did chores. After chores, any remaining school work was completed.
In the earlier years, we followed a traditional school schedule. But later we switched to a year round school schedule with three weeks on and one week off. The kids LOVED this schedule. They looked forward to that week off and so did I. That’s when I scheduled doctor’s appointments and worked on projects.
My daughter was always easily distracted. I really do mean easily. She could lose her focus at the sight of a pretty butterfly flying by. Seriously. Or cool looking clouds. It really didn’t take much. Consequently, her school work tended to take her ALL DAY. We finally figured out that she worked best with a schedule. It didn’t work every day, but most of the time, if she had a schedule, she was able to stay focused better. It helped if she worked away from the windows and the pets, too.
For recordkeeping, I started out using teacher plan books. Those worked pretty well.
But later, after we switched to Sonlight curriculum, we switched to an 8-1/2×11 planning sheet and ended up using that most of the time. I spent time on the weekend planning the upcoming week.
I usually planned one week at a time but occasionally, after we started the three weeks on, one week off, I started planning three weeks at a time.
I’m not sure what the requirements are now, but back then we were required to offer 1,000 hours of instruction with 600 being in the core subjects and 400 in electives. I used this sheet provided by the homeschool group to keep track.
Sometimes I filled it out at the end of each week but most of the time I filled it out at the end of the month. I knew how many hours we needed each week in order to accomplish the requirements and I built those into my planning.
I also created a portfolio for each year. I wish I still had one to show you but I got rid of them a while back. I went through and pulled out all the important stuff and tossed the rest.
At the beginning of each year I purchased two large three ring binders. I also purchased 12 filing pockets – one for each month. I dated the pockets for each month. As the month progressed, I saved important papers, including:
- Samples of daily work
- Writing assignments (I saved most of those)
- Programs, ticket stubs, etc. from outings
All those important papers went in the appropriate month’s folder.
I also kept in the notebooks:
- Monthly Hours Sheets
- Assignment Sheets
- Standardized Test Results
At the end of the year, I had a comprehensive record of all we had accomplished during the year. The best part was that the portfolio practically put itself together. I loved this system!
So that’s it. If I missed anything or you have a question, please let me know.