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Kristyn
03-25-2014, 02:34 PM
We're in our 3rd year of homeschooling, twin boys, the end of 5th grade. Posting in the middle school thread because moving to that time frame has me wondering about how I track what we do. I've been trying to use Homeschool Tracker Plus. It is just so data entry intense. I find myself getting caught up with what we are working on and neglecting to update the tracker. Then I realize I'm a few weeks behind and its daunting.

Does anyone have a program or system they use to keep track of classes and ultimately build a transcript?

I feel like it should be relatively easy since we use a package vs an eclectic blend. Moving Beyond the Page has worked very nicely for us paired with Life of Fred. But then we add in programming, Chinese, and random extras as they come up. Goodness does keeping track of every assignment wear me out. I'd rather put that energy to something more productive!

Many thanks for any advice!
Kristyn

Mum
03-27-2014, 09:02 AM
I do it the old fashioned way in a plain journal. On Sat or Sun I try to pencil what we're doing ( a page a day). Then I alter or add things as we move along. So a typical page would look something like:

Tues 3/25

Math - MM Order of operations pg 89
Tanograms

Reading - Chitty Chitty Bang Bang ch 3 & 4 together

Language Arts - Continue copywork
comma practice
....and so on

In the back of the journal I keep a running log of books we're reading for any subject. Just the title and author.
Very low tech. May not work if you need to pull the info into a spreadsheet or report.

MrsLOLcat
03-27-2014, 09:50 AM
I have a teacher record book for each kid. I write down what we do each day (the extra stuff I just put down at the bottom in the areas that I've labeled 'Elective 1' and 'Elective 2,' for example) and walk away. It's nothing fancy, but I figure it's a good start. If I wind up HSing high school, I'll worry more then, I'm sure, but for right now, everything I write is for me. Obviously in some states that won't work, but I like it.

dbmamaz
03-27-2014, 09:56 AM
You dont need attendance records or details of every assignment in order to make transcripts. You just need to know what you did each year of high school, only, and have a general description of what was covered that year. I have a simple word document I updated 2-3 times a year to keep track of what we are covering at a high level. No one will care exactly what writing assignments were done what month.

hockeymom
03-27-2014, 09:58 AM
I do it the old fashioned way in a plain journal. On Sat or Sun I try to pencil what we're doing ( a page a day). Then I alter or add things as we move along. So a typical page would look something like:

Tues 3/25

Math - MM Order of operations pg 89
Tanograms

Reading - Chitty Chitty Bang Bang ch 3 & 4 together

Language Arts - Continue copywork
comma practice
....and so on

In the back of the journal I keep a running log of books we're reading for any subject. Just the title and author.
Very low tech. May not work if you need to pull the info into a spreadsheet or report.

Yep, this. I have a yearly calendar and just jot down what we did each day. Usually it looks like:

Math (beg. Stats)
L/A: spelling and test prep
History: read, map, outlining
Science:Richard Hammond Engineering Marvels
Programming: CSS 3
Spanish

Easy peasy, takes less than a minute. :)

***Good to see you back, Mum!***

farrarwilliams
03-27-2014, 02:14 PM
I keep a portfolio that includes a list of classes and their locations and a list of curricula used and what units within that we did (for example, I'll put that we completed the first half of a math program or that we studied these topics with that history curriculum or whatever). I second what Cara said about how a transcript doesn't have detailed records. We're not to that point yet at all, but I know that no college cares how many pages of math you did on any given Tuesday morning. They care that you completed such and such a math program about such and such a topic.

hockeymom
03-27-2014, 02:38 PM
Oh yeah, twice a year I write up a list of all the classes and programs he's taken, books/ videos etc that we've used in addition to our more formal curriculum, and any other resources that are applicable. I also keep track of all his sports and keep all certificates and awards that he's earned. It usually fills two typed pages, two per year. In addition, I write up a short report describing the progress he's made and any concerns or issues we may have faced for each subject. Again, twice a year. These I keep for my own record keeping in his portfolio. They are far more valuable long term than the daily calendar.

Kristyn
03-28-2014, 06:55 AM
Thanks so much everyone! I'm a tech lover so my first thought is to jump to technology, but in this case it really has been hindering us. I like that at the end of the year (if I actually do all the updating), it spits out a nice summary for me. But I think going with what I'm actually doing (notes in a journal) and doing a little work at the end to organize that is going to work much better. I really appreciate the insights!

Kristyn

Rainefox
03-28-2014, 09:41 AM
If you like technology, you can do the journaling thing with a private blog or even a free website instead of a notebook. If you do that you can't lose the darn thing, which is an advantage if you are like me. Don't keep it on your computer in a document because that will cause the Universe to kill your computer. If you like to keep it as a running document then at least make it in Google Drive or something that will save to the cloud.

I live in PA, so I would really benefit from something that would generate a spreadsheet to cover that stupid log requirement...I finally found a local evaluator to use this year and I just got an envelope from her (she used the actual postal service to send it to me, my first clue that this is not going to work out) detailing what she expects to see for a log. Ugh. I use index cards now (see the bit about losing your notebook above) and I am quite happy with my system but I'm toying with the idea of making one of those free websites and embedding some forms made with google drive (they link to spreadsheets, yay) that I can just zip through subject by subject to record what we actually did. Then I can use the spreadsheets at the end of the year for that stupid log if I end up with an evaluator who insists on an actual daily log or if my school district has a regime change and begins to get picky. If anyone is interested in this project send me a message or something and I will let you know the results of my 'experiments'. I go through weeks without logging on here sometimes when things get crazy so it might be better to send me something on my website contact form (the site is in my sig).

Emerald
03-28-2014, 04:09 PM
I'm terribly overly-organized, but that very structured method works very well for me (and my kids). I use Planbook by Hellmansoft. First I set up the courses (Ancient History, Life Science, Math, Spelling, Grammar, etc.). Then I set up the units within the courses. (I.e., Sumer, Egypt, Rome, Greece, etc.). Then I set up lessons within the units (Egyptian Daily Life, Egyptian Religion). Then I assign books/worksheets/craft projects/food recipes/science experiments to the lesson. I plan out the entire year in advance. Some things are just a skeleton. Some things are in depth. When I come across something really cool, I go to my planner and add it in as an additional resource for that lesson.

If we're having a really good time on Egyptian Daily Life and find more cool projects/books/resources/ideas/whatever, then I can easily "bump" my future planned lessons to the next day (or next week) and then jot down what we do on those days instead. If, however, my kids think Egyptian Religion is really boring and I'd originally thought out 3 days worth of stuff, I "pull" the lessons back and delete out the ones we didn't do. It automatically moves all the lessons around -- this was the problem I had with paper/pencil. I was constantly changing what we were doing, and since I plan out far in advance, I had to do a looooot of erasing.

Plus, I don't remember cool ideas longer than about five seconds. Haha. So, if I have my entire year sketched out, then I can plug in those cool ideas to the appropriate place so that when we get there, I remember.

But, like I said, I'm overly organized and structured for almost … everyone … I know.

I also like that with Planbook Connect, I can send reports to our family members. My husband and the grandparents (and even some of the aunts/uncles) like to see what we're up to and they'll send us relevant news articles or magazine articles or project ideas and stuff. I post general stuff on Facebook and even my friends get into it. "Hey, we're learning about the digestive system next week… What cool things did you do as a kid or did you wish you did as a kid or book did you read about the digestive system?"

It's kinda cool!

Emerald
03-28-2014, 04:14 PM
Oh, and I really liked Planbook after trialing some other software because:

(1) The bump and pull back feature to move lessons around
(2) It has six "boxes" for you to put information into and you can rename them. I've got it set up for teacher information, homework, materials needed, unit books, website resources, and corresponding activity centers. Then I select which boxes are visible for others, so that the kids can look at them from the iPad and see what they need to do/grab/whatever. Meanwhile, I can have all the answers in teacher information or whatever.
(3) You can attach websites, PDFs, other documents, and "assignments" to each lesson and make each one visible or not to the students.
(4) It allows you to put in standards information (but I don't use this at all because I don't need to - I liked having the option though).
(5) You can have a different schedule for every day, or A / B schedules, or whatever you want. Some of the ones I tried made you keep the same schedule and we do different subjects more in blocks on different days, than the same subject every day.
(6) You can convert a day to a custom schedule seamlessly.

I don't know. It really works for us. But, like I said… Overly structured and organized most likely. :P

Epona968
03-31-2014, 12:49 PM
I live in PA, so I would really benefit from something that would generate a spreadsheet to cover that stupid log requirement....

Have you looked at the spreadsheets on donna-young.org? I use her printables, but have heard good things about the databases as well.

CloverBee&Reverie
04-08-2014, 02:31 PM
For official records I keep a list of generalized things we've done (textbooks used, books read, concepts covered, major examples I want to save, attendance records, etc). For my own idea of where we're going and where we've been, here's my daily/weekly system:

I have a sheet I designed that has one week worth of empty boxes where I can fill in what we've done that day, after we've done it. For example in the Sequential Spelling boxes I note what list(s) we've done that day. If we did math, in the math boxes I'll write what Teaching Textbooks lesson we did and the concept. I always plan for the week with a general idea of where things might go, but I keep the daily things flexible. So writing them in AFTER we've done the work works for us.

Once a month I'll go through my weekly sheets of what we've done and jot down the concepts we've covered and what we used to cover them and those become part of the aforementioned official records.

Once we get to the high school level I'll go to some type of transcript-generating system.

Everyone finds their method based on their needs. Good luck!

jazz
04-09-2014, 01:02 AM
I use Cozi's Journal since it's an app on my phone and online. I also like that it lets me put in a picture of two of anything really awesome we did that day. It's intended as a "Family Journal" putting up pics of kids soccer matches and stuff for the grandparents to see, but DH and I are the only ones with the link for ours.

It's just a simple journal really. Text space, photo space, date autofills or you can set it. I put "Day x" at the top to track how many days we've done for the year (our state requests how many days we've done on our quarterly reports.) Some days I fill out lots--what each kid read and did and loved. Some days I just fill out bare bones--"Fossils-trilobites; Liberty's Kids TV; Free reading; Dest. Math."

When it comes time for quarterly reports, I look back through these notes and pull out anything detailed I want to use, and the general big topics of what we did and use them to write the quarterlies.

reefgazer1963
04-11-2014, 03:52 PM
I picked up a book by Lee Binz (she refers to herself as "The Home Scholar"); she is a mom who homeschooled her children through high school and they were admitted to competitive colleges with scholarships. Her book is excellent because it tells you what records to keep, how to keep them, how to compile formal high school records when you have unschooled, and even how to complete a transcript if you have been disorganized through high school (although she cautions against that). Anyway, the book was very helpful, even for me at my daughter's young age (I have a middle schooler). She actually doesn't advise anything fancy or expensive, just a simple document in Word or Excel that you update each year. She also recommends a course description that succinctly notes what you did for each course in high school, and recommends starting doing this stuff in the middle school years for practice and focus.

jsaffold
04-11-2014, 04:15 PM
I picked up a book by Lee Binz (she refers to herself as "The Home Scholar"); she is a mom who homeschooled her children through high school and they were admitted to competitive colleges with scholarships. Her book is excellent because it tells you what records to keep, how to keep them, how to compile formal high school records when you have unschooled, and even how to complete a transcript if you have been disorganized through high school (although she cautions against that). Anyway, the book was very helpful, even for me at my daughter's young age (I have a middle schooler). She actually doesn't advise anything fancy or expensive, just a simple document in Word or Excel that you update each year. She also recommends a course description that succinctly notes what you did for each course in high school, and recommends starting doing this stuff in the middle school years for practice and focus.

This book actually sounds interesting, I might have to pick it up.

In my state I do not need to keep any offical records or show them anything. But I do the daily journal type record keeping in a calendar book. Then I keep the majority of her work. We are using Moving Beyond the page, so that's easy to just rubber band the workbooks together when done with a Unit/Concept, and file them away. Plus I want to be able to compare the work at from the begining thru the grade level,.
I am working on a scrap book of sorts to have as a document and keepsake of all the projects, field trips, and life that happened during that time. My husband is in a field of work that has had us move around states 4 times now( But not since I've started homeschooling) So I do what I do for myself...and for the "just in case" senerio if the state changes things up on me.
I just met someone that is moving to Florida, and she was given a heads up to have 3 years to show, kinda like an audit...lol, So that is another reason, if we have to move a state not of our choosing.

Thistle
04-17-2014, 04:59 PM
Oh - Planbook looks like just what I've been wanting. Thank you for mentioning it! I'm going to use it for the rest of this year and see if it will work for our family. It looks like it will be a nice way to plan and track our high school years.

I've been using a week-by-week planner based on ones I saw at DonnaYoung.org for the past several years, but I'd love to be able to move my lessons around without a lot of crossing out and arrows. :)