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View Full Version : Weekly Poll: How do you handle record-keeping for your homeschool?



Topsy
04-21-2010, 03:08 PM
Record-keeping and portfolios have come up a few times on the forums in the last week, so I started to get curious about how everyone handles these kinds of things. Weigh in on this week's poll!

(you may choose more than one answer in this poll)

Melyssa
04-21-2010, 03:30 PM
I've never kept a planner or portfolio. I do keep completed workbooks, various projects and compositions, things like that. Now that we're using T4L though I think I'll keep the printouts. I'm not much of a record keeper!

Pandora
04-21-2010, 04:01 PM
We use Homeschool Tracker. It's easy and you can share across a network. http://www.homeschooltracker.com/

Riceball_Mommy
04-21-2010, 05:25 PM
We aren't really "official" yet so I haven't really had to worry about keeping a record. I have kept every worksheet and completed workbook from this year. Though in a few weeks I think I'll go through everything and set aside some of it to be recycled. There are big paper recycling dumpsters by the firehouse by my grandparents, and I'll go dump it all in there. They fire station is suppose to get some money from recycling the paper.
Next year though we'll be using Calvert with ATS so I'm sure I'll have to do some sort of record keeping through them, and from what I have access to now it looks like I'll have a grade book online.

Closeacademy
04-21-2010, 05:41 PM
We only have to keep track of 180 days and even then no one is allowed to request to see it. So we don't really have to keep records.

I do keep track of the 180 days, do yearly progress resports and goals. I also have a blog where we do weekly reports of what we are doing and how we are progressing.

smrtmama
04-21-2010, 06:21 PM
We use Homeschool Tracker to track attendance, but other than that, I just keep a running binder of his work. Not obligated by the state to turn it in!

CroppinMom
04-21-2010, 06:54 PM
We aren't required to keep any records in Texas but when we first started last fall I did anyway. More for my piece of mind than anything else. I was pretty paranoid that we were going to be missing something or not be doing enough. Over the past few months I've pretty much let that go LOL

Snoopy
04-21-2010, 07:03 PM
I use Homeschool Tracker Plus because I'm anal. I want to know what we did and when we did it. Since we use an umbrella school (i.e. private school for Florida), I only have to report his attendance, but I like to be prepared in case one day that changes or we move to another state or... whatever!

dottieanna29
04-21-2010, 08:18 PM
I'm not required to keep any records (NJ) and we're not yet legal school age, but I tend to be overly organized at least on paper thanks to almost 20 years as an Executive Assistant. Considering I don't have to do any of this, it really makes me seem kind of uptight when I'm really a very laid-back person. :-D

So, what I do currently (we're doing unit studies for Social studies/Science/Art/Music) - I have a Word document with each topic we are going to cover listed along with any books I want to use or resources we own. I have this planned through the end of 2010. The week before we are going to do a topic, I copy the booklist into another document, go through all my printouts from the internet and set up a Lesson Plan in detail. Read pg 23 - 25 in this book, do this coloring page, discuss this, do this experiment, etc. In detail. So, our recent Plant unit I had broken down where we read the books, did the activities and experiments dealing with seeds first, then parts of plants, then flowers, etc. I try to alternate sit down/reading activities with writing/coloring/creative activities and active/experiment/physical activities/games since my kids are so young. For Reading and Math, I just do whatever pages we come to next in our books (MEP and ETC with Progressive Phonics) along with extra fun pages and games. Each days work is put up on a bulletin board (each kid has one hanging on the wall).

After our unit is done, I date any worksheets/workbook pages we did. The worksheets/coloring pages/experiment reporting pages I put in a binder with the Lesson plan page at the front of it. Crafts/experiments I take pictures of (for my blog mostly but also for a record) but don't print out usually and the actual piece is usually thrown-out (I don't have room to store a lot of big stuff). For my youngest, I have a 3-prong file folder and only put in a few samples of writing/coloring/crafts so I can compare as she gets older (for nostalgia mostly).

CroppinMom
04-21-2010, 11:01 PM
I have considered starting to use Homeschool Tracker but wasn't sure it would be worth it. The main reason I've started thinking about it would be to help me see what time we're spending on which subjects and in the future for transcripts etc. For those of you who use it - what are your thoughts on it?

Snoopy
04-22-2010, 12:26 AM
I'm not required to keep any records (NJ) and we're not yet legal school age, but I tend to be overly organized at least on paper thanks to almost 20 years as an Executive Assistant. Considering I don't have to do any of this, it really makes me seem kind of uptight when I'm really a very laid-back person. :-D



OMZ! Former executive assistant here too and this is why I'm also overly organized on paper (but messy IRL and I don't quite follow my overthought plans most of the time! Still I love the planning...). We're twins! lol.

Snoopy
04-22-2010, 12:32 AM
I have considered starting to use Homeschool Tracker but wasn't sure it would be worth it. The main reason I've started thinking about it would be to help me see what time we're spending on which subjects and in the future for transcripts etc. For those of you who use it - what are your thoughts on it?

I love HT+ because all my records are in 1 system and I could pull up all kinds of reports if I wanted to. HOWEVER, it's like the Walmart of systems. There are so many features (due to all the various states' requirements), that the learning curve is quite intensive so be forewarned (same thing goes for the basic version). A lot of people get overwhelmed by it. I don't have to keep track of time spent so I don't bother but certainly, it's a feature that you can enable (on HT+, not sure of HT). I would suggest you play with HT since it's free and see how useful/labor intensive it would be for you. And remember that just because there's a field for "this type of info" does NOT mean that you have fill out everything. This advice will make your life easier :)

I also love it because I plan everything in advance so now I can pull up May 15 and see all that I have planned to do on that day (and easily reschedule it if I decided to change my plans for the day), with lots of details on the resources to use, and I can pull up a report for the reading log (if I needed it for a portfolio review, for example), a report card, whatever...

Firefly_Mom
04-22-2010, 03:53 AM
Record keeping...HAHAHAHA...oh wait. You're serious. ;) I abhor trying to keep track of anything online (yes, Topsy, I *can* actually see you roll your eyes as you're reading this!) I have student calendar book that has monthly 2 page calendar spreads in the front where I keep track of our schedule. There's lined and dated pages for every day of the week after the calendar pages, and - this is the important part - when I remember, I will write what he did for the day back there. We don't use any kind of traditional curriculum, no tests (unless it's quiz's that he has chosen to do for fun. No, really. For fun. Yes, he's weird! LOL) so there's not a lot of paper type things to keep. We do lots and lots of field trips and activities, most of which I blog about, and the blog has actually been the best overview of what he's done in the last two years.

dottieanna29
04-22-2010, 09:03 AM
OMZ! Former executive assistant here too and this is why I'm also overly organized on paper (but messy IRL and I don't quite follow my overthought plans most of the time! Still I love the planning...). We're twins! lol.

Definite twins!! My planning definitely goes much better than my implementation. I just figure that's life with little kids - eventually it will go smoother....right???.....please tell me it will...;-)

Shoe
04-22-2010, 09:12 AM
New Hampshire requires an annual portfolio be kept and those records maintained for 2 years past the end of the school year. "The parent shall maintain a portfolio of records and materials relative to the home education program. The portfolio shall consist of a log which designates by title the reading materials used, and also samples of writings, worksheets, workbooks, or creative materials used or developed by the child. Such portfolio shall be preserved by the parent for 2 years from the date of the ending of the instruction."

We are also required to have an annual evaluation, either by standardized testing or an evaluation of the portfolio. If I choose to have a portfolio evaluation, I'll need to have it more organized than if I choose standardized testing, but there is no specific format required. I've been using Microsoft Word files primarily to organize things (including a calender) but am thinking about using something like Homeschool Tracker for next year.

LJean
04-22-2010, 09:19 AM
I'm not sure how I will go about keeping records. Here we are required to keep a plan book or other record of subjects taught and activities; a portfolio of the child’s work; and a semiannual progress report.
We also have three options to homeschool under, which I will choose option 3. This requires me to join an accountability group. Since I am not yet sure which one I will join, I am not sure what 'they' will require me to keep or send in.

If I plan out our school year in a plan book, I will have that as record of subjects and activities, but not sure how to go about the portfolio (may just keep tests/quizzes and some pictures from projects in there). As for the progress report, I might use a school type report card for that.

Museling
04-22-2010, 10:23 AM
I am on Team Nathalie for this one, I am anal about organization (former admin assistant to several bosses who'd lose their head if it weren't for me). I have a weekly planner that I will be using to record the amount of time he spends on each activity with a master list that is the starting point for us to follow (mainly on the subject/day) and I will also be recording what exactly he worked on that day. For example (SAWK-1/4 would be Saxon Assessment Work Sheet pages 1 thru 4.....did I mention I'm acryonm happy as well?). But I already have the years worksheets and lesson plans divided out into weekly packets and stored in monthly slots of a file folder. I have them separated out by subject so that if we begin to move ahead, I can just grab the following weeks packet on the fly. As we go through the packets, I will be taking those, scanning them in then moving them to the 'previous year binder' that's separated out by month (I plan on keeping a hard copy of the previous year always on file). As I'm doing this, I will also be noting what he is doing, my assessment of how he's doing and notating what I need to focus on as we go along. I plan on incorporating HT in since it basically does all this too and I like the idea of printing out reports (yes, report happy too).

What'll hopefully happen is that we'll be able to compare where he is to where his counterparts are in school acurately and also, we will have super acurate reports should we ever need to move, go back to p.s., or whatever could come in between. I warned y'all that I'm bad!

Snoopy
04-22-2010, 10:39 AM
Definite twins!! My planning definitely goes much better than my implementation. I just figure that's life with little kids - eventually it will go smoother....right???.....please tell me it will...;-)

OK, sure..... lol.

melgriffin03
04-22-2010, 10:54 AM
I keep all of the things he has done in a folder together. Now that we are gearing up to start kindergarten in a couple of months I'm trying to get better about posting what he has done on our blog.

hjdong
04-22-2010, 12:03 PM
Umm, yeah, o.k. Slinking quietly out the back of this thread.

Melissa845
04-22-2010, 02:13 PM
We use the free version of Homeschool Tracker. I have used it for 2 years and I have no complaints. http://www.homeschooltracker.com/ It's easy to use and it's useful. I track attendance as well as daily lessons/field trips/classes/reading.

Jessica
04-22-2010, 03:37 PM
I live in NY, which means plenty of record-keeping! I use online record-keeping software. I didn't care for Homeschool Tracker, so I use Homeschool Skedtrack (http://www.homeschoolskedtrack.com/HomeSchool/displayLogin.do), which is free.

Carrie
04-22-2010, 04:27 PM
We are in a homeschool program attached to our area public school system, and they keep track of attendance and daily subject areas covered by way of a website that the parent updates every week. I also keep some old workbooks, major projects, and select work in folders.

CroppinMom
04-22-2010, 10:29 PM
Jessica,

I've never heard of Homeschool Skedtrack - thank you for the link, I will check it out too.

Matt Conrad
04-22-2010, 11:17 PM
One more option to throw into the pot, we use Homeschool Day Book (www.homeschooldaybook.com (http://www.homeschooldaybook.com/)).

I also happen to be the guy who wrote it--my wife and I designed it together as nothing else we found out there worked for us. It's "lightweight" record keeping software, meant to be easy to use and to keep record keeping time to a minimum. Also, it's meant to be compatible with less-structured homeschooling styles including unschooling.

It's not free, but the trial download is free and the extended trial has all features enabled. If you're looking for something simple and fairly free-form, you might check it out.

JinxieFox
04-22-2010, 11:20 PM
We are not required to keep records (Delaware; I shudder to think what will happen when we go home to New England!), but I also use Homeschool Tracker Plus to keep records of my son's daily work. I have used it for the past year (before that I used teachers' planners) and love it. Now I'm acquainting myself with the lesson planning capabilities of the program.

I also keep a limited portfolio of the work my son has done, just for sentimental purposes. I know someday I will want to look back at his worksheets and history projects.

paojava
04-23-2010, 01:45 AM
I am a hoarder and I keep everything. I dont think anyone will ever come and check, but I like seeing our progress!

dbmamaz
04-23-2010, 10:27 PM
LOL Holly, maybe I can make you feel a LITTLE better.

I live in VA, which requires proof of progress, which can either be an evaluation by a teacher liscenced in any state, or a standardized test where the child scores at least above the 23rd percentile. since my kids have always tested well, I plan to use the test. Therefore, no records required (records are helpful for evaluations)

I dont really do 'record-keeping' in any organized way, but I do plan on virtual paper. I have a weekly schedule, but it doesnt actually have specifics in it - more like a calendar which shows what subjects my 14 yo will be working on each half hour, when we have lunch, when we have park days, classes, and dr apts. I can visually review and make sure the subjects are balanced even when we have SOO many disruptive appointments.

I also make my 14 yo daily check lists which specify what to do when, but often it only says 'do next lesson' or 'read 15 minutes'. I dont even keep those electronically (but oddly, i keep the weekly schedules electronically).

Now, I did, in the beginning of the year, make a chart (excell) with grade level at the top and subjects along the side, and documenet what our school districts standards were, and what WTM recommended for that year, and what I planned to do. I have tried to also keep a 1-page word document where I write down every book my 14 yo uses - each text book, fiction reading, supplemental books and activities. I remember to update it about every other month. The real reason I'm doing that is with the idea of having something to base a trasncript off of.

I'm really not keep track of what my 1st grader is doing at all. he does use T4L, but I dont really look at the reports much. And when I do, i'm annoyed that it doesnt TELL you on the report what level work he did. I let him totally pick whatever he wants to do on T4L. I did up the availalbe levels of math and science, and encourage him to do some LA sometimes, but thats it.

That sure sounds like VERY relaxed eclectic compared to you guys, but trust me, my radical unschoolers cant believe that I have a schedule or tell the kids what to read (even if I do get their input to the decisions)

Topsy
04-24-2010, 05:52 PM
Jena is one of my fave bloggers, so I wanted to share her recent article on "Record Keeping for Interest-Led Learners (http://simplehomeschool.net/record-keeping-for-interest-led-learners/)" in case anyone was interested in that kind of thing...

Snoopy
04-24-2010, 06:01 PM
Jena is one of my fave bloggers, so I wanted to share her recent article on "Record Keeping for Interest-Led Learners (http://simplehomeschool.net/record-keeping-for-interest-led-learners/)" in case anyone was interested in that kind of thing...

Simple ideas sometimes are the best, aren't they? I would imagine that the recipe
box with index cards would work and be easy to maintain while still allowing for the info to be somewhat organized for a more in-depth report or portfolio...

Busygoddess
04-28-2010, 03:46 PM
I chose Other.
We aren't required to keep any records, report to anyone, keep a portfolio or take standardized tests. I do keep records, though. I use Homeschool Tracker Plus to keep track of assignments, grades (for the things that get graded), attendance, and keeping track of our homeschool materials. I like the large selection of reports that I can print & the fact that I can use it for transcripts. I also keep pretty much every piece of work they do - workbooks, tests, projects (at least pictures of the projects), pics taken on field trips, Notebooking Pages, etc. I have some OCD tendencies, though. Since we have so much freedom here, burden of proof would fall to us if we were ever investigated. So, on the off chance that someone might report us & say that my kids aren't getting an education, I'm making sure that I have more than enough proof that my kids are being educated in complete compliance with state laws.

laundrycrisis
05-04-2010, 04:20 PM
We aren't required but I do anyway. I write our daily work down in an assignment notebook; I also log it into a googledocs spreadsheet; and I keep a binder of DS1's written work.

Teri
05-05-2010, 11:51 AM
I put that we don't keep any records because we are not required to.
What that means is that I don't record anything beyond what the kids have done. I have a TON of product. LOL
I really don't care how they compare to what their public school peers are doing, but I do know that the curriculum we use is aligned to state and national standards.
I guess if someone wanted to know what we were doing, I could pull out the pages of each unit that show the standards that they are aligned to.