Warning: Homeschool post ahead.
I am not the most organized person. Based on my personality profile, I should be, but organization is the first thing that goes when life gets busy.
And life has been busy since approximately…2008.
However. One thing that I do stay on top of is our homeschool recordkeeping. I have several reasons for this departure from my status quo of laziness:
1. It gives me something to do to keep my impatience at bay when Ali is working on a particularly arduous worksheet. It’s either that or ferocious doodling, something in which I often also take part.
2. It helps me see how much we’ve accomplished through the day, week, and year.
3. It’s good accountability – after all, I’m accepting the responsibility of educating my child. What the crap am I thinking??
4. I can see when we get ahead. And when we get ahead, we get to take Fridays off.
When we started first grade, I couldn’t find a recordkeeping book that I liked, so I created my own on Excel. I’ve been using my template for two years now, and have continued to tweak it each week. I’ve also shared it with many people who have then edited it for their own needs, so it’s basically the Sisterhood of the Traveling Spreadsheet by now.
Here’s how my highly objective system of homeschool recordkeeping works:
1. I write the work as we do it – NOT in advance. I don’t like crossing things out, and as I said, it gives me something to busy myself with while Ali actually does the work.
2. Ten “credits” counts as a second grade school day (I counted 8 credits as a school day in first grade). If we do double the work in a particular subject in one day, then it counts as 2 credits.
3. If we were especially aggressive and earned 50 or more credits by Thursday, then we get to skip school on Friday. We usually still do a little school on those days, but don’t stress about getting an entire day in.
4. Most importantly, I get to give myself a sticker for each credit earned. In rainbow order.
Did my dedication to rainbow-order stickering fall off by the end of the year? Absolutely. But did I keep on keeping on with keeping up with my records? You bet.
This seems like a weird time to bring up recordkeeping, what with school just getting out and all, but I do it now for a reason: I have added Summer recordkeeping this year.
In Alabama, you don’t have to be a legal homeschool student until second grade. As such, this past year was our first year to have to “count days” – i.e., school for a particular number of full school days.
We do not school all year, but the nature of our lives tends to swing toward the educational side, even in the summertime. Plus, I’ve decided to get Ali to do one lesson of math each morning during the summer to keep her brain from getting sloshy.
(Yes, that’s a verifiable school-child condition.)
Fortunately, her math curriculum came with an entire book of review sheets that we didn’t need during the school year, so we started the review book from the lesson we left off at and are going backwards. This seems weird to Ali. This seems perfectly logical to me.
By keeping up with our summer school log, we can count the things we do this summer as school days toward next school year. Not so that we can slack off next year, but so that we aren’t as stressed about getting our required 165-175 of days, and we can take off a few extra days around Christmas and other holidays.
Plus, I won’t feel guilty about the fact that I want to have a proper 1950’s summer and not start actual school until Labor Day.
Our school log will not look this busy all summer, especially since the kids are about to get a ten day break from me, but we had a busy first week…
I, for one, find this extra bit of paperwork highly worthwhile – especially since by doing it, our summer can be just a little bit longer.