Recording A Homeschool Student’s Progress: The Homeschool Portfolio, Part 1

{Homeschooling without a curriculum} {Eclectic Homeschooling} {Free print outs for your record keeping.}

Though I have seen countless blogs on the Internet offering advice on how to keep track of your child’s homeschool, I knew that I would have to come up with my own system or I wouldn’t stick to it.  So I write this post with a grain of salt and encourage you to do the same.  There’s no right or wrong here.

This past year was my “practice year” as I explained in my last post.  I’m really glad I took the effort to keep track of what we did because it has helped me create a system that I think I’ll stick with.

First of all, I don’t use a packaged curriculum.  I drew on different resources for my son’s “pre-kindergarten” year (which was actually kindergarten, and I’ll explain about that in my next post.)  Most people call this eclectic homeschooling.

I consulted a preschool and kindergarten “course of study” that used to be on the World Book Encyclopedia website.  I’m very disappointed they removed this page because it was very thorough, and upon reading whom they consulted to put it all together, I felt it was a good source.  Fortunately, Beverly Hernandez got permission to put this list on About.com before they took it down!  (Thank you, Beverly!)  You have to click on a lot of links to read all of it, but I’m grateful it’s there.  It’s comprehensive through the 12th grade.

I did not worry about covering everything on these lists, and I don’t think you should be either.  I was only intentional about teaching a few choice subjects: reading, math, the solar system, and the weather.  Everything else we covered through my son’s own interests!  Yes, that’s right!  (And I should note that after introducing him to the solar system and the weather, he took an interest in these subjects and we’ve done much more than I was planning.  Yay “mostly child-led”!) (Okay, so I’m intentional about storytelling too, but that doesn’t feel like work!)  Recently I went over these lists carefully, and I was able to check off every point except for one.  (Estimation, which is under math, so I’m doing that now.)

This is what I did this past year to keep track of our homeschool. To download these forms for free, see my printables page.

  • I created a Homeschool Chart that I kept on my desk at all times.  Across the top were all the subjects that I have to cover by law and other subjects important to me.  Since I walk by my desk several times a day, it was no problem checking off what we did and writing notes to help myself remember.
  • At the end of each week, I typed up a brief summery or Homeschool Journal.  I would list any books we read, chapters we covered, projects we worked on, outings, and classes.  Anything I thought was noteworthy. I knew I probably would not need all of these details, but I also felt it made a nice keepsake.
  • Last March I started an Excel spreadsheet for our Reading List.  I figured out that I can go online to my library account and copy and paste the list of book titles we checked out along with the author’s name and date we checked it out!  Then I put a checkmark next to them when we read them, or I deleted the row if we didn’t read it.  I keep another spreadsheet where I list books we own.  I’m adding to it as we read the books.
    • My strategy here was to take the stacks of books we read during “book time” and place them on my desk.  Then at some point during the day – or in the evening – I would update the spreadsheet.
  • Homeschool Portfolio:  I used a 3-ring binder to store the charts, the Homeschool Journal (which I printed out at the end of the year), some of my son’s work, the spreadsheets, pamphlets to places we’ve been, receipts for his classes and anything I bought for homeschooling. I plan to keep one binder for each year for each child. (I may just keep the past three years for our records, or I may consolidate them and keep some of it for a keepsake.)
    • I asked two facilitators from classes my son took to write up a brief report about him, and they were more than happy to do so.  I added these to the binder as well.

This sounds like a lot of work, but it didn’t feel like it because I came up with a strategy that worked for me.  I took the effort to make the chart and summary a habit, and I didn’t stress over fine details.

Last month (May 2012) I wrapped up the school year, and I wanted to commemorate it with a “pre-kindergarten” graduation.  To prepare for it, I wrote up a progress report as is required by Georgia law.  I’ll write more about that in the third part of this series, and I’ll share which parts of this record keeping I used and which parts I realized were not needed, and I’m debating whether or not to nix some of it.

I hope you’ll stay tuned by subscribing to my blog in the right-hand margin, and I hope you’ll share with me your record-keeping strategies!

12 Responses to “Recording A Homeschool Student’s Progress: The Homeschool Portfolio, Part 1”

  1. Thank you for the printable pages! My husband is begging to see progress reports… These will work great!

  2. Just found this post and tweeted it before I even read half of if! LOL Your approach is exactly what I did our first year (last year) and I tracked it by blogging. I am going to do the portfolio (a little more structured) because we may be applying to private school next year.

    Will continue to follow your journey!

    Monise

  3. Thanks so much!! I will be starting home-school this year with my 5 yr old daughter and 2 yr old son. I look forward to using the printable worksheets.

    Also, it seems as though World Book put the the typical course list back on their website. http://www.worldbook.com/typical-course-of-study?wbredirect=1&Itemid=216

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