Homeschooling fills our lives with enriching learning experiences, creates an air of productivity in the home, and floods us with wonderful memories. From year to year, how do you track what you have done and what your children have learned? How do you save all those writings? Record all those grades? Log all those days? Document all those books? Save all those projects? Save all those memories?
I’ve tweaked our record-keeping systems many times over the years, from creating elaborate portfolios for each child, to saving just the highlights. The more children we’ve had, the more I’ve simplified our approach, and I currently save very little paper. The system I use now has been in effect for the past three years, and I am still happy with it.
We have a secret blog of which no one but our family knows the website. To gain access to the website, users need to enter a username and password. The purpose of this blog is solely to save all things homeschool-related. On this homeschool blog:
- My kids ages 9 and older post all completed writing assignments – essays, stories, reports and more.
- My teens write a weekly review of what they learned in Bible, Science, and the books they read.
- Each child keeps a page where they record all books completed.
- I keep an attendance log of all the days we did school.
- I post photos and descriptions of crafts and projects.
- I post photos of field trips and service projects.
- I post our homeschool plans at the beginning of the year.
At the end of each school year, I print out the attendance record, the book log for each child, and our list of homeschool curriculum, to be filed for each child. It’s nice to have some things on paper.
I don’t keep grades for my younger children. They receive grades for tests, and we use those to help assess where we need review and what we need to focus on moving forward. However, I don’t save grades for report cards. After all, when Mom is the teacher and Dad is the superintendent, report cards are rather unnecessary; homeschool parents are already well-aware of how their children are doing!
Once my children are in 7th grade, I begin recording grades long-term. I use Gradebook+, a free spreadsheet that works with Excel or Open Office. I’ve tried other homeschool record-keeping software, but the simplicity of this one resonates best with me, and it has stood the test of time for my family.
At the end of the year, I print out the “Report Card” page from each teen’s gradebook.
I designed my own transcripts using ideas from samples I found at HSLDA. At the end of each year, I update my high schoolers’ transcripts and print out a copy.
End Of Year
To recap, at the end of each year, I print out:
- Our homeschool curriculum (from the homeschool blog)
- Attendance record (from the homeschool blog)
- Book log for each child (from the homeschool blog)
- Grades (7th grade and older only; from Gradebook+)
- Transcripts (High School Only, from a file on my computer)
I staple each child’s records together, put them in a file folder, label with the year, and file them in my filing cabinet.
Everything else – all writings, projects, field trips, photos, etc. – are saved digitally on our homeschool blog. This saves me a great deal of organizing time, as well as physical space in my house! This system allows me to save all of my children’s work, not just a few samples, and gives them easy access to look back over their fond homeschool memories!