Many parents are new at homeschooling and are currently “doing school at home,” and a mom in a homeschooling Facebook group asked,
“How do you keep attendance? Any ideas or helpful tips?”
Homeschooling is a life-education and children are learning every day, but for the sake of being accountable and keeping track, it is helpful to keep records. Some curriculum providers instruct parents to keep attendance records. Other parents have had to comply with their child’s school’s regulations during the lockdown. Many homeschool parents keep attendance record to meet the Department of Education’s requirements.
In my 22-years+ of homeschooling, I kept record purely as part of my own discipline as a former teacher, but I also kept records to be accountable to my husband and family. I always wanted to have evidence of our schooling should there ever be any query or inspection. This, thankfully, has never been required.
Here are some record-keeping tips ~
- Use a simple print-out of a monthly, block calendar to keep a record of attendance and subject topics ~ I jotted notes in daily blocks on issues, successes, and special or unusual activities. I used coloured highlighters to block out holidays, days for weekly shopping trips etc.
- Google Calendars are the most versatile and effective planning and attendance record-keeping tools I used in our homeschooling.
- At the end of each school year, I plotted in all the official school holidays for the new year to keep in sync with friends that are not homeschooling or to take advantage of off-season rates for trips.
- The average yearly schedule comes to about 50 weeks of homeschooling for the year. This is a very flexible outline. We may take off schooling earlier than government school holidays or continue learning longer in some terms to keep up with our schedule. My most important tip to any new homeschooler is to give yourselves more time and extend a one-year schedule to 18-months! This year plan is not a schedule, but a guideline.
- Created a Google calendar for each child if they are old enough to have their own Gmail account, but it is easy to keep the attendance records of each child all together on a family calendar.
- Use Google calendar daily to record the days where we were out on appointments, travelling, when a child was sick, etc. and I recorded when we take off one day every week to travel to town for our shopping.
- Sometimes, when a child “falls behind” for some reason, they continue schooling into a school holiday week.
- Train your children to date all their work every time they start their daily work.
- Parents should initial/sign and write the date when checking their children’s books or notes. This also forms a good record of work.
- Another way of keeping a record is to print out your curriculum year planner and the index page of each child’s textbooks or the contents page of a book or the planner page of a lapbook and sign and date next to each chapter or item when your child completes the work.
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