Keeping Record and Attendance

 

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.
    Google Homeschool Calendar Jan2013

    Google Calendar with school holidays and themes and topics plotted

    • 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.

You can find all my planning and organization pages here.  I hope that these tips help!  If you have other suggestions or questions, please comment below.

Blessings, Nadene

Subscribe Click to receive all my new posts packed with practical tips, projects, plans, pages & art ideas by email

Facebook Follow Practical Pages on Facebook

Difficult is now easy

This time of year is often a time of reflection …

… looking back and evaluating,

… looking forward and planning.

In a recent Art of Simple post, Katie wrote  When Everything Seems Difficult   and made this incredible statement ~

“Don’t judge yourself by what’s still difficult. Judge by what’s now easy.”

Wow …

I don’t know about you, but in my homeschooling (and in life) I found myself often judging myself when I didn’t know how to tackle a certain problem,  when I seemed unable to help my kids, and I even judged my ability as a teacher when my children struggled. I judged my parenting abilities when my children battled with issues.

But, if I had just marvelled at what now seemed easy,  observed that we had mastered certain skills, or looked at how we learnt how to pace ourselves instead of struggling to keep up with someone else’s schedule, or found what learning methods and approaches worked, those successes would most certainly been encouraging.

When you are deep in the trenches, perhaps with newborn baby, or potty-training a busy toddler while struggling to continue teaching kindergartener or junior primary children, you may well feel overwhelmed.  Everything seems like a struggle.

But look back at how far you and your kids have come.

Look to see how many skills they have mastered.

Look to see that those habits you worked with so much effort to establish with such intensity, now seems completely natural, and be encouraged.

So as you evaluate your year, may I encourage you to look through the lens of this question ~ “What seems easy now that was difficult a while ago?”

If you want to do a character evaluation for each child, here is a free download for you ~ Character Report.pdf .  I shared how we enjoyed this evaluation process in my post Report and Evaluation Pages because if the child is old enough, he/she can evaluate themselves with a 1-4 scoring system.  This post also includes a Homeschool Assessment form I used to summarize the schoolwork, books, materials and skills covered and describe my children’s strengths, weaknesses and joys and highlights of the year.

We are all learning and growing, moving forward, gaining momentum, finding our way.  In whatever area of your life or your family’s life, give credit to this positive growth and be encouraged!

Peace and Blessings, Nadene

  • Subscribe Click to receive all my new posts packed with practical tips, projects, plans, pages & art ideas by email
  • Facebook Follow Practical Pages on Facebook

 

Ending and Beginning

My older two daughters have been away enjoying their summer holiday with friends, working hard on a self-sufficiency farm, and having times of fun, intimacy and fellowship!

While my youngest daughter enjoyed her time alone with us on our farm, visiting Grandparents for Christmas and swimming with us at the beach during our brief time away.P1120329

I have spent some quieter days at home closing off the school year and planning for next year.

Ending …

I packed my eldest daughter’s Grade 11 notebooks and study guides into a box and cleared my planning file for her new year.

Beginning …

Miss. T18 will do her Matric (our final high school graduation) this year!  I’m stunned!  My last official year with her! Already she looks ahead beyond the final year towards her future and I prayerfully plan and search out options with her.P1120072Beginning … and ending …

Our 13-year-old will officially start her high school course and join her older sister on Impak Education .  She will cover 9 separate subjects which will be a stretch for her!  But she wants to work independently and we’ll try to ease our way to that goal. My role will change from fellow-traveller to tutor.  Somehow I feel sad.  Those delicious days of delight and discovery will fade away to the demands of stricter and fuller schedules, external standards, tests, portfolio assignments and exams.

… and beginning again …

As for my 10-year-old, we simply pick up where we left off and continue the joyous journey of our Footprints on our Land.  In many ways I live out all my Charlotte Mason and homeschooling ideals with her and find my experience homeschooling Miss. L10 utterly fulfilling and inspiring.

I used my nifty binding machine and created 2 huge ring-binders of her year’s work.  She helped me and marvelled with sweet pride at all her notebook pages, lapbooks and art works.

Note to moms with young children – treasure your child’s junior and primary school years and enjoy every age and stage!  It all passes by so fast.

A wise older mom gave this priceless advice to a young mom ~

“Go for the heart in your homeschooling.”

Engage your child’s heart.

Make moments matter.

Create intimate memories.

Focus on relationships and keep hearts open.

So with my bare shelves waiting for the highschool books to arrive, files cleared and prepared, new charts and notebook pages prepared and 2013 calendar laid out, I rest and reflect and thank the Lord.

I wish you every blessing of God’s love, joy and grace for the New Year.

Blessings,

Report and Evaluation Pages

Previously I described how we ended our school year and filed our work.  While we put our files in order,  I ask some questions and jot down my children’s answers. I use these answers when I compile my end of year report.

Here are our Report and Assessment Pages ~

First, we had fun filling in our “Character Report” forms together!

The child choses their own scores and then I give my scores.  The scores are 1= rarely/never; 2 = fairly/ seldom; 3 = mostly/ very much; and 4 = always/ Yes!  I am!

(Hint: Whenever you ask someone to give a score of 1,2, or 3, most will inevitably choose 2; the middle or average score, but with 4 scores, they have to choose which side of the middle they prefer.  This 4-score-method forces them to make a more correct assessment.)

We chatted about their personal scores and mine and I asked them which character traits they were strong in and which areas they felt they should work on.  My kids really enjoyed this!

Secondly I filled in a “Homeschool Assessment” form ~

I use this form to summarize the work , books, materials and skills covered and describe my children’s strengths, weaknesses and joys and highlights of the year.

I do not award marks or give any scores. (You may be required to assess your children’s work differently for your country or state.)

During the year I usually only mark my children’s Spelling and Maths.  I oversee all the other written work and usually don’t check/ tick or mark it.  We correct handwriting immediately in our copywork and dictation lessons and discuss grammar in Language Arts lessons.

In junior and middle school, a parent sees that the child completes the work correctly and with a good attitude. I believe we are evaluating daily.  We know the moment our child struggles or does not grasp concepts and we can repeat that lesson/ present the work in another way/ or remediate immediately.  This is the joy of homeschooling!  We can work at a pace and with the most appropriate methods to make sure that our children love what they learn.  Tests and scores are helpful to make sure our children meet external standards, however they are stressful to everyone!

My high schooler’s curriculum requires that I evaluate her work and send them quarterly marks and exam results.

To be completely honest, I have NEVER written any formal evaluations for my children.  I create a portfolio of all their work, include their book lists and the year plan.  I believe that their work speaks for them!

This year however, I will include their assessment forms in their year files.

(Please, I would like to reassure you that this kind of evaluation is not necessary.  I believe that we use what works for us and we try to do what is required of us by our government.  If you have not evaluated your children before, perhaps you could include the character form.  I believe that, “Information can always be learnt at any time, but character formation takes a lifetime!” )

You are welcome to download these forms for your own use ~

I have included MS Word versions of each document  for you to tweak them to suit your needs.

Homeschool Showcase

This post is featured on

Homeschool Showcase #63

at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

Pop over to find other exciting homeschooling posts.

Blessings,

%d bloggers like this: