Updated: Nov 14, 2021
I remember that when we first started looking at homeschooling as a real option for our family to explore, I was overwhelmed by just thinking about record keeping.
When it came to anything homeschool related, the only point of reference I had was my own experience of traditional school. I'd never known anyone homeschooled nor seen it in action until right before we began.
I read through the Board of Studies documents online in the Homeschooling Unit website and I read about record keeping as part of the registration process. I thought about how disciplined I planned to be once we began. I would allow for time each and every night to write in a big journal about all that had happened that day.
And then I started homeschooling. Bahahahaha.
Some people might be able to keep up a daily diary for record keeping but I know I just can't.
It's just not me.
And the more that I would tell myself that I had to do it, the further I would fall behind! Procrastination kicked in and before I knew it, it had been a good month since I'd written in that diary.
What to do?
Well at this point some people might have chucked out their diary altogether but I decided that the main thing was that I had a written record so I wouldn't forget what we'd gotten up to.
Even if it was after the fact.
Even if it was a whole month after the fact. Or two. Or three.
But how would I remember what we did do?
My memory has never been flash and I was worried that if I didn't record it in that moment I'd forget. Enter private Facebook albums. I set up albums (sometimes set so friends and family could see and other times just so I could) and I took photos of ALL THINGS LEARNING. If they cooked something, I took a photo and uploaded it to the album. If they created something, I snapped a photo. If we read from a book, I photographed the front cover and sometimes the chapter we were up to. You get the picture (pun intended ;) ) - I took snaps of everything.
I uploaded the snaps once or twice a week and organised them into months. (Of course you could use a different host like Evernote or Instagram but I have found FB albums have worked well for me).
Then the only way I could make it something I wanted to do was to take myself off to a café, buy myself a yummy hot breakfast or delicious lunch and sit there journaling about what we'd been up to.
I would write a little subheading like this: 'Science: Stass researched the properties of various types of cells..."
I then highlighted each KLA and created a little colour key in the front of the diary.
Voila! Homeschool journaling done with a little café date that filled my cup.
There are multiple benefits to keeping journals like this:
* We now have a beautiful family memory-keepsake of our years learning, growing and changing together
* When I feel like we haven't 'done much' in the way of learning, I look back over these and our photos and remind myself that we actually HAVE!
* These are great work samples to show NESA for our registration purposes
We use a few books and what you'd classify as purchased curriculum such as Math U See for maths and Story of the World for History but we use a whole lot MORE for these areas of learning. And for our other areas of learning where we don't use textbooks as such, I find the photos help remind me of the incredible learning experiences that happen here 24/7/365. So if you're an unschooler needing a homeschool record keeping approach, this one will work for you. All you need is a way to record your learning (like a camera or phone-camera) and a diary.
If you're not sure how to put it into educational language, I have put together this little download you can grab from our shop here which is called our 'Cheat Sheet of EduSpeak' or our latest PDF called 'So What are we Learning?'
Anything else that demonstrates what our kids have learned, they pop into an A4 folder filled with plastic sleeves. If we go to an art exhibition or museum, we'll grab an exhibition poster and date it. We file our borrowed book receipts from the library, I'll photocopy letters the kids wrote to pen friends or grandparents and we'll add those to the folder too. Any printables or art works are also added with a date. By the end of the year, we have work and learning samples plus a diary and photos which all serve to record the amazing journey of learning that has taken place.
So there you have it: a quick guide to homeschool record keeping from this queen of procrastination!