So far, my recordkeeping is all descriptive instead of proscriptive. In other words, I don’t lay out what I will do on Monday, on Tuesday, on Wednesday. I just record it after it happens. Here are some examples.
Three times a year (spring, summer, fall), I make new charts for each of the boys. I list any subject I think we might get to and the maximum number of times I suspect we’ll get to it in a given week. As you can see, I don’t have a crystal ball: Michael hasn’t begun typing yet, and sometimes we begin a subject I wasn’t expecting mid-semester. That’s fine. I write it in or leave it blank as the occasion calls for.
You can see that at the bottom I write down any extra projects, field trips, or classes they attended, plus any sports they played as part of a league. Last year we visited Washington, D.C. and I recorded that. I record when they finished a particular textbook. And though I could never record all of the books they read each semester, I try to record real “literature” that they read and also any series that captured a lot of their time, just to get a feel for what they were reading at the time.
I only record the things that are not “givens.” Michael reads. There’s no need for me to record that since I live in Texas and only have to keep records to satisfy myself.
These two checksheets sit on the bar under my personal calendar. I am one of those people who loves loves loves to cross things off of to-do lists, and putting check marks into boxes releases the same endorphins. I like seeing the boxes fill up, and so this works for me. Besides that, it helps me see, “Yikes! We haven’t done spelling in forever!” (A common occurrence.) I also use it to motivate me into doing things with them that aren’t quite “school” but that I want to make a point to do with them (like board games).
It’s like having a checksheet for cleaning that shames you into doing chores more often.
(That’s why I don’t have a checksheet for cleaning. I don’t want to do chores more often. I don’t want to know how dirty my shower really is.)
Anyway, at the end of each semester, I take those papers and transfer the information into a Word document I have on my computer. I’m not going to copy that here because I feel that’s a little more personal—akin to a report card—since it has how old the boys were when they finished certain grade-levels of textbooks. I just write something like:
2012—Michael (ages 5 ¼ to 6 ¼):
Singapore Math level **--February-September (2-3X/week)
Singapore Math level **--September- (2-3X/week)
Played fall league of soccer
Made a weather vane
Read Stuart Little together
I keep this list partly for the kids’ sake (in case I was ever second-guessed by someone about their education—although I don’t know who or why that would be), but also because I know I’ll use it as a reference for my younger kids. I’ll think, “Oh, I forgot that the Map Skills book even existed! Glad I saw that!” or “Am I crazy to start him on this so early? Oh, I did it then with Michael too, so maybe I’m not!”
And…thus far, this is how I keep my records.