I think of record keeping as the flip side of planning. Everyone knows that what you plan is not necessarily what you do – things happen – and for better or worse lessons don’t work out how you plan them. Writing down what actually happens in a day, a block or even an entire year is a good way for me to reflect, assess and adjust. It also helps me see how much we actually accomplish. When I first started homeschooling (waaay back before I came to Waldorf), I felt like we weren’t doing anything. And in all honesty, we weren’t doing anything formal. Vincent was 6, 7, 8 years old. He was a voracious reader. He would wake up with a different idea of what he wanted to learn or accomplish that day, and basically I would hang on for the ride. I started keeping a journal of sorts to record what happened in a day. It was amazing how much we did – even when we weren’t doing anything. I would encourage anyone – especially those with younger children – to do this. You will be astounded by how much happens, and you won’t wonder why you are so tired all the time!
My record keeping can be broken down into different segments of time. The State of NC doesn’t require any type of record keeping, so this is for my personal use only.
- Daily – I do all my daily, weekly and monthly planning with this digital planner from Homeschool Creations. It is simple, easy-to-use, and helps me organize. My daily record keeping resembles a personal journal. Every morning I write about what happened the day before. Giving myself a night’s sleep helps me keep the day in perspective. It allows me to look at what happened more objectively, see patterns or just be able to view the day as a whole. I do this during that hour, hour and a half, that I have before the boys wake up.
- Weekly – I keep a printout of my weekly plans (shown above) in a binder. During the week I mark up this page with lots of arrows and hand-written notes. I file these in chronological order and like going back to see what we did, and how we did it. This is especially helpful during math blocks. So much of math is review, and I like seeing exactly what we covered.
- Monthly – This is something new I started this year. I keep a monthly sheet in my planning binder to record things that don’t fall under the scope of our daily lessons. I have categories for movement, handwork, recipes, penny whistle, cub scouts, read-alouds, festivals and extras. I could not believe how this filled up in September.
- Seasonal – I have talked about my seasonal binders here. In addition to keeping all my ideas in one place, I also use those binders to file away printouts of the circles and poems that we do every month. Both are usually seasonal in nature and this helps me to repeat certain verses and such from year to year.
- Yearly – During my big schoolroom clean out over the summer, I file away all the work that was generated during the year. Paintings, projects and main lesson books get put in flat boxes, labeled and then stored in the attic.