The past week I’ve been knee-deep in end-of-year reporting, collecting materials and writing my report for our local school district. Not every year finds me doing this task. Some years I’ve sent in standardized testing reports which only involved my visiting a copier at the local library. But with two high school students and a kindergartener, this year calls for a different option.
I keep a weekly record throughout the year. This has been a mainstay of my homeschooling since the very beginning and one that I would recommend to all homeschoolers. Despite being a blogger and website manager for years, I still prefer an old-fashioned notebook to digital records, but that’s purely a matter of preference. I keep track of each child and what they have done that week in terms of books read, worksheet papers and projects completed, and outside activities that they attended. I also take some photos throughout the year of projects and field trips so that I have those as a record as well.
The less structured you are as a homeschooler, the more you need this type of weekly record. Those who use an all-in-one curriculum can have a pretty good idea of what was accomplished over the year by looking at the textbooks and consumables used. If you are a relaxed or unschooling homeschooler, keeping a weekly record allows you to keep track of what your child is doing and learning. As much as you might think you are going remember it all, it’s helpful to have that information out of your brain and down on paper.
Doing these end-of-the-year reports is not my favorite thing. They are time consuming and happen at the end of the school year when my brain is tired and I want to forget about homeschooling for a little while. Yet, I have come to see the value in them. Whether or not my local school department even looks at them, they force me to look back and review what we have accomplished.
A homeschool education isn’t supposed to look like the local public school education. We chose this path or felt called to this path because it was different, because our children were different, because we were different. As a result, the education is going to look different, but it gets easy to get sucked into the old traditional classroom mindset if only because that is what is most familiar. This annual routine forces me to deeply consider the road less traveled that we are on and to appreciate all that we have done and seen on the journey. It just may be that it is worth doing even if your local school department doesn’t ask for it.