It is that time of year again: time to complete end-of-year reports for homeschooling. If you live in a state that requires you to report, your reports may take various forms. Some of the most common are submitting standardized test scores, a progress report, or a portfolio showing samples of work from the year. Even if you don’t have to formally report to anyone, you may want to take the time to create a report to have a record of learning and for your own peace of mind.
To be honest, I dread this yearly task, yet I have learned that there is value in it for me as a homeschool mom. It gives me the chance to look over the year and see that we have, in fact, accomplished much. It allows me to see the growth and progress that have taken place, as well as to acknowledge the areas I need to work on for the coming year. Over the years, I’ve also learned that keeping good records is the key to making this annual task easier.
If you are using traditional curricula, it is fairly easy to keep track of what your child is learning. You will have worksheets, writing samples, etc. to show what a child has done. I find it helpful to date each piece of work my children have completed.
I also keep a notebook which I update each week with a list of what each child accomplished that week. I include outside activities they have taken part in, any field trips we have taken, books they have read, and any educational videos they might have watched. I group activities under relevant subjects. For example, I list my daughter’s acting classes and performances under the “arts” section. All physical activities are counted under “gym”. Photos are a great way to keep a record of art projects and science experiments.
If you tend more toward eclectic homeschooling or unschooling, keeping a record is extra important. You may think you are going to remember all the wonderful things your children have done during the year, but trust me, you won’t. It is much easier to have it all written down in one place, whether that be in a physical notebook or an online file, so that you can access it easily. It is also wonderful on those days when you are doubting whether your children are learning anything (and yes, those days will come) to be able to look back and confirm that they are, in fact, making progress.
If you have taken these steps, it is fairly easy to pull together a progress report or portfolio based on the records you have kept. Report cards and transcripts (important for high school students) can be created in a word processing program. It is a good idea to keep a hard copy in a strong box as well as a digital copy saved in multiple places. Your child’s academic records are important. If you have a high school student, those records will be their primary proof of academic achievement and graduation.
You may be required to or may choose to administer standardized tests to your homeschool student at some point in their academic career. Seton Testing Service (www.setontesting.com) offers a number of options. These tests can also often be submitted as evidence of academic progress.
End-of-year reporting need not be a burden. If you are struggling to pull something together at the end of this academic year, resolve to keep better records in the coming year. A few minutes a week to write things down or take a
few photos will make this process much easier. It also gives you a chance to celebrate all that you and your children have accomplished in the past year!
Image from Pixabay