Saturday, January 15, 2011

Goal #6

Keep the school records current, so I don't have to face a month of stuff to log.

Here in Missouri, homeschoolers have to record or "log" 1,000 hours of instruction per calendar year, broken out into core and electives. 

I have no problem getting plenty of stuff done - as I've said before, we subscribe to a "learning lifestyle" so I look at everything we do as learning - not just those things done with a pencil and paper.  The hard part is not the learning - it is the recording of the learning. 

The things that I have on a "schedule" for them are easy - I plan each week, print a list for them of what we are going to do, and as it gets done I check it off.  Then I just have to mark it complete in the computer and how much time we spent, and the Homeschool Tracker program does the rest.

But what about the time Ben spent yesterday in the library reading a DK book about WWII?  Or the time Joe, Henry and Dad spent going through an I-Spy book last night?  Some of the tv shows we watch are definitely educational.  Ben has spent several hours this week assembling an approximately 4' tall skeleton out of duct tape (I am not joking) - is that science or art?  So many things - okay, most things - don't involve sitting at a desk, and oftentimes we rabbit trail off to topics that don't seem to have any relation to what we set out to study.  But yet, learning is happening.  Just not the learning that I had on the list for that day!

I have considered giving the boys steno pads to write down what they are doing each day, but that seems like a "joy of learning killer", at least for them.  I think I need to carry a steno pad around and write down everything they do.  Actually, I know that is what I should do.  I guess I could hang it from a chain around my neck or something...

Anyway, we always get in more hours than we need for state requirements, I just tend to stress myself out because I know I am missing so many things that we do.  I guess it would be easier if I just sat them down at a table from 9 - 3 each day (with a break for lunch) and had them do a list of assignments.  But that does not seem like much fun for any of us.

So, a system needs to be in place, but what that system will look like is uncertain.  And as life is always changing, the system will need to change and be re-vamped frequently.  For now, I should probably find myself a really attractive chain for the steno pad I will be wearing!

And here are a few examples of what learning looks like in our house:

Copy pictures of Missouri insects and then coloring and painting them - art/science

Doing a portrait like Picasso would, and a sculpture to match - more art!

Reading for fun!

Enjoying a science video with some friends


  1. I'm so glad WA state laws are not that intense! Love the way your family learns. My boys are normally sprawled in the floor with their books.

  2. And Missouri is one of the least-regulated states - some states you have to have the school district review your lesson plans, etc. To me, that would be just an incredible intrusion.

  3. I love the idea of printing off a weekly sheet and checking off. Gonna try that!

    And by the way, it does my heart good to see a little boy doing school while wearing his coonskin cap. Reason #238 why I love homeschool, right there.

  4. Hi Paula--

    If you're not too settled in with Homeschool Tracker, you might take a look at our record keeping software, Homeschool Day Book:

    It is "lightweight" record keeping, meant to be done after the fact. It doesn't have nearly as many features as HST. On the plus side, it's really quick and simple to use.

    It might be a good fit for tracking your unplanned activities, and meeting your recording requirements with a minimum of fuss. (From what I can tell, we have a disproportionate number of users from Missouri, it seems to fit the bill well there.)

    To perhaps tempt you into trying it out, I'll note that we're running a special where you can get a free permanent license if you do a blog review of the software . . .

    Good luck and happy homeschooling--

  5. We live in Missouri, too and record keeping is definitely a struggle for me as well! I'm sure I'll get it all figured out just about the time they're leaving home:)

  6. Matt, I think I am married to Homeschool Tracker. I like all the features of it - the failure in the system is one that would be common to all programs - me inputting the information! Yours does look like a cool program, though, thanks for showing it to me.


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