... It's Rewarding in More Ways Than One!
Paperwork, records, and logs, oh my! Stop the madness! Let your children keep their own homeschool records and free up some of your own time.
Homeschooling brings with it a plethora of busywork that only adds more stress to a homeschool mom's already busy schedule. Letting your children keep their own logs is an easy way to lighten your load. Children can easily keep track of their learning progress in simple notebooks, planners, or on pre-printed pages. Think of the process as another hands-on project that teaches valuable skills.
Begin by Modeling...
"Once begun is half done..." I love this saying! And it rings so true here.
Teaching your age-appropriate child to keep his own log is similar to teaching him how to do his chores. Start by modeling for a few days to a week. Depending on what type of schedule you follow, modeling for an entire week may be necessary for your child to see how unique days are handled. Then, once they understand the basic idea, sit beside them as they fill in their log each day. There, you're half done!
Before you know it, he'll be comfortable doing it on his own and you... well, you will find yourself with the delightful gift of free time.
Choose from a Variety of Homeschool Planning Methods
- A simple spiral notebook is the easiest and most inexpensive choice. Each page represents one homeschool day. It's also easily personalized with stickers, artwork, photos, and more. Add tabs to indicate various sections such as reading lists, field trips, and curriculum used.
- A traditional teacher's plan book works like a gem because it's already set up to record a typical school year. If you homeschool year round, just make sure there is ample room to include summer school days--many homeschool publishers sell year round planners for just this purpose.
- Create a personalized weekly schedule based on the subjects, programs, and co-op classes your student is studying each year. Once you find a template that works, copy, and secure the pages in a 3 ring binder. I did this with my high school aged son. Here's an example showing our language arts and science curriculum for 10th grade:
S M T W Th F S BJU Writing and Grammar ___________________________________________________
S M T W Th F S Elements of Lit. ________________________________________________________
S M T W Th F S Writing ________________________________________________________
S M T W Th F S Reading ________________________________________________________
S M T W Th F S Apologia Biology ___________________________________________________________
S M T W Th F S Experiments ___________________________________________________________
S M T W Th F S Additional Books ___________________________________________________________
Your student simply circles the day he did the work and fills in lessons or chapters completed, tests taken, progress of projects, extra books read, etc. Then, I'd check over the week's work and make a small notation up in the corner in pencil showing the # of homeschool days completed so far.
- The Home School Mom's own free printable planning pages are also a great choice because they are backed by years of experience in the field.
Maybe your children struggle with messy handwriting. No worries. Digital planners abound. TheHomeSchoolMom has a free spreadsheet planner.
Change Things Up a Little Bit
Once you're satisfied that your student has the hang of keeping his log and is doing so responsibly, give him free reign to change things up a bit. Encourage him to create his own personalized template--adding a personal touch makes it more like a personal project instead of a "must do"responsibility. Maybe he or she would like to play around with a different style or format.
Perhaps your child will catch the entrepreneurial spirit much like Ben Kemmerer, son of Schoolhouse Publishing's Susan Kemmerer and long time homeschool mom, author, and speaker.
Ben created The Log! --a very easy to use record keeping system. Although designed for students by a homeschooled student, don't let that stop you from purchasing it and using it to keep logs for your younger kids.
Reap the Benefits
Besides presenting you with the gift of free time, teaching your children to keep their own logs is sure to bring about added blessings to your family and homeschool--the simple act of keeping tabs on their learning progress can help them to learn and hone many valuable life skills:
- Appreciation of Mom's never ending work load
- Time management skills
- The importance of a job well done
- Organizational skills
- Handwriting practice
- Spelling practice
Just imagine how proud your child will be at the end of the year when they have a beautiful, completed "story" of their school year. It is like a story, isn't it?
Celebrate your children and their homeschool stories with a big end of the homeschool year bash! Invite family and friends and let your chldren's stories shine--place projects, awards, presentations, and stories center stage and encourage your children to share little snippets from their year.
Who knows? You might just inspire a family or two to give homeschooling a go!
Do you or your students have a unique way to record lessons or keep homeschool logs? I'd love to hear it! Please, feel free to share your ideas in the comments.
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