As the name of my blog indicates, I spend a lot of time thinking about home. Of course, my Heavenly Home is the one that is eternal, so that’s where I need to lay up my treasures, and that’s the one I’m striving for. But in the meantime, I have been given this tiny piece of the here-and-now—this home on the edge of town, this family, this neighborhood—in which to serve Him. And, though this is in the earthly realm, I want the things that happen here to be investments in the Heavenly realm.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Homeschool Recordkeeping

When a mom asks me a homeschooling question, I remember the flood of questions I had the year that I began my own homeschooling journey.  Everything from

What curriculum do I use? 
Where do we sit to do school work?  (Can he do his math in his bedroom?) 
How long does it take?

In those days (1991!), the internet was not full of homeschool web sites or yahoo groups or blogs. Believe it or not, there weren't even many homeschool catalogs circulating.  I once asked a homeschool mom whom I had met through my sister if I could come to her house and observe her school day so that I would know what to do!  I think I weirded her out...and understandably so, because who really wants three "flies on the wall" watching your every move and who ever has the way of homeschooling that is right for everyone? just never know what people want to know about homeschooling.  So when someone "in real life" asks me a question, I wonder if there are other new homeschoolers who have the same question, thus this little miniseries of posts on beginning homeschooling.  

Last week, two people asked me about recordkeeping.  They asked the right (or maybe the wrong!) person, because I am obsessive about recordkeeping.  I suppose I began my meticulous homeschool recordkeeping because our two older children had spent several years in the public school system, and I had this clear mental image of "the school police" looking over my shoulder and seeing if I had done everything right.  I wrote everything down.  By the time I realized that there probably was no "school police" who would be checking my records, I was already in the habit of recording.  And, truth be told, I still like to be thorough, and to be able to look back and see what fun things we did and what we accomplished.  (And, yes, I still have all my record books from the past 20+ years.  I told you I was obsessive.)

Over the years, my recordkeeping has taken several forms.  The first year, I used one of those black teacher's planning books purchased at a teacher supply store.  Then I read How to Homeschool (to which I referred in this post).  The author had included an appendix of recordkeeping forms that were more useful for the home educator...weekly planning sheets, unit study records, chore charts, week-at-a-glance forms, and more.  My eyes lit up!  I used many of these helpful forms for years.

I have also used recordkeeping forms from The Home Education CopyBook by Kathy VonDuyke (now out of print) and Senior High: A Home-Designed Form-U-La by Barb Shelton.

I have also heard that the School Planner for Homeschooling Mothers is a wonderful resource for Charlotte Mason-style home educators.  

But what I have settled on in the past few years is pretty simple.   I just design my own recordkeeping sheets!  That way, I can decide what to include, adjust how much space is needed to record what subjects, and print out as many as I need.  I can make changes from year to year.  And I don't need to wait on anyone to come up with the right form for me.  

I use my word processing software to make simple tables.  You can play around with your own forms, and, since it's on your own computer, change it up as often as you need!  

I am including the forms that I used last year...just as a springboard to get you started.  The first one is the empty form; on the second, I have filled in with a week in the life of our homeschool.

(Side note:  When I have had more than one student, I have found it helpful to print each student's recordkeeping sheets on a different color paper.)

(Another note:  In the sample forms, CW=copywork, EFRU=English From the Roots Up, and DG=Daily Gram.)

Homeschool moms, how do you handle recordkeeping? What methods have been helpful to you?

My miniseries of "beginning homeschooling" posts:


  1. Keeping good records could prove to be very important, I would think. You never know what a future school/university will want to know or a new superintendent at the school district. We were quite royally grilled every quarter the year that we homeschooled. I hated being told that I had to be educating for six hours a day. BALONEY! (Course, that was a quarter of a century ago and more...the dark ages! I think that homeschoolers have proven their mettle.)

  2. Thanks Cheryl for all your time posting these informative blogs to benefit others. My daughter-in-law in CA told my how she has found more homeschoolers than she expected.
    Our granddaughters are 3 1/2 years old. Do you know of any little video that shows a little school set up in someone's home. I would love to get something that can be shown to them that is age appropriate showing how fun "school" is? Even a cartoon with children having fun at their desks or having mom teach them would be fun. Thanks for all you ideas that come from years of experience. Lynn

  3. I used to buy a planner every year and write out exactly what they did.

    Now I use a form that Tim made for me that is basically a daily check list, since the only one who sees it is our evaluator.

    I like your form that you made, and I do use a different color for each child on our logs as well.

    You are definitely more organized and meticulous than I am.



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