Monday, August 22, 2011

Home Education: Scheduling and Record Keeping

 Inquiring minds want to know, and that's okay when it comes to homeschooling.  People often ask me questions about all aspects of home education.  I don't always have adequate time to answer well, especially when the questions are asked via messages or e-mail.  Thus, I've decided to write a "series" on homeschooling, answering a question at a time.  Some of the areas I plan to cover are the reasons, curriculum choices, scheduling, record-keeping and "socialization" (I'm not capable of placing that word outside of quotation marks, just so you know ahead of time). :)  I'll wrap it up by answering some common concerns.  These posts probably won't answer every wondering of every person, but it's a place to start!

Part 3:  Scheduling and Record Keeping

Education is extremely important to us, but we are a family before we are a school.  Thus, I always have created a school schedule that maximized our family time, and I always will!  Family relationships are among the main reasons for homeschooling, for us, in the first place.  Due to the nature of my husband's career, we almost never have a "regular" Monday-Friday, 9-5 schedule.  The last few years we had our school week from Friday through Tuesday to coincide with Kevin's schedule.  That way, we were mostly off when he was off from work.  This year, things are much different in that he is working 4 days on--2 days off, so his days off are different each week.  He is also working from early afternoon to late evening.  So, guess when we're having school this year?  You bet!  Four days on, two days off, starting at 1:00 in the afternoon!

I must admit this schedule is difficult.  Sometimes I wish it could be different, or that we could be "normal."  But, you know what?  Life isn't all about me and sometimes God has reasons for certain wishes to never come true. :)  He knows better than I do, so I'm taking what He gives me and trying to do the best I can with it (most days--lol).  I've learned (again, for the *most* part!) to just roll with whatever the schedule is at any given time.  I know that my remaining flexible, even though I'm naturally a scheduled person, enables my husband to use the gifts God has given him to provide for his family and to help many children and youth along the way.  Definitely not a career of convenience!  But I certainly don't recall reading anything convenient about Jesus' life, nor any promises from Him that our lives as His followers would be convenient either.  Quite the opposite!

So, our typical school day looks something like this:

8:00 or before (we've had to adjust our getting-up time to a bit later b/c of Kevin's later work hours):  Get up, exercise, breakfast, individual Bible reading
9:00ish:  Showers, getting ready, etc.
After that, until 12:00, we do household chores, any errands or other appointments, and try to have either father/son time or family time--going somewhere together, playing a family board game--whatever.  The kinds of things most people do in the evenings, I guess.:)  If I didn't finish my school prepping the night before, I'll do so during this time as well.
At noon or so, we eat lunch and then have our family devotions.
1:00 : School starts--I like to begin with Bible.  We're doing a great Bible curriculum this year from Answers in Genesis.  We do this by the computer, so we can look up things and see pics that go with the lessons.
Then we go to the school room and just do our subjects, pretty much in the same order each day, until they are done.  We usually have to eat a pretty late dinner, unless we take a break for dinner and finish afterward.  The order we usually go in is:  Bible, Spelling, Reading, Language Arts, Math, History, Science or Health, and then on some days we might do a "special" like Art.  And, of course, somewhere in there is a snack break and some running around time for Little Mister.

So, that's our typical schedule, in a nut shell but kind of not really. lol

Now, on to record keeping!  Woo-hoo! lol

In my state, the only thing I'm required to keep records of is attendance (mandatory 180 days per year). But my personality requires a bit more from myself. ;)  So that's what I go with.

Attendance:  I've used forms from here, but this is the second year I'm using a form from a planner I bought a couple years ago.  I basically just mark an "X" on the days we have school.  I do count them over and over to make sure we get our 180 days in. :)

Lesson Planning/Work Completed:  I use "A Record of the Learning Lifestyle of (fill in child's name)" by Charlene Notgrass.  I have purchased one of these every year since preschool or kindergarten.  I discovered them at a homeschool convention and was blessed to meet the lovely woman who came up with this fabulous way of recording a child's educational journey.  When you keep a record like this, you find yourself amazed at how much your child is actually learning in a day--even during times of the day you might not think of as particularly educational.  Rather than spending too much time describing it ineffectively, check out the link if you're interested.  You can see a sample and even download it if you wish.  Oh, and there are always different covers to choose from, so I let Little Mister choose which one he wants for the next year.

Grades:  Again, I am using a form from the same planner mentioned above, but there are other forms here.

Report Cards:  Yes, my son has a report card every quarter. And yes, he shows it to his father, who then signs it.  We're not running a free-for-all here! lol  He needs to be accustomed to accountability.  I've always used the "4 semester year" one here (I think she means 4 "quarters!"), but I may look for another one this year.

Now, not everyone is going to choose to do more record-keeping than what is required, and that's totally fine!  I'm not more "right" than someone else just because I'm being more thorough than necessary.  I blame it on being an oldest child.  Supposedly I'm supposed to be that uptight about things! ;)

Feel free to ask questions if I haven't covered everything you were wondering on the subject.


  1. You are so funny! : )

    What a beautiful planner, I love the photo on the front. Very neat.

    I really like the Rod and Staff planners, it has all the little pockets (blanks) divided where I write my subjects and drop activities in the appropriate pockets, Going to the museum? That gets posted under history or science and of course I call it a field trip.

    We aren't required to keep planners but I think it's kinda nice, and my girls keep their own as they become older. Rebecca is an artist, and she has some really neat illustrations in her planners from years past. So fun to look at them now.

    Love to you!!!!! ~Amelia

  2. Hi Amelia!

    Yes, that's one of the loveliest parts of the planners is that they're almost like a journal for the kids and parents to look back on. I include almost everything we do in a day, so the "fun stuff" is in there, too. :)

    I'll bet Rebecca's planners are awesome to look at!

    So wonderful to hear from you. I hope you are all doing well! :)

    LYLAS! :)
    Winky ;)


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