Keeping Your Home School on Track

It is the end of the school year and time to make yearly records. The type of records you keep are determined by state law and family preference. Here in Wisconsin, we are required to keep an attendance calendar but the type of records we keep is up to us. So many choices—report card, portfolio, learning journal, time-sheets or whatever else we can think up.

Each family needs to choose the best form for their purposes.   I used portfolios when my children were in elementary school, report cards when they were in high school and a transitional form in middle school. I really liked using portfolios when my kids were young. It allowed them to focus on learning the material and not on their grades/scores. I let them pick out their best work to include in a binder. I supplemented this with anything I thought was their best work that they missed. I also kept my own learning journal where I recorded the resources we used and what we covered. I still have these binders and my adult children can look back on their elementary work. It brings back fun memories. I don’t believe that testing children is conducive to learning. I also do not think it is a good representation of what they know.   So it was great to have the freedom to use portfolios.

In middle school I slowly transitioned my children to report cards and kept a log of their hours for certain subjects where there was less written work (Home Ec., Computer Science, Gym). We still kept the portfolios. We just started giving numeric scores to tests—math and science tests first and then the rest over time. This gave them time to adjust to grades.

In highschool we used report cards with letter grades and credits for each class. We included a GPA and a cumulative GPA on our report cards. We strive for a professional and accurate representation of my children’s knowledge. We still have portfolios, but I have found that colleges do not usually want to see them.   They just want the report card.   We keep the portfolio for ourselves in case we need evidence of the grades. Instead of a learning journal, my children write their own summary of what they learned that year. They also keep their own reading list. Even in highschool, it is nice to have a record of your work to look back on. It shows the progress each child makes over the year.

Like many home-educators, Adam and I chose to homeschool before we got married. Getting married and having children was an expression of our faith. We felt that it was our responsibility to identify each child’s gifts and educate them according to their calling. So we asked God how we should educate our children and what specifically we should be teaching them. I was wrestling with the age-old question of whether to teach my children the classics or just Christian material, whether to teach them evolution or not, whether to allow technology, how many years of math ect. God brought to my mind Daniel 1:3-7[1] where Daniel and his companions are brought to Babylon and instructed for three years in all the Babylonian knowledge.   Being nobles, they already had a solid Jewish education. God used this verse to remove my fear of contaminating my children with worldliness.   Adam and I felt that God wanted us to educate our children for college. This was a huge step for us as neither of us had attended college at that point. Knowing that our children were destined for college dictated the way that I kept records in their high school years. I knew I would need a report card that a college could read. I knew that the grades needed to be backed up by a record of work.   I also did not want to squelch my children’s curiosity with test scores and fear of failure. So I used a system that incorporated several styles of record keeping to meet our needs.

This system has served us well. Three of our children are graduated from highschool and in college.   My oldest son has graduated college and will be attending graduate school. Our baby is still in high school. Hope you find your own method of record keeping for your family.   Happy Homeschooling!


[1] Then the king commanded Ashpenaz, his chief eunuch, to bring some of the people of Israel, both of the royal family[a] and of the nobility,youths without blemish, of good appearance and skillful in all wisdom, endowed with knowledge, understanding learning, and competent to stand in the king’s palace, and to teach them the literature and language of the Chaldeans. The king assigned them a daily portion of the food that the king ate, and of the wine that he drank. They were to be educated for three years, and at the end of that time they were to stand before the king. Among these were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, andAzariah of the tribe of Judah. And the chief of the eunuchs gave them names: Daniel he called Belteshazzar, Hananiah he called Shadrach, Mishael he called Meshach, and Azariah he called Abednego.


Audiobook Nook

Not too long ago, Locust & Honey Productions teamed up with Tim Halligan’s studio and west Wisconsin author, Fred Brede, to create the audio book, Follow the Gandy Dancers. Now available on both Amazon and Audible, this tale follows a young reporter who is sent out on a rather unusual assignment. He has to cover the construction of the last stop on the railway where the cars are turned around. But what he uncovers while on assignment keeps him up late at night wondering. Thanks to his new girlfriend who is able to offer him the very leads he was looking for, he not only finishes a compelling series of newspaper articles of the end of the railway but helps police to solve a baffling case. You can listen to a free excerpt on Audible or YouTube. At four and a half hours, you won’t want to miss this one as the author carefully develops each character with dignity.

Next week, we’ll post an informative interview/podcast on Apologetics with author, Pradeep Tilak, who specializes in his focus on worldview issues and Reformed epistemology.

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