Friday, January 02, 2009

Recordkeeping and Organizing the Homeschool with Three Boys

Before putting in my two cents worth, I'm going to share with you tips from other homeschoolers. The posts for the next three days come from members of the Thrifty Homeschool Yahoo Group. Today's guest blogger is Elizabeth.

I'm a HSM of 3 boys, 2 which are in the 4th grade and 1 in the 3rd. We have been homeschooling for 3 years. We are blessed to have an extra bedroom downstairs that is our classroom. I painted a chalkboard on one wall. Each child has his own desk, which was given to us. I also have a desk. We have a couple of small bookcases, one for their reading books and one for my reference and teacher books. We also have a small table that serves as our science center, complete with a microscope. I use another small table with bins for art supplies above what they have in their desks, such as construction paper, drawing paper, extra crayons and markers. The walls are covered with maps, charts and their projects. The boys are responsible for their desks, folders and papers. I'm responsible for mine, and right now, their desks look somewhat better than mine.

Planning for us is, well, not an exact science. We usually get started by 8am. I do not have a set time schedule for each subject. That way if we need more time for one subject, I won't stress out that we don't have time. I do pretty much plan the lessons by the week and have an overview of what we should accomplish for the year. We do attend a homeschool group 2 times a month, usually. I like for us to be flexible. You never know when a learning oppertunity will happen.

Recordkeeping I take very seriously as family on my husband's side do not "approve" of homeschooling. They have mentioned to another family member that if they think the boys are not learning anything, they will call the authorities. So, I have a "Mommy" notebook, which is a 5 subject spiral notebook. In one section, I keep track of our hours. The state of Missouri says we have to have 1000 hours of school. In another section, I keep track of what we did for that day. This is a cross between lesson plans and what we actually did. It works for us and it fills another requirement for the state. My boys like grades, so I grade papers and tests. In another section, is the grade book. The 4th section is set up for me use for the library. When I'm wanting books on a certain subject, this is where I jot it down. This notebook goes with me to the library. The 5 section is used for notes to myself. If a boy is not catching on quite as well, I will write a note to remind myself to give him extra work or extra time to help him. Also I have a small filing cabinet in the classroom to keep their papers in for each year. The state requires samples, I keep everything.

I guess that's about it for now. Thank you for letting me voice what I do.
Thank you Elizabeth!

For more on organizing, you can download the recorded webinar Organizing Your Classroom 101 for free at Homeschool Connections. Click on the link that says Recorded Events.

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