Friday, July 26, 2013

Relaxed Record Keeping Plan

*Series Intro*

*For the past 6 months or so I have been exploring the ins and outs of Relaxed Homeschooling (RHS) and Unschooling (UnS).  In that time I have come to see that my daughter NEEDS this type of learning and education if she is to be who she is meant to be.  Anything else will not support her full development.  My reason for coming up with any kind of plan at all is twofold. This school year we will be moving to a state in which we will be joining an umbrella school.  So, my task here is to come up with a relaxed plan that will meet the requirements of the umbrella school.  Secondly, a dear friend of mine in state that only requires an attendance record for homeschool statute compliance was accused of educational neglect.  Having never tested her children, and not done much record keeping, it was difficult for her to prove that her children were in deed growing and learning, as they should. So now I am a bit paranoid about the remote possibility of this happening to us. If it ever does, by some fluke chance, I will have this plan to back up our efforts.

I've decided to put our plan into a series of posts. Both as a reference for me in the future and with the hope that it might be of help to other homeschool moms! ;)

See all the entries in the series by clicking HERE*

Relaxed record Keeping Plan – Part Three

I have really been looking forward to sharing this post in this series about our Relaxed Homeschool Plan.  I am a list maker! I love to check boxes.  I think that is one reason why I have fluctuated from schoolish to unschoolish ideas, back and forth over the years.  Gentle schoolish ideas speak to my mind, unschoolish ideas speak to my heart.  My daughter is the exact opposite!  Just this morning, I asked her what her plan is for today.  She laughed and said, “Plan, don’t you know me at all?” Still laughing.  Maybe you can relate?

Below is my plan for record keeping that satisfies my need to check boxes, her need for freedom, and the requirements of our umbrella school.

Our Umbrella School Requires

1.    Report of number of school days twice a year. We must have a total of 180 days each school year (July to June), but we are not required keep an attendance record. Since everyday is a learning day, that’s no problem.

2.    Provide an educational plan that includes one resource per subject.  This is easy.  We have books on every subject in our house.

3.    Report grades for each subject twice per year.  For now, I can use Pass/Fail if I want, or letter grades.  Letter grades are easier than you think.  I will give all A’s.  Here’s why.
Schools use grades to rank students and to rate how much of the required material is mastered.  I have no one to rank my daughter against.  We do not have required material.  She is pursuing her own interests in her own way.  There is no way to grade that.  So I don’t feel guilty giving her A’s.  It is a hoop that the umbrella school is required to jump through, so we must as well.

Other Record Keeping

In addition to the above, there are a few things that I would like to do for record keeping.  I have many reasons for wanting to do more than is required.  I want back up if we are ever challenged with educational neglect charges. I want to be able to look back on our year and see what we have accomplished. I want to be able to assess where we are going in this journey and next steps we might take.  This will be in a form of a portfolio binder.  Below is a list and explanation of what goes into this binder.

*  The Curriculum Plan/Course Descriptions I talked about in Post#2 

*  The Home Education Plan I talked about in Post#2 

*  Resource Lists by Subject
o   I make these lists on  I have a list for each subject.  As we use a resource I add it to this list. I put everything on these lists! It’s not just for books.  You add in the info for magazines, TV shows, websites and even fieldtrips.  There is an entry form for just about every resource type and it puts them in bibliography form automatically.  I will print these out at the end of the school year. Oh, and it’s free!

*  Monthly narrative summaries
o   I have a weekly planning form where I jot down our read-alouds, appointments, strewing and sharing plans, and notes about what we did each day.  
o   At the end of the month I sit down and write up, in narrative form, what we did over the past month.  I print this out.  Then in the margins I go through and label school subjects our activities fall into.

*  Then I have a section of work samples and pictures.

*  Test Report
o   I have decided to do a standardized test each year from now on.  This is not because I want the results.  If you ask me, testing is all about ranking how well kids take tests, not evaluation what they know.  I am doing a test to help my daughter gain test taking skills.  No matter what she does in life, taking tests will be part of it.  We are a test happy society.  She needs to learn and practice test-taking skills as well as get used to the process.

*  Year End Evaluation
o   This will be a narrative evaluation drawing from the monthly summaries.  Basically my goal here is to keep in touch with my daughters strengths, areas for growth and develop ideas for strewing and sharing for the next school year. Oh, and our “school year” is year round, July-June, because our learning is not confined to school activities or hours. 

So that’s our plan. If you have read this and you homeschool, I hope it has been helpful to you.  Feel free to use and modify any forms in these posts.  Thanks for reading. ;)

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