A true, living education is more than textbooks and tests. Just about everything a child experiences is educational, but how can we capture all of it so that it “counts”? Most homeschool record keeping products are either too general or too complex. Very little has been created to help moms with multiple children at multiple ages.
A few years back my household was made up of every age and stage of childhood, from newborn infant to college-aged young person. There was always so much going on, so much that needed to be recorded, but I was at a loss as to how to encapsulate in a way that was both simple and thorough.
Then, while visiting my husband in his office one day, I got out a ruler, a legal notepad, and a black magic marker and began to sketch out a form I could use to keep track of what our children were accomplishing.
I decided to have a column to name the activity and the initials of the children participating, a place to record the time spent, and then a number of columns named with the academic areas covered by the activity, such as:
- Bible and life skills
- Language Arts
- World Studies (including what is generally called “social studies,” but I hate the name)
- Physical activity and outings
The end result wasn’t polished or pretty, but it was practical and useful. After making multiple copies I three-hole punched them and placed them in a bracketed folder. This “record book” was then easy to carry around and make notations wherever I went, a great convenience for a mom who was usually chasing down toddlers and nursing babies all over the house.
Since I found them so helpful and since I knew they could help other moms like me, I created a digital form of these pages and offered them as a free PDF download. (You can find them on the Freebies Page at the top menu.)
However, I realized this was not enough. A lot of ladies were going to download the free PDF and get distracted (as I always do) while the file sat gathering digital dust on their hard drives.
What to do?—create a physical copy of this resource, already copied and bound, so that moms could order it and use it as soon as it arrived in the mail!
And here you have it—The Record Book–all pretty and filled with bonus materials that I hope will bless your homeschooling flip-flops off!
What is included?
There is only so much desk space in my cranium. If I try and cram too much to juggle, I start losing function. This is why The Record Book is so ultra simple. Besides a few pages for information to help you understand how it works and a few set aside for encouraging quotes, the rest follow this pattern:
I have been using a beta copy for the last few weeks and I am so happy with it!
The cover, designed by my talented daughter, Olivia, using elements from The Graphics Fairy (this has been a homeschool project for her), makes me want to use it even more. The paper of the inside pages are of a decent thickness so there is no need to worry about bleed-through. It feels nice in my hands, and it lays well, even though it is done with perfect binding (our original idea was to get it done in spiral, but that proved way too expensive and complicated).
This is a book that you will want to use daily. It is not only a place to record what has been happening, but there is ample space to “brain dump” all of your precious moments and immediate ideas and plans.
No matter what homeschooling method you use, The Record Book will work for you.
Using textbooks? No problem, record the pages you use, but don’t forget all of the other things you do each day.
Using the Charlotte Mason method? Record your living books, narrations, dictations, nature walks, and all the rest.
Unschooling? The Record Book is perfect for you! Wherever learning may take you, there is a space for you to record it.
Besides all this, it is affordable!
We tried to keep costs down so it would not put a hole in your monthly budget. The entire thrust of this project was to produce something that would be mom delights-ful 🙂
There is actually an older version of this form you can download and try for free in this post. The printed version is filled with a more refined version. We took the original and then worked and re-worked it until we thought we had anticipated every scenario which it could be used for.
I believe The Record Book is going to be such a blessing in your life! After you receive your copy, here are some things I believe will help you get the most out of it:
- Don’t try and use one page per day. Put a start date on the top, fill the spaces with as much information as you can, then put an end date. Even if you are in the middle of a day or week, turn the page, put in the current day, and start your entries. In other words, some pages will count for an entire week, some for one day, others for portions of a day. It all depends on how much you have to record.
- Use highlighters to keep track of individuals. This is great for when you are compiling hours for high school credits. Simply assign a particular color for each child and then go through and calculate. You could also use different colors of ink. Walmart’s Casemate and Pen+Gear are two inexpensive brands that are good quality for these purposes.
- Cover the book with clear plastic laminate. This will prolong its life (I actually do this with all the paperback books I own).