I eased into homeschooling during Pip's preschool years. Not only did it give me the confidence to go forward with it, but it also gave me the opportunity to toy around with different methods of record keeping. I was glad to have that time, because during those early years I figured out my favorite method of planning and recording our lessons. You can find more about my method here.
As we began her kindergarten year, though, I wanted to make sure that I was keeping up with all information required by the state. We're in Kentucky; if you're here, too, the state's Department of Education homeschool information packet is published here.
At the end of our academic year, I laid out everything I had been saving in a plastic tub since last August. This included math and science workbooks, art projects, assignments brought home from co-op, performance and recital programs, award certificates, weekly and monthly calendars I had created throughout the year, and photos. I went through piece by piece and decided what was pertinent to keep and what was being recycled.
This is what I saved. I probably recycled two to three times this amount.
All weekly and monthly calendars made the cut. They serve as a record of attendance, and outline our daily lessons and activities in detail.
I selected several pages from Pip's math workbook and one full unit from her science workbook that are good examples of her work. I chose about five writing samples, and a pretty big pile of artwork. (I do love kids' artwork, and especially my child's!)
I kept all Pip's award certificates, performance programs, and any documentation of participation in special events. I also went through the digital photos I had been taking all year and created a collage for each month. (I waited until I had a credit from Shutterfly and then ordered them all at once--I love their customer appreciation perks!)
Although I was feeling pretty good about this collection of information, I consulted the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) website for their recommendations about what records to keep for younger students. To complete my summary of the year, I created a document that included the following suggested items:
- materials and memberships used
- extra-curricular activities
- limited participation activities
- projects, awards, and achievements
- life skills acquired
- field trips taken
- volunteer experiences
Some of these items may not apply to all students at such a young age, but I intend to use this year's record as a template for the coming years and I thought it better to include them than not.
Following the HSLDA recommendation I also included a copy of Pip's birth certificate and immunization records.
When everything was compiled, it fit neatly into a single manila folder. I might put it into a cute binder at some point in the future, just for fun, but for now, it's a tidy complete record and readily available if I need it.