Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Homeschool Planning - What do you Keep?

Here we are in June, the end of the school year for most children.  Most people see the end of the school year as the beginning of a lovely summer break, a time to relax, undo some of the rigid schedule, and just plain ol’ have fun!

As a homeschooling mama, I have a lot of these same desires.  One may be different though, the planning of the next school year.

Every year about this time, I start to get the itch to build next year’s curriculum.  While the school year is fresh in my mind, I want to be able to go through what worked and what definitely did not work.  I also start to plan what our schedule will be like when we start our new year.

We school all year, so while June is typically the end of the school year in most schools, it marks the end of one curriculum for us, and moving onto the next in July.

June becomes a planning month of sorts.

We are still doing school, but I am thinking about what is next for our kids.

For the last several years we have purchased a whole box curriculum from Sonlight.  This has been perfect for us because it takes a lot of the planning out of the equation for me.  I get a set of books that we are going to read and an awesome schedule, which we loosely follow, to go through our year.

This year is going to be a little bit different.  This year will be our first year reporting to the state that we are official homeschoolers.

Reporting to the state seems a little scary to me, I’m not entirely sure why.

Because we have to report to the state next year, I am taking homeschool planning a little more seriously than I have in the past. 

Sure, I keep track of what the kids are doing every week, but I feel like I need to have better records.

I want to make sure that I have good records for myself, so I know that we are accomplishing what we need to.

One of the options that we have is to do a portfolio to show progress in each of the subject areas. 

This seems like a great idea on the surface, it will become a scrapbook of sorts, but how do you figure out what exactly needs to be in the portfolio? 

I have been researching and trying to figure out what to keep, what to throw away, what to stick in a box in the attic for when the kids have graduated from high school.  It seems a little overwhelming!

I reached out to some homeschool Facebook groups that I am a part of, and the answers were very encouraging.  While I often think of a portfolio as a comparison of my child to another homeschooled child, that is not what they are looking for.  Instead, the person evaluating the portfolio is looking for the student to make progress.  They want to see writing samples, book lists, pictures and videos of projects and field trips.  Whatever you can use to demonstrate that your child is learning throughout the year in the different subject areas the state requires.

It probably is an odd place to start for planning the next homeschool year, the end, however, I think it is important to know what I should be keeping and what I can let go of throughout the year. 

I would love to hear what you do. 

How do you decide what to keep and what to get rid of with regards to your kids’ schoolwork?  Do you put together a portfolio for your homeschool year, or a scrapbook for your public/private schooled child?


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  2. Visiting from the #hiphomeschoolhop. Honestly, we keep just about everything . . . pretty much all written work and workbooks, as well as reading lists and other notes I make all go together in the end of year portfolio. After everything has been submitted/approved for the year, it gets put in a box. I'm wrapping up year four with my oldest (K-3) and year two with my middle (K-1) and we just now filled up one box, so not a ton to store. We don't use a prepackaged curriculum, however, and don't have a ton of written work in the early grades. I think they will love looking back on it someday. What state are you reporting in? ps Somehow I deleted my original comment? Oops.

  3. I think that makes sense to start planning and looking through everything to organize it now instead of later and things get lost or misplaced. I'm trying to figure out what my son needs to keep and how to keep records of it right now, too. There's so much! I hope I can get it done this week.

  4. My state is not very strict, which I'm thankful for, but I don't keep much. Although, this past year for history we made history notebooks, and they drew, colored, copied, and really had a great time with these notebooks. I will be keeping those. We enjoyed looking through them at the end of the year and remembering everything. And it was so nice that everything was together. I'm going to do something similar for science next year, and possibly other subjects as well. It makes it easy to keep the memories, since everything is all together. And I totally agree with you on looking to the future to make your plans. I am always considering where I want my kids to end up, and that determines how I'm going to help them get there.


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