I used to say that keeping detailed records for the lower grades wasn't necessasary if not required by the laws where you live, but I've change my mind. There are several reasons why for me it makes sense:
It is good practice/gets the habit going in the beginning. It also give you time to find what works for you.
Also the records could be vital if the homeschooling was every challenged IE non-custodial parent insisting the kids go to school (I've known several mother's whose husbands were onboard with HS'ing unti a divorce then suddenly the fathers decide the mothers are incompetent and the children feral).
As for Srs having a transcript, you have to make it.
I've used a few different paper planners and computer programs over the years. My favorite by far and the one I'm sticking to is the full (paid) version of Homeschool Tracker: http://www.homeschooltracker.com/ Which I need to download again since I just wiped my hardrive and reformatted my computer. Luckily it is easy to save the file with the information on it. I learned the hard way a few yrs ago to always back up my HST file.
I will start next year when my oldest is in sixth grade.
I was going to post something about record keeping, too! I have a Kindergartener and almost preK. Last year I kept a spiral notebook, worte down the day, and everything we did as we did it. A little cumbersome, but everything can be tied back to that notebook. Want to know when we did that sketch of the dinosaurs? Sept 6th, 2011, of course! Also, it is like a whole year of lesson plans all laid out for me for when the next child reaches that grade. Or at the very least a book full of great ideas, and what worked and what definitely did NOT. IN the end I am very happy I did it. On the one day a week my husband does the morning sessions, I leave out a lesson plan IN THE BOOK (it saves copying it down in there later) and he can check it off as he goes. THis year I keep a 3 ring binder with filler paper in it. We've just started this year, so I can't say which method is better yet- but I would start with the notebook. We also have a filing cabinet with files for each subject and each child (the pre-K just has one folder). This makes it easier to track all of those loose worksheets, printables and coloring pages. I write down EVERYTHING. I might generalize a little more as the years go on for time's sake, but lesson plans can be such a b**** to make for a WHOLE year. Plus, when the school district wants to know what I'm planning on teaching for the year, I can pull the notebooks and summarize it on their forms. No more searching several places for the "perfect" Scope and sequence.
Also, I agree with PP that if anyone ever tried to contest your homeschooling, it's right there in black and white. And you can't make that stuff up because it is tied to all of those files and papers and projects that are tucked away in your files.
Do I save EVERYTHING? No. If my K makes 7 different painting in one day, I'll save the 2 that are the best/ showcase what we were learning.
Also, My Father in Law suggested that you could tape record all your lessons, but with all the extra noise in the house it would be hard for us. Maybe a "type as you talk" program for the computer?
But for some reason, I just like to open the notebook and say, "see? Look at everything we did that day! Homeschooling really IS great!" This is also GREAT for dealing with those people who insist that PS is just as good, or "wonder" how well you teach.....
Hope this helps!
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