Organized Thursday: Keeping Homeschooling Records

If 'A' were to start school in September she would be in 1st grade. In our state, this is the year when I have to officially register her as a homeschooler (by filing a Letter of Intent with the school district). There are a few pieces of additional paperwork that need to be prepared throughout the year, including an Individualized Home Instruction Plan (IHIP), Quarterly Reports and an Annual Assessment.

This is also the year I'll start to be a little more organized with my homeschooling plans and records. 'A' is getting older, and she's ready for days filled with a little more purpose. I've been thinking of what kind of filing/record keeping system will work best. Here are my requirements:

* I want to easily record the books we take out of the library. Ideally I would copy the author and title from the library's website and paste it into my records. I guess then that this record keeping system will be electronic, not paper. I want more than just a document listing the books though - I would like to be able to tag each book with one or more topics (such as "spring" "science" "birds") and be able to search and sort.

* I want to be able to plan ahead by seasons, months or weeks, making notes about what topics to address at certain times of the year. I need an "Idea List" where I can write down things that we can do in the future.

* I want to record what we do each day/week.

* I also have a fair number of paper materials that need to be kept somewhere handy. DVDs, maps, activity ideas I've picked up here and there. Right now I have them sorted by subject. I would like to be able to make a quick note in my electronic system when I have a new material for the paper file. For example, under "Science" I might write "NASA Journey to the Stars DVD" to remind myself that I have it.

* I need to have a place to keep finished work. Sorted by subject, I suppose, and date. This will be the last system I set up - I need to see what finished work is going to look like (size, shape, etc).

* I want some sort of a system for taking handwritten notes - notes by me and notes by 'A'. She'll take notes or draw pictures about things she sees during a science-oriented field trip, for example, and I'll take notes at the same time about interesting facts that we can discuss for review after the field trip is over, or more questions to explore. Composition books, maybe?

* I'll want to start using a composition book for her spelling lessons. Right now I have her write on a single piece of paper and I save them, but I think having it all in one place will be easier for all of us. Ditto for math.

* Most of all, the entire system needs to be free.

Where do I start?


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About Me

My name is Jillian. I started this blog as a way to experiment with my camera and it's a become a nice little spot where I enjoy spending time. I'm a mother to 6 and 4 year old daughters, wife to a cool computer guy, and mama to a cuddly cat. We enjoy eating local, organic food; managing several food allergies; homeschooling with love; spending time in nature; and we love to take time each day to be creative. You can also find me over at From Scratch Club from time to time. Welcome!