Types of Recording for Homeschool Learning Programs
Usually when people consider recording and collecting samples of children's work they think about written work, or art and craft projects. Recording can be done in any media - video, audio tapes and photography will make a collection more exciting, and often broadens the range of learning activities if you encourage the children to do it themselves. It is important to remember, however, that recording should be an intrinsic part of the learning activity, not the reason for it!
In addition to collecting samples of the children's work (in all areas of their life - not just the so-called 'academic' areas), you and the children can provide comments or anecdotes related to the works to be recorded with them. Children can be encouraged to record some reflective comment next to or on their work. Often such comments reveal more about the child later than the piece of work collected!
Samples of work can become celebrations of learning, proudly displayed for awhile, before being carefully stored. Remember to always date samples.
For many home schooling families such collections form the backbone of their evaluation process, in combination with a diary or journal, calendar and the odd check-list as supplements. Depending on your personal style of writing, a diary can offer as much or as little information on your children's learning processes as you wish, from a dry account or list of activities, books read, skills or content areas ticked off, etc., to a loving insight into your children's developing personalities. It doesn't have to be up-dated everyday, but regularity is a key feature of any diary.
A calendar can not only record what events are coming up in the month ahead, but also what you do each day. Some people have different calendars to record specific information on. For example, the pages of the television guide with watched programs highlighted, is a quick and simple way to supplement a more extensive record.
Whatever method you adopt; recording should become a natural and easy process, not contrived. If you value recording and evaluation as an essential part of education then it should never be a chore, and will serve no other purpose than to enhance the kind of education you are offering your children.
In my book, Getting Started with Homeschooling Practical Considerations I have included a chapter on what and how to record along with several examples taken from our homeschooling archives. We tried many different approaches over the years until we found one that worked best for our family from which I created the Learning Naturally Diary.
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We began educating our children in 1985, when our eldest was five. In truth, we had helped them learn what they need to learn since they were born. I am a passionate advocate of allowing children to learn unhindered by unnecessary stress and competition, meeting developmental needs in ways that suit their individual learning styles and preferences. Ours was a homeschooling, unschooling and natural learning family! There are hundreds of articles on this site to help you build confidence as a home educating family. We hope that your home educating adventure is as satisfying as ours was! Beverley Paine
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