Keeping a Daily Logbook

Many states require that homeschool families keep a logbook or other type of records. To check your state's homeschool laws, consult the coordinator of your school district's homeschool department or contact your state department of education. Even if you're not required to keep such records, the day may come when it would be beneficial to have documentation of your child's homeschool years, subjects studied, lessons covered, and other proof of educational activities. So, rather than feeling relieved that you're not required to keep records, consider the benefits of doing so and enjoy the process.

Creating a Logbook

The lesson plan book mentioned in the previous section helps to map out your curriculum week by week. It can also double as your homeschool logbook. If yours is a more freestyle unschooling format, you may not create actual lesson plans for each day. Therefore, the logbook is ideal for jotting down activities your child participated in during the day. A lesson plan book is generally prepared in advance of each day's lessons. The logbook is updated after the day's events have occurred.

You can purchase a weekly logbook for homeschoolers, or you can create your own. In many ways, it's like keeping a diary or journal. Once again, you can use notebook paper or copy paper. Put the day's date on the paper, and write brief descriptions of what your children did that day in each subject area. Then place the paper in your three-ring binder or folder. You could also use a pocket calendar or an inexpensive day planner with plenty of writing space to describe what your child accomplished that day.

Recording Materials Used

In addition to the daily or weekly logbook, some states want to see a list of books and materials used in your homeschool. On the back of your weekly log sheets, you can add a section for recording the titles of books, as well as space for notes or activities related to lessons. This makes it easy to keep everything together, week by week, in one binder. When the home-school evaluator looks over the material, she could flip through the binder and quickly see what books and activities accompanied the weekly lessons.

You can create a similar chart on the back of your daily log sheets. Block off space for the title of the book or textbook, the author or publisher, and the date. You may even want to note how the book was used. For instance:

Title of Book: The Young Naturalist

Author/Publisher: Usborne Books/EDC Publishing

Date Read: 10/2/10 – 10/24/10

Notes: Used in science for identifying insects in a freshly dug patch of soil; identifying fungi on tree bark; creating a bottle garden; and dissecting the parts of a flower and identifying under the microscope.

You can also list any educational videos or DVDs your children watched or books they read for pleasure. This provides the homeschool evaluator more insight into your children's interests, or simply helps you keep track of books your children have read. If the books relate to lessons in any way, you can note that as well.

Your Child's Learning Log

If your children are old enough, have them keep their own learning logs. When they write about the projects and topics they learned each day, it helps to imprint that knowledge in their minds, and they will retain the information longer. Keeping their own learning logs will accomplish three things, it will: 1. Save you time recording their activities, 2. Provide daily writing practice for language arts, and 3. Establish the habit of writing down notes, which will be helpful to your children's education in the years ahead.

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