Perhaps you already have all the data input into your Homeschool Tracker program. Or, maybe you just need to pull out your daily lesson plan book where you’ve recorded grades, and daily assignments.
If you’re anything like me; however, your home school record keeping looks like piles of paper spread in colorful disarray through one or more rooms in your home.
Those of you who have been following this blog from the beginning may wonder how this is possible. In a blog post last year, I boasted about my amazing home school organization. However, that was just two months into home schooling. Reality hadn’t set in yet.
Our reality is that although we live in a state that requires reports on a set schedule, our learning projects don’t necessarily conform to that schedule. We get distracted by new interests, and sometimes we’re too busy to keep track of everything that we’re doing.
Fortunately, I’ve come up with a system for producing a quarterly report out of this chaos. Here are my 10 Easy Steps to a Home School Quarterly Report:
1. Upload the last quarterly report, and save it as the current document. I label my files with a name that easy to find later; for example, “quarterly_ 03312009.” If this is your first time, you’re welcome to copy our quarterly report and modify it for your use. (See Homeschool Quarterly Report for details on what must be included in the report to meet New York requirements.)
2. Math – This is usually the easiest section to tackle as my son is working through material in the order that it is presented in the Singapore Math Home Instructor’s Guide. I just check where we left off in the last quarter, then I look in the table of contents chart to note what I’ve crossed off.
3. Language Arts – In the past, I listed all the books that my son read during the quarter. Now, I’m making this easier on myself by just referring to my son’s blog and Librarything account where he reviews most of the books he reads. I also check the table of contents in his Language Arts workbooks to note what was completed. Frankly, I don’t try to list every single Language Arts activity that Alex completes. That would involve more detail than required, and way too much effort on my part.
4. Social Studies – It’s easy to remember what we’re doing in Social Studies since this drives much of what we do in our home school program. Usually, I refer to the sections that we covered in Story of the World. However, this quarter we ended up spending a lot of time on China, which was just one small chapter, but which we expanded with material that I had on hand. Ancient Rome is covered in much greater depth, but we also expanded this section with resources that I had at home.
5. Science – I was struggling to remember what we covered in Science this quarter. Fortunately, I was able to look at our blogs, as well as the kitchen counter, for a reminder. It helped that much of the science work was driven by our social studies units.
6. The Arts – Again, the social studies units determined the arts curriculum, and I looked to our blogs to remember the projects.
7. Health and Physical Education – I lump these together, but I don’t stress over describing these as they mostly get covered through our daily routines. As I looked over the IHIP and my son’s blog, I noticed that he had been discovering Advocacy, one of the Health topics, so I included this. I also check the Cub Scout Handbook as this is where we cover many of the Health subjects.
8. Foreign Language - Technically, I don’t need to include this as it isn’t a requirement in the Elementary grades. I do anyway because this is a reference for us, as well as the school district.
9. Technology – This is another subject that I don’t need to list, but choose to do so anyway. I just tapped my memory to fill out this section.
10. Evaluations – I don’t give Alex too many tests, so I can’t provide grades. However, I know day to day how he is faring in his subjects since he doesn’t move forward without mastering current material. If something isn’t working, I change my approach or the materials right then and there. At the end of the quarter, it’s pretty easy to generate an evaluative written narrative based on what I already know from working with him one-on-one.
Home School Quarterly Report, Grade 3 III
Home Instruction Quarterly Report
March 31, 2009
Blog Website: http://alexhomegate.blogspot.com
Hours of instruction this quarter: 247.5+
Having completed Singapore Math 3A, Alex is now well into Math 3B where he completed the section on mental calculations in Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, and Division. He also just finished the section on Length and is starting the one on Weights. Alex handles this material easily, and is on target to complete the Third Grade Math Curriculum on or before the end of the academic year.
Alex is zooming through books, and has reviewed many of these on his LibraryThing account and on his blog. He also discussed Babe, The Gallant Pig and the importance of setting with a book club modeled on Deconstructing Penguins that encourages literary analysis. Additionally, he completed several nonfiction reading assignments as part of the Science and Social Studies units.
Generally, Alex’s reading skills are well above grade level. A recent SCAT test, taken as part of the Johns Hopkins Academic Talent Search, which asked him to complete analogy questions leveled two grades above his current grade level, qualified Alex to participate in the Center for Talented Youth classes.
Alex practiced basic Language Arts skills through work book exercises in Grammar on: homophones, pronouns, conjunctions, and capitalization. He has also just completed the workbook exercises in Read and Understand: Myths and Legends (Evan –Moor) which covered: reading comprehension, vocabulary, structural analysis, figures of speech, and story elements.
This quarter, I decided to change what we were doing with Spelling as I wasn’t seeing much progress previously. We are now using Houghton Mifflin’s Spelling and Vocabulary workbook that is leveled for 4th Grade. This phonics based program has sufficiently challenging exercises in phonics-based spelling, vocabulary, and grammar to engage Alex. I am now seeing some progress in his ability to spell, but it is still a weak area for him.
Additionally, Alex has been developing writing skills through blog posts, entries in his Writer’s Notebook, a neighborhood news project, and developing work in 5-paragraph expository essays. His writing skills are still a source of frustration as he is unable to handwrite at the level that he can read and verbalize, but he is making significant progress.
Alex completed a unit on China, and is finishing up a unit on Ancient Rome. In both units, we focused on the five standards: social, political, geographic, economic, and historic. Alex especially enjoyed the hands-on learning assignments, and retains much of the information that he absorbs in his reading.
This quarter, our science curriculum has been closely tied to the units covered in social studies. Since we were studying China, and the Chinese language, we read about the science of language as covered in an issue of Odyssey Magazine. This interest also inspired a visit to the Communications exhibit at the Liberty Science Center.
Similarly, our coverage of Ancient Rome led Alex to learning about Roman building innovations such as aqueducts and cement roads.
Just for fun, Alex sat in on a lesson given by his older sister, on the Second Law of Thermodynamics.
Currently, Alex is in the middle of a series of Crime Lab Chemistry experiments as part of a unit on forensic science.
As part of our units on Rome and China, Alex visited the relevant sections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art where he took a guided sketching tour of Chinese Arts.
Alex also tried a variety of Chinese arts such as: landscape paintings, panel paintings, Chinese ink lettering, and paper cutting.
Music- Alex listened to a sampling of traditional Chinese music.
Health and Physical Education:
Health – Alex is starting to learn about advocacy, and has recently used his blog to post articles on issues that concern him.
Physical Education – Alex gets daily exercise through weekly fencing lessons, daily dog walks, outside play, and seasonal activities such as: snowshoeing, ice skating, skiing, and biking.
As part of the China Unit, Alex was introduced to Mandarin.
Alex is becoming more confident in his keyboarding and use of digital technology, and is beginning to occasionally post blog articles on his own. He also continues lessons with a young mentor who is teaching Alex how to create video games on Roblox and on other programs.
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