Although my family schools year round I never feel like they are really learning during the times I am not keeping my learning journal as I should. Regardless if you are a structured homeschooler or unschooler, a learning journal is a great way to keep track of what is going on and to remind you of your efforts. Additionally, it is also a great way for you keep track of your state’s requirements. Here in Florida, I have used my learning journal during all of our “surprise” portfolio reviews….after a quick flip, I received my sign-off and I was on my way.
I have tried to keep them in several ways:
Since I prefer to type over my scratchy handwriting, I attempted to keep our journal on my computer. This didn’t work for me as my computer wasn’t always with me during all of our learning experiences. By the time I made it to my computer, I would forget to include details and my learning journal wasn’t accurate.
Another option I tried was the binder method. I took a small binder and placed a divider inside for each child. Tossed in some loose notebook paper and started writing under each child’s section. This also didn’t work for me as often we complete group activities. I found myself duplicating my writings within each child’s section- that was triple the work! Who wants that?
The method that seems to be working best for me is to purchase a single subject spiral notebook. I write the “start date” on the cover and when I have used all of the pages I add in the “end date”.
Beyond that, it is quite simple. I write the participating child’s initials in the margin and a description to the right. I also write notes for me (example: Needs to work on ___, rushes through, etc.)
It is super simple and a great way to remember where you’ve been. I write in ANY educational experience they had for the day (going to the Library, field trips, playtime at the park, etc.) As you can tell, I filled up one page on a “non-homeschool day”. I can fill more than two pages on days when we are actually scheduled to accomplish learning!
The next time you fee like you are fighting a losing battle, pull out your learning journal and take a look at all your family has accomplished!