Even if you use homeschool record keeping software, you still need a physical resource to be able to take care of handling the books, papers and resources that you use for your children. I have found a fairly simple way of keeping track of my children’s work and what we have done, so I thought I would share it with you.
Get a folder for each child and put it on a bookshelf in your house or in a cupboard. Make sure you put it somewhere that is easily accessible, not behind or under anything else. Leave yourself plenty of space on the shelf too.
I like to get a different colored folder for each child so I can place the work in the right folder without having to look for a name. When my children have completed a workbook, paper, project, or just made something interesting, I place that item in their folder on the shelf.
The most important part about this process is that you ALWAYS put the date on either the front or back of the item.
Take Pictures of any projects or items that are too big to store in this folder and place the picture in the folder. If you don’t have room to store the item somewhere else in your house, then you will at least have the picture if you have to throw the item away.
Also take pictures of field trips, coop activities, or any other interesting activity your children participated in this year.
If getting pictures developed is a hassle for you, Snapfish has a nice service where you can load pictures and put them into different albums. I would load my homeschool portfolio pictures into an album at Snapfish called "homeschool portfolio" throughout the school year. Then at the end of the year, I would get whatever is in that album developed. That way you don't have to keep track of where you have put your developed pictures. They will all be in one place ready for developing and including in your homeschool record keeping system.
Place any pictures in the folder that you have for each child. Make sure you put dates on the back of the pictures too.
You can make a page with pictures on it with notes for each picture. This can be done now, at the end of the year, or not at all. If you’re not creative or able to make a scrapbook-type page, just get a small photo album at the end of the year and slide all your pictures in there.
Get a spiral notebook or 3-ring binder - Place this notebook or binder on the same shelf with the homeschool record keeping folders you have for each child. Title several of the pages with different items such as “Books we Have Read”, “Field Trips We Have Taken”, “Projects or Experiments We Have Done”.
When you finish reading a book to your children, just write the title and the date on that page of the notebook on your shelf. You can do the same thing with field trips and projects. It might be easier to put this notebook on a table next to your bed, so that at the end of each day you can write down what you have accomplished or read.
You can keep track of your days or hours in this notebook too, if your state requires you to keep track of those details.
At the end of the school year, you will have a nice collection of papers and books that your children have completed along with a log of your field trips and projects.
Take one folder at a time and put the papers and books in piles by subject. Then organize each subject by date and stack the piles together. You now have a complete stack of almost everything you have done for the year to be able to show to an assessor or file in a box.
This is the simplest homeschool record keeping system I could come up with. Let me know if any of this is confusing to you. I think many people make the end of the year portfolio process WAY too complicated. If you collect all your information a little bit at a time throughout the year, then you won't have a huge project to tackle at the end of the year.
If you need help with high school transcripts, you can get help at homeschool transcripts.