One of the things that is most difficult, for me personally, as a Home Educating family, is that there is no one external to help to confirm that your children are doing OK. That they’re progressing as you’d hope. Of course, this is as much my problem as anything – too many years of a school mentality has left me feeling the need for a list of targets and a tick list. I know we don’t *need* that external ‘tick’ to prove that the children are learning, and growing, but it can sometimes be hard to recognise progress when you’re in the mix all day every day and it can be nice to have that validation.
I try to monitor what we are doing in a variety of ways, more for my own benefit, to try to spot trends and patterns of interest for the children. I do this mostly through making notes in an A4 acadmeic diary. I literally just jot down what we have done that day. It can be something as simple as – ‘met friends in the park’ to something more detailed such as ‘D and E played doctors – used new phrases following visit with H for injections last week’. I find it interesting to look back and to see what the common themes are in their games and what are the things we seem to play most often. It also serves as a healthy nudge to get outside if I find we have had a day too many of being inside or doing jobs.
As I posted on Instagram yesterday, it would have been Mr D’s first day at school. It was a strange day in some ways. My Facebook feed has, this weke, been full of the familiar faces of the children that he has grown up with, dressed smartly in their (slightly too big) uniforms and excitedly heading off to school.
I felt a pang that I won’t have that picture of him, but instead I have had the most lovely day of seeing his excitement at getting a new t-shirt and shin pads for a football group he is starting this evening. Enjoying spending time together at a new group and just being in each others company. We marked the day by completing an ‘all about me’ sheet – something I want to do each year to record how he changes from year to year. We of course took the obligatory ‘first day’ photos and we headed out to a new group before having lunch and doing some jobs.
Despite not needing to record what we do or how the children are progressing, Mr D does enjoying looking back at the things we do. He has an incredible memory and uses his various books and drawings to prompt him about the things we have done. We have lots of the children’s drawings on the walls as well as the various lapbooks that we made last year stowed away safely. Today I bought both Mr D and Miss E a folder for them to store some of the things that they are working on during the year. We added in the first of our nature walk bits and pieces and we will add anything else we pick up this week.
I am sure by the end of the year the folder will be bursting at the seems, and it makes sense for us to invest in something like a Canon CanoScan scanner, it would be the perfect solution as it would enable us to scan and save the children’s work but also not have to keep all the physical copies. It’s much easier to store a scanner than it is endless mountains of paper and books.
I love to look back at the childrens old pictures; from the first time they manage to write their name to those first self portraits and ever more sophisticated pictures and writing. Having a record of their work is something I think we are keen to do.
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