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Organization: Record Keeping

Take Inventory:

We never really want to think about it, but often it is best if we take an inventory of our belongings, including detailed lists of things such as videotapes, CDs, computer software.

I have a friend who was robbed while on vacation. She came home to an empty house. She literally lost everything--including her homeschooling resources. What if you were robbed? Or what if there was a fire?

Do you have an inventory of what's in your room? You may not need to know how many lightbulbs or boxes of paper clips you have on hand, but someone might be asking sometime how many calculators or balance scales or world globes you have, or had. Take the time to make a list of the major items in your home; it does not take long and may save you a headache later.

Homeschool Budget:

Every year our homeschool budget is never enough and we end up buying materials that we had not planned to get. Get a grip on your budget by itemizing what you buy and how much you spend. Then look for things that are often on sale, such as notebook paper (they practically give it away at discount stores at the beginning of the school year) or items you might get for free (like promotional pens, pencils and rulers) and round up those items on your own. You'll spend your own money more effectively, have a better sense of what your classroom uses every year and possibly find business connections for items they might donate.

Daily Work Pad:

Here is one idea that may be of help to someone. Keep a "daily work pad" (DWP) detailing what objectives/content we intend to cover and/or we have covered, on a daily basis. It is a great planning tool for the short term, but most commercial DWPs leave no room for any notes on what actually happened. You can create one by photocopying and about 10 columns onto one side of an A4 page, and blank lined paper on the other. Then bind about 50 of these double sided sheets into a book, using that cheap plastic material or protective covers. Thus he has in front of him on any school day, the left-hand page with space for any information he wishes to record about the class or individuals, and on the right-hand page, space to write his intentions for the day.

I have used this "home-made DWP" system now, for three years and am amazed at the amount of information I can store in an anecdotal way. For example, I often use it to monitor "problem" children's frequent inappropriate behaviour that is not substantial enough to warrant major documentation on its own, but cumulatively amounts to a problem.

Use the pages at report time, when my evaluation book tells me a different story to my gut feeling. I can look back at a number of minor tests to see if the child's results are painting a different picture from those obtained in major ones.

This system can be used for recording homeschool-requirement information. We are Not only does this list supply me with a recording device; it is a (semi) permanent record - far superior to the individual pieces of paper which invariably get lost over a couple of months.

Track Your homeschool Expenses:

I spend a lot of money every year on materials two and three dollars at a time. Needless to say, at tax time I couldn't find receipts, checks, etc., and always cheated myself when claiming these as reimbursable education expenses.

You might want to do what eventually worked for us. Keep a notebook (or in this age of technology) a computer disk with an itemized listing of your purchases. Keep a shoebox (or file folder) to just drop your receipts in. At the end of the month, just go through the box, record all the receipts, and put them in order in your tax files.

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