Deciding to Be Positive about Homeschool Record Keeping

“Hey, girls, come and look at my video!”

“It looks wonderful, Mum!” (My daughters know exactly the right words to say!)

“Do you like the slideshow? How about the pan and zoom effect? Does that work?” The girls nodded. And, of course, I smiled.

I love learning new things. It’s a wonderful feeling gaining a new skill. And it’s great having people to share my achievements with.

So what exactly have I been doing?

I’ve been making short unschooling videos, 2 – 3 minutes in length. I’m using snippets of podcasts or longer videos to highlight particular unschooling ideas. And I’ve been experimenting with my video software, learning how to use the various features, as I attempt to make the videos attractive.

“It’s a pity I’m not part of the homeschool records book,” I said. “I feel like writing down all I’ve learnt.”

I’ve been keeping homeschool records books for over 20 years. Many times I have sighed and wished keeping records wasn’t part of our homeschooling registration requirement. But record keeping isn’t going to disappear anytime soon so it’s no use complaining. Instead, I’ve been trying to approach it with a positive attitude.

Last year I discovered Evernote and started keeping digital records and, for the first time ever, started to feel excited about record keeping. I no longer think of it as an unavoidable but necessary chore. Now I keep records for my own family’s enjoyment. Yes, I actually enjoy adding photos, notes and links to my notebooks. It’s like putting together a journal of our life. There are lots of memories contained in my notes. Sometimes we scroll back through my notebooks. We roll back time:

“Do you remember watching that movie together? We should watch it again.”

“Oh look at these photos! Immy, your hair was much shorter then.”

“I enjoyed reading that book.”

“Do you remember that day at the lake when we ran 5 km before having a picnic?”

“Can we go to Canberra again, please? That was a wonderful holiday. We could go back to the art gallery and the museums.”

“I’d forgotten about that blog post!”

“Oh look! I remember how excited I was when I learnt to…”

Yes, we do get excited when we learn new skills. I also want to look back and remember my achievements such as how I learnt to make unschooling videos. But, as I said, I can’t record my new skill in our Evernote homeschool records book. That’s just for the girls. (Our Authorised Person won’t want to read about my unschooling!) So it’s just as well I have an Evernote diary notebook of my own. The other night I went to Youtube and clipped my latest unschooling video into this diary. Now I’ll remember the exact day I made it. I’ll remember smiling as I shared it with my daughters.

Of course, you might not be impressed with my video making skills. Maybe you’ll wonder why I got so excited and wanted to share my achievement. And you’d be right: I still have lots to learn. But think of the fun I’m going to have as I increase my knowledge further! What will I learn next? What other video software features will I experiment with? What new ideas will I have?

And what learning experience will I record next in my diary?

Record keeping isn’t all bad, especially if we use an effective method to capture all those wonderful learning experiences we’d like to remember forever.

If you’d like to watch my little video, here it is:

I’ve just had another positive thought about record keeping: It encourages us to be observant. We have to keep our eyes open for learning experiences, otherwise our notebooks could look a bit bare. And that means we notice every little stage of our children’s growth and development, every small achievement.  Time doesn’t pass in a blur. We live in the moment.

If you’d like to watch my Evernote videos, they can be found on Youtube. I’m thinking about re-recording them to increase their quality. Maybe one day! There are so many things I want to do!

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  1. We aren't required to keep records in Montana, but they could come in handy for college applications. I also enjoyed your video – so many good thoughts!

    1. Reply

      Oh yes, college applications. That's a good point! It's so easy to forget the details of what our children have been doing if we don't make some kind of notes. Thank you for watching my video!

  2. Reply

    You did a great job with the video and the new look blog! A whole heap of hard work and fun on both counts xx

    1. Reply


      You are right: I've been having great fun with the videos, and also with redesigning my blog. It's been time-consuming work, but I've enjoyed learning new skills. Thank you for your kind words! xx

  3. Reply

    I love your record keeping, and last year it was you who inspired me to dive into Evernote and do it digitally. It was wonderful! … for a while. But then I got burned out. It seemed as though recording what my children were doing became just another "thing" that took up my time, when it seemed like I was (and am) already short on time. Here in Washington state we aren't required to keep records – and perhaps that's part of my hangup, that I don't have to do it. But truly, I *want* to, not only for my children, but for me as well. Any advice on how to streamline the process so that it doesn't feel so cumbersome at times?

    1. Reply


      I think I'd also get burnt out keeping Evernote records if it took too long to do. But I spend relatively little time making notes. I record as much as possible 'on the go'. It's very time-consuming and tiring trying to do record keeping at the end of the day. I can never remember the details!

      Photos can be imported from mobile devices very quickly and easily. I keep my computer turned on in the day and add a note here and there. When I have a quiet moment (coffee time!) I might add a note or two. I can add notes via my tablet. I know some people add them through their phones. Do you have an Evernote app on your mobile devices? PCs, tablet and phones can be synced together.

      I also copy similar notes from week to week instead of writing new ones. There are some things the girls do for more than one week so the same note is applicable to more than one notebook.

      Links to websites, Youtube videos, articles etc can be clipped while on the site.

      Notes can be quickly written and then if you want to make them more attractive, images can be added later. And if there's no time for finding the images, it doesn't really matter. The words are the most important bit.

      I hope these ideas help. Perhaps I should write a post about streamlining Evernote record keeping!

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