Interest led learning … you really like the concept behind it … you have a strong desire to equip your kids to be critical thinkers, problem solvers and well rounded successful young people. You see the value in teaching your kids life skills. You recognize that field trips and hands-on learning are a fabulous way to solidify newly gained ideas and concepts in their mind. You’ve discovered that lively discussions centered around current events is a top-notch method to create forward thinking, informed citizens …
But could someone please help you discover how to package all of this great learning that you’re doing as a family! Are you wondering how to keep records for interest led homeschool learning?
Listen in as I give you practical methods for recording your homeschool work, plus examples of how I successfully used it to keep track of all our family’s lifestyle of learning.
P.S. be sure to download and print the free PDF that you can use to log your own child’s school work!
Recording Interest Led Learning
Hi, everybody, Gina here with Help for Homeschoolers, and today we’re talking record keeping, because I want to teach you by the end of this video… you’re going to learn about two specific ways that you can record your learning if you’re doing interest learning.
This can apply to any learning, but specifically, if you’re doing learning that is spontaneous, let’s say you took a field trip or something happened in the news and you decided to look that up together as a family. All of those things that you think to yourself, “Man, this is really good! I think this counts for school, but I don’t know how to record it, I don’t know how to incorporate it into my end of your review for my record-keeping.”
So what you’re going to do as a homeschooler, you’re going to keep a portfolio or a binder, you need a way to put all of your records together. I used to put it in a 3 ring binder, a spiral bound notebook, and I would keep that for the year’s work. That was examples of what we did, it was pictures of what we did, it was examples of their work, it was a reference list, what I used to teach the boys…
So here’s what I want to show you today. I want to give you two ways that you can record the times that you’re doing some spontaneous learning or you’re doing a unit study that you came up with. Or let’s say you went on a field trip as a family or with some other families, whatever it is.
When ever you think to yourself, “Man, we had some great discussion and I know my kids learned some things today!” I want to show you how to record that, how to package that nicely, how to bring some organization to that.
Interest Led Learning Creates Critical Thinking, Problem Solvers
Alright, so number one, my first example, and let me tell you something, before I get started, interest-driven learning, it’s one of the great secrets to truly creating critical thinkers, to creating young adults that can problem-solve that let’s say they lose a job opportunity, they can come up with their own ways to create income, they can come up with their own solution, let’s say they’re having a problem in their life, they’re not just going to sit there and not know what to do about it. Your interest-driven learning, your outside of the box learning where you actually see something and you learn about it together … you’re teaching them how to think for themselves. This is one of the great ways to develop critical thinking in your children!
I’m going to show you a form that I created just to help you feel more organized, to be able to track what you’re teaching them … the video you watched together, the book you read together, the field trip that you took together.
Okay, so on this form, I have What I Learned Today, and I put the topic, the name, the date, and here I wrote interesting or weird fact that we learned about the topic, and this is like a one or a two-sentence overview. Then I wrote two sentence overview or summary about that topic, so the first one is something interesting they learned, and then they could make a drawing or they could cut out a picture or print a picture of whatever it is they learned about.
This is great for elementary through middle school. You can also adapt it to high school. For high school, what I also recommend you could do is take a sheet of notebook paper and do bullet point style… So let me give you an example.
An Example From When The Sun Looked More Like The Moon
Last night, my son came to me … at the time of this recording, it’s mid-September, and we’re in Maryland. My son comes to me around 6 o’clock last night. He says, “Mom,come here, look at the sun, the sun looks so weird.” All of us, we went outside and we’re looking up at the sun… And it did, it just looked… It looked like a blood moon. It looked kind of like a light orange color, it didn’t have any rays coming forth from it. It didn’t look like the typical setting sun, and yet there weren’t any clouds in the sky. We were all just kind of perplexed or like what is causing that?
Now, it’s the year 2020 as I make this video, and there have been wildfires just ravaging the West Coast of the United States, and just creating a lot of destruction, a lot of hardship, definitely let’s be praying for those families. And here’s what I learned. What we found out together is that it had to do with the jet stream and the way it was pulling the smoke all the way across the United States from one coast to the other, and it was affecting the atmosphere and how the sun looked to us.
How To Turn This Into School Credit
Now, let’s say… So my oldest, he’s 23 now, so we don’t have school anymore, obviously, but let’s say that this was a 10th grader or a fifth grader, and they were very interested.
So what you’re going to do is, together, you can Google, you can go to NASA, you can look up weather for kids, whether phenomena for kids. You can Google it, you can go to the library and you can get out books about the atmosphere and wild fires and you could create a unit study about this. This is where the PDF page is going to come in handy. Wherever you’re watching this video, don’t forget, I have a PDF for you of this page and you can print it out and you can use it for your own homeschooling.
You can write down where you found the information. Did you get it from a library book, did you watch a good documentary? Did you find one on TV? Did you find one on, whether it’s websites like Amazon or something like that, where… I’m not very techie if you can tell :-), but you guys are, right? You’re getting it from the library book or you’re googling it, so you’re going to just reference the website as well.
Throughout the years, each year I kept a reference list… Sometimes it was for each subject, sometimes it was a general list of what books that we read or what videos and websites that we used. You could just put that at the bottom of this form and for your high schooler you could just put that at the bottom of the bullet point notebook page, something like … we used NASA’s site, and what you learned about that subject… So that’s one way. That’s great.
Another way, I created these photo pages throughout the year. Photo pages were for recording our learning in one subject. But you could also be using a photo page for your spur the moment learning too.
Let me add this for that spur-of the moment learning, you can turn it into your science for the week or for the month. You say, “Gina, I already have a science curriculum”. This is the freedom in homeschooling. You can take a minute, you can take a couple of days, you can take a couple of weeks, you can put a pause on that science curriculum, because you’re still learning… The goal of homeschooling is to progress in learning, to just build upon what you know. So for that week or that month, whatever you want it to be … for that day of science, you can just learn about what caused the sun to look like a strange light aglow in the evening sky. That is your science for the week, and I guarantee they are going to remember this! This is something that interests them, and they’re going to lock that up into their brain.
Okay, but let’s say you did an entire year where you didn’t follow a textbook. You created a course about what they were interested in. So this one is learning through preserving the harvest. We like to learn how to do for ourselves, how to have our own food.
What I would do is take pictures. Here we made some goat cheese, we had some dairy goats for a time, and we made feta cheese. This is a picture of one of the boys enjoying it, here is where we were canning, so we had to learn about safe canning means and what was acidic, what you can water bath, what you can pressure can… All of those things we had to learn about, so I would take pictures while we did it, and this was just part of it.
Photo Plus Written Documentation For Semester or Year Long Subjects
I would often couple it with a paper like this, or if they’re in high school, we’re doing bullet point spiral notebook, like a journal style of what their learning was. And then I would put this in my end of the year binder. Here is another example. For our art in high school, we did industrial arts. We did learning through building projects. Here, the boys are working together to build a green house, and here they made some crates for me to keep the potatoes that we harvest. Here was for a milking station for the dairy goat, so I just took pictures.
This is how it can become like a fun family scrapbook that you will come to enjoy for years and years.
I have 15 years of these. I absolutely love looking at them! I call it my photographic journal of our lifestyle of learning, and I put this in my binder. I also put their written work in, including all the other subjects. But this is a fun way to be able to document. You don’t have to get fancy. Some of you are scrapbookers, you’re much crafter than I am. This is just my way, put onto construction paper. I snap the pictures and print them from some place like Walgreens or Snap Fish or something. Then I glue them on to the page.
This is a fun way to document what you’ve done. You’re kind of bolstering your hard work up when you have a lot of learning that’s outside of the box … when you’re seizing the opportunity all around you to figure out … what do your kids really love to learn about. This is a great way to document!
I hope you found this helpful. If you did, would you share this with another mom that you think that this would benefit and… Thanks so much guys, I hope you enjoy your day!