Anecdotal records are simply notes taken on something that happens. They are meant to be objective, with no interpreting. They are most often used in schools to form a plan of action. No opinions or subjective language allowed. It is a narrative describing an event just as it happened. Here’s one I could have written today:
Chloe and Sophia put on a play about Noah’s Ark today during free time. Chloe set up a folding table on its side and Sophia, acting as Noah, went under it, pretending to get inside the ark. Chloe, on a microphone, read the scriptures in the Bible as God speaking.
You may be required to keep anecdotal records if your child is on a specialized education plan. If that’s the case, you’ll want to follow traditional guidelines. Otherwise, enjoy the freedom homeschool brings and tweak the guidelines a bit to fit your own homeschooling style.
For instance, if I recorded the incident above, it would look more like this:
Chloe and Sophie had free time today and they decided on their own to put on a play about Noah and the ark. Sophia played Noah, and even remembered all her lines! Chloe played God and did a deep voice on the microphone. Frankie (our dog) even got in on the action, getting in the “ark” (a folding table on its side). I was thrilled that the girls had remembered all the aspects of the story we’d been reading. It was especially cool that they thought of doing this on their own, it wasn’t some assignment I gave them.
See, I’m not so worried about being objective here. I can think of a few more things I’d like to record as years go by. Why not write records that support your educational philosophy? For example, if developing a love of learning is high on your priority list, you can begin jotting down instances when your child especially enjoys an assignment or project.
If you want your child to think for themselves, you could record decisions they made on their own, or instances when they figured something out without help.
Maybe there are character issues your child is struggling with. Take a moment to write a couple sentences when she makes a positive choice or shows growth in a certain area.
As long as we’re tweaking these records to fit our homeschool life, I tend to make them positive. Here’s why:
• When a hard day comes, and you find yourself doubting homeschool, you can pull out your notebook and be encouraged.
• On the same note, when you feel frustrated with your child’s behavior and your own seeming lack of progress in an area, it can really help to be reminded of little victories.
• Referring back to your mission often will keep your educational philosophy and mission statement fresh in mind.
• Your husband can browse through it and be a part of the day-to-day happenings of school.
• It will someday be a great keepsake filled with positive memories.
Do you keep anecdotal records or are you considering giving them a try?
Angela tries a little bit of everything as she homeschools her two girls and is finding that she’s not as smart as she thought. You can catch her blogging at Angela Mills.
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