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.
This post is linked to: Works for Me Wednesday and Thirsty Thursday.
photo from photoexpress.com
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What a great idea! I am totally going to stick a little spiral notebook in my Mom Binder to record just those little moments!
We have just started (my son is not quite 5) and I definitely think I would enjoy having a record of his entire school career.
Especially since I suck at scrapbooking, taking pictures…
Angela, that is so funny that we both wrote along the same topic and had the same ideas on why. :O) Great minds think alike! I love this kind of support! LOL It helps me keep moving forward when things get hard.
I am going to link this to my article for "further reading". 🙂
I just in the last few days returned to recording like this. With my older child we did this in the first early grades and for some reason I got away from it.
My current first grader learns so differently and on the move that it is the best way to keep track of things.
I really appreciate all the tips you provide here :O)
Kelly @ The Miller Mix says
Great ideas – and I think it can work for moms who don't homeschool, as well. I get so tired of only hearing negative comments from my son's teachers that I think I'll start a positive comment log to boost our spirits when times are tough. Thanks for the idea!
That is a great idea, to use with kids in school as well. All moms could benefit from documenting positive moments!
This reminds me of the Bible of a friend of mine. Whenever God would bless her in any way–big or small–she would write a short note about it on the inside covers of her Bible. Over time–as you can imagine–all of the blank pages became not-blank. They were filled with the story of what God had done in her life. Not only did this encourage her every time she dared to doubt God's God-ness in her life, it was also a grand and glorious testimony of the intricate plan He'd had for her all along. Pretty coo.