Record Keeping / Planners - Ideas to use with MFW

Art, Foreign Language, Music, Nature Walks, as well as general ideas and encouragement
Posts: 65
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Re: Whoa and do you keep complete workbooks?

Unread post by Lainie »

Hi Julie!!! Oh, I never thought to keep the index so I could know exactly what things are covered. See you are such a help to me :) That is easy and makes so much sense instead of the whole book. I think I'll photocopy the index of the Textbook and put them together. Thank you so much. Big Hug

Well hey crystal... The workbooks I was coming across belonged to our youngest so I can't imagine any use for them besides paper airplanes :) origami? next year's Christmas cards? wrapping paper? Uh-oh, I've slipped off the deep end. It must be fatigue. Shhhhh.... listen.... It's a nap calling me.
Lainie (Oregon)
"Sanctify them in truth; Thy word is truth" John 17:17

Have completed 1st, entire 5 year cycle, and all high school! Whoo hoo!
Have graduated one with MFW, 1 dd- junior, and 1ds- freshmen
Jenn in NC
Posts: 144
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Re: Whoa and do you keep complete workbooks?

Unread post by Jenn in NC »

cbollin wrote:where to put workbooks like Singapore? On a shelf near the computer and then you can others when they are stuck?
I can testify from recent experience that this is a very helpful option. :)

And I do think HSLDA recommends keeping at least some through-the-year samples of your children's work, even if you don't have to turn it in.
mommy to four boys & two girls... and another boy on the way :)
completed K, 1st, ADV, ECC, CTG and RTR
2009--2010 Enjoying Exploration to 1850
Posts: 159
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Homeschool Tracker

Unread post by HSmommi2mine »

baileymom wrote:Does anyone use this, and if so, how long does it take to "input" everything?

My DH downloaded this for me a few months ago when the TM grid just looked like Greek by the end of the week (checked off, crossed out, written on...). I do not have to turn in any kind of records for AR, but being a military family and moving every few years, I don't imagine that will always be the case. I'm thinking I need a record keeping system ASAP, so it just becomes part of my day before it has to.

BTW...I'm much better with just old fashioned pencil and paper, and I have thought about just going to a teacher supply website and buying a plan book. Does anyone have any recommendations for that? I'm thinking that would be the fastest way for me. Or should I just bite the bullet and get with the times :)
I make photo copies of the weekly grids and then I color code them so each day has a color. This allows me to easily rearrange a few things in the week. Then I scribble and write notes to my hearts content! I figure I will be doing things differently the next time I use this TM since my kids will be older and I want the originals clean.

If I could download the MFW plans straight into HST I might use it but I hate data entry and there is no way I am putting all of that in!

Wife to my favorite guy
Mom to 3 great kids
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Re: Homeschool Tracker

Unread post by hsmomof5 »

I have it and used it for 3 years until last year.

I just found the old fashioned paper and pen method works best for us but it's a great software.
ds 19 (college freshman), ds 12, ds 12, and ds 10 (ECC '08) (CTG '09), dd 3 (Preschool)
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Re: Homeschool Tracker

Unread post by my3sons »

This past year (our first with MFW), we used pen and paper. We used the The Homeschool Planbook, Elementary Edition, by Sarah Crain and really liked it. CBD . com has it featured with multiple views if you want to look at it. I really liked it, and thought about buying one for this year. However, for this year I think I am going to try photocopying the grids out of the TM and using that for our planbook.... less writing!

I purchased Edu-Track a couple of years ago, but did not stick with having to put all the information into the computer. It was faster and easier to write it for me.
Mom to all boys, ages 15, 13, 11, 5 and 1

2014-2015 - ECC
Previously completed K - 1850 to Modern Times
RJ's Momma
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Re: Homeschool Tracker

Unread post by RJ's Momma »

I made up a similar grid to the one in the TM, on my computer and print it out. I fill in each day what we are doing. I can't copy the MFW grid because I sell the TM each year (we only have one child, so I won't be using them again), but I like the grid so I made my own. Mine are a bit different as we do things in a different order or use different materials for some things, I don't put near the amount of info, and I already have some thing pre-written. Like on the Bible boxes I pre-typed 'Bible Verse' so I don't have to write that each day, I just insert the Bible verse.

If you are keeping the TM then you can print them off, I wanted to make sure I am not going against their copyright, so I did things this way. Plus mine is much more customized for what we do.

I also looked at Homeschool Tracker, but didn't want to go through that much work, and I do prefer to work on paper than on the computer:)

Wife to dh 12 years, Momma to 'RJ' 10 years old
CtG - July 2009 (5th grade) ECC-4th grade Adventures-3rd grade
Used ABeka for 1st and 2nd grade MFW-K
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Re: Homeschool Tracker

Unread post by Pylegang »

I'm new here and haven't actually started using MFW . . . yet! I should get all of my books by the end of the week. Yeah!

I have used a pen and paper system that works well for me, and I plan to continue using it with MFW. I just make myself a weekly blank grid that lists all of the subjects down the left side and the days of the week along the top. I keep the spreadsheet handy each day and pencil in what we actually accomplish. This grid becomes my record of what we DO, not what we plan to do.
Homeschooling classically since 2000--DS grade 6 and DS grade 4.

LA in Baltimore
Posts: 120
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Re: Homeschool Tracker

Unread post by LA in Baltimore »

I've been using paper and pencil for 11 years now.
I have it right with me while I'm teaching and can make any changes/additions/deletions as we go along. I always write in pencil, so I can adjust without having cross-outs or white-out all over the place. Learned that the hard way. ;) I find it much easier to log as I go rather than wait and think I am going to get to it later!

I keep one book for my high schooler and a separate one for my other 3.
I do something very similar to what was already mentioned. I create a computer sheet similar to MFW, but leave enough space to put in 3 math assignments and any other things they may be working on separately and need a little extra room for. Then, once a week (usually Thursdays), I write in the next week of MFW as well as any other things going on. It takes about 30 minutes each week. I really like having all of my plans on one sheet, so this works best for me. Obviously, I don't write out as much detail as the TM. I just keep it in a page protector inside the TM. For example, anytime there are notes I just write (sn) for see notes. The TM is right there to refer back to.

My high schooler will be using AHL next year, so I will probably just copy the weekly schedule so we can add it to his portfolio at the end of the year. I don't plan on selling the course when we are done, so copying it won't be a problem.
I am using Transcript Pro to create a transcript for him.
I grade his assignments as we go over them, so it is not hard to calculate a grade for each subject at the end of the year. I plug the final grades into the program and it handles the rest.
Posts: 12
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Re: Homeschool Tracker

Unread post by Keer »

I am a Homeschool Tracker addict. :-)

That said, for MFW, what I found easiest for the elementary years anyway (so no transcript worries), was to just say "MFW Week 19 Day 3" or something to that effect. I tried entering all the different resources onto particular days and such, and it just ended up crazy. I may end up doing that in the long run, but for right now, this is working the best. I made copies of each grid sheet, and I just mark off the things as I complete them.
teaching ds (10th), ds (8th), dd (7th), ds (4th), dd (3rd), and dd (K)
keeping ds (3yo) and dd (1yo) out of trouble
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Re: Homeschool Tracker

Unread post by Keer »

TriciaMR wrote:I use HST+, and I do like Kirstin - Week xx, Day y and in the Notes section I say "See T.M." It's pretty easy to do a whole year L.P. that way. I do it because we have to track hours and days in our state. Otherwise, I probably wouldn't bother.


(Trish and I live in the same town hee hee hee)
teaching ds (10th), ds (8th), dd (7th), ds (4th), dd (3rd), and dd (K)
keeping ds (3yo) and dd (1yo) out of trouble
Posts: 78
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Location: AR

Ward Teacher's Lesson Plan and Assignment Book

Unread post by momtogc »

Sorry - late chiming in because I'm sort of new to the board and reading back through older posts. Like you, I also prefer pen and paper. For me, it's faster and easier than making a trip to the computer.

"Ward Teacher's Lesson Plan and Assignment Book" has worked great for us. I use it as more of a record keeping tool than a lesson planner. I keep it right on the table with me, and as we are doing our schoolwork I can enter information while dd is completing a task on her own. Or I can wait until all work is done for the day and enter everything at once, which takes just a few mintues.

It seems like there were a variety of styles to choose from but this particular one has a two-page lay out for each week with eight columns and five rows. There is a place to write in the subject name at the top of each column (I group all language arts together, and art with music). Down the left side the days are listed (Mon-Fri). Each block is large enough to fill in all the assignments that have been completed for the day. I always draw a line at the bottom third of Friday so I have room to write in church activities, work completed, or books read over the weekend.

This is the third year that I've used Ward's books and have found them to be very functional. At the beginning of the book there is a one-year calendar, a page for subject descriptions that I use to write in what we used during the year and another page where you can write in school events for the year. It's probably designed with ps teachers in mind but it's worked just great for homeschool. They are available at teacher supply stores and they can probably be found at office supply stores as well. The price is reasonable - maybe $5 or $6.

Oh, by the way, my dh was in the military when I first started using these. Dd was K at the time and we did have to keep records in the state where we were living. Now dh is retired and we don't have to do reporting/record keeping (we are also in AR) but I still keep these records. I just find it helps me to have it and I love being able to go back through the planner at the end of the year and read over all the things dd accomplished.

I hope this helps in some way.
Mom to Gabi, a fun-loving and happy girl!
MFW 1st, Adventures, ECC, CTG, RTR, Exp-1850
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grids in the TM

Unread post by my3sons »

RachelT wrote:I have used MFW K, 1st, and Adventures. In K and 1st gr. I actually used a different lesson planning book to combine what I was doing with both of my children each day. Then, last year in Adventures, I wrote all over the grids in the TM and made notes in the lesson plans because I knew I would only be using it that year. Now, I am getting ready to begin ECC and I know that in a few years we are supposed to come back to it again after going through the whole history cycle. I bought the new, 2nd edition, so I am thinking that it is unlikely that it will be revised or reprinted again before we do it a 2nd time, although I don't really know for sure.

So, my question is, how do you use the TM grids in ECC if you know you will be coming back to it again? Do you write on it anyway? Do you copy it and put the copies in another notebook and use that to write on for lesson planning the first time so that you can come back to a blank TM the 2nd time? What have some of you done? In my family we will repeat ECC, CtG, and RtR in later years before my kids go into High School. Do some of you just buy another TM that year so you have a fresh one? I don't mind doing that. I'm just someone who writes out lots of things and it helps me to have somewhere to "check off" those lists and keep track of everything. I know I could do it on a computer spreadsheet, but it is nice when it's already written out for me, however, I am not really keen on copying all of those grids...

Any ideas? I'm getting the "itch" to start writing some things down! :)
We are doing K and ECC this year. I copied the grids and made my own TM. I have a 3 ring binder that has the copied grids (note that if you copy them, you are not allowed by copyright to re-sell the TM). I also put in my binder grids for the K lessons that are adapted from the K TM, the ECC maps they gave us that are not scheduled but handy just in case, the worksheets I copied from Trip Around the World, and notebook paper. I like it because I can write on the grids and keep my official ECC manual clean for later re-use. I also have all the extras I need in one convenient place.
Mom to all boys, ages 15, 13, 11, 5 and 1

2014-2015 - ECC
Previously completed K - 1850 to Modern Times

Re: grids in the TM

Unread post by cbollin »

RachelT wrote: Do some of you just buy another TM that year so you have a fresh one? I don't mind doing that.
That's what I ended up doing. The first time I did ECC, CTG, I didn't think about 5 years down the road. I just wrote in the things and went from there. now I have 2 ctg manual for this year and one is in good shape and used for "this year" and the other is in not good shape and can be used by my 8th grader to stay ahead of us. or stay on track.

lots of good options :)

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Re: grids in the TM

Unread post by mgardenh »

I write in pencil in my TM. And when younger dd does the program I can erase or write next to olders!
DH to Laurel
SAHD (mostly) to
Julia - 10 years old, Explorations to 1850
Alexis-7 years old, Explorations to1850 see her story at
Have used MFW, k, 1st, Adventures, and ECC, CTG, RtR
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Re: grids in the TM

Unread post by LSH in MS »

With CTG and RTR i wrote all over it. I didn't plan ahead. I will be buying a new teacher's manual for those years. With Ex1850 I copied the pages but I didn't end up using them like I thought I would. So this year I am not going to copy the grids. I decided to put all of the boys' individual assignments for Math and Language arts in Homeschool tracker (free version) and print out their assignments each week.

wife to Clifford, mother to ds (17), ds (16), ds (15, ds (13), ds (8), and ds (3)
MFW user for 10 years
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Re: grids in the TM

Unread post by 4Truth »

For things like additional book and video titles that I discover along the way that aren't already listed in the TM, teaching notes to myself, etc. I write in pen so that it's there for when I come across it again. But for things like dates and times on the grid itself, I write in pencil.

Then what I do for each child's lesson plans for math, LA and other individual subjects, I photocopy the grid x3 and 3-hole punch the copies to put at the front of each child's 3-ring binder that we make for our notebooking. That way, I've got an account of each child's work and time invested (we have to count hours here), and it's right there with their "portfolio" that our state requires (for which the MFW notebooking works beautifully!)

P.S. Just adding that I don't plan to ever sell my MFW TMs. They're *ours*. I've still got one to go all the way through elementary, and by the time she's through, the older two may be married and have kids of their own to pass them on to. Of course, some of the years may be revised by then, but we'll deal with that if and when we come to it.

Plus, I figure these are tools we can use in a teaching or discipling ministry somewhere down the road, too! Oh wait, our children ARE our teaching and discipling ministry.... right now. But there will be others along the way in life.
Donna, with two MFW graduates and the "baby" in 11th grade! %| Using MFW since 2004.
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Re: grids in the TM

Unread post by HSmommi2mine »

I copy the grids. On the copied grids I note anything I am changing for subjects covered by MFW. I don't fill in LA and Math on the MFW grid because there isn't enough space. I use a second very generic plan she for that. I did this yesterday so I will tell you about it.

My students are older so they have weekly notebooks with dividers for each day and most of their work behind each daily divider. I took a huge binder and put in all of my copied plan grids behind each weekly grid is the blank planning grid for my non-MFW subjects, all of the student pages for that week, and (since ds is in Jr. High now) the pages for his lit guide that will be needed that week. This year we are also doing the state report so that guide has also been hole-punched and inserted behind the proper grid.

Each week I take out the stack of lesson plans and student sheets for that week and put them into his weekly binder.

I wanted to add that these aren't really my lesson sheets. Anything I want to note (a movie to get or whatever) I put on a post-it note because these copied grids are for my son. This is his assignment sheet.

I can't ever sell the teacher's guide because I copied the grids but I don't care.

Wife to my favorite guy
Mom to 3 great kids
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Re: grids in the TM

Unread post by AudMama »

We're starting week 5 of CtG on Monday, and I've been copying the grid. On the other side I print a homemade grid for individual subjects. I make notes and highlight when we're finished. I'm going to keep them for the next cycle.
dd11, ds9, ds8, ds4, ds2
Currently using Rome to the Reformation & Kindergarten.
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Location: Alaska

Re: grids in the TM

Unread post by bunnytracks »

I just wrote my notes on a piece of paper and stuck it in the TM. You could also buy a planner and write your notes there or even make a grid on excel and use it only for notes.

One thing I have thought of but never tried was using a sheet protector (sliced dow the side to slide it on) and then making notes with a dry erase marker.
Proud wife 14 years to my Air Force man.
Homeschooling mom of 5 (4 boys and 1 girl)
I have used MFW ADV, ECC, and K
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Re: grids in the TM

Unread post by doubleportion »

Lots of input already here, so don't know if my two cents will be of any use. I copied all of the grids and put three hole punches through them. I put them in a three pronged folder with the Teachers supplements in the pockets. I went through and whited-out all of the advanced stuff that doesn't apply (or like in the math drill covered over division and mulitplication and wrote in addition and subtraction for my dd). I am very visual and like to check off the boxes etc. This just helped me not to get bogged down in the extras that we wouldn't be doing for my 3rd grader. This will help me keep my TM clean for future reuse with the younger ones and any other future ones that only the Lord knows about right now. :-)

Happily enjoying week 6 of ECC.

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Re: grids in the TM

Unread post by RachelT »

You gals are funny! ;) I don't plan on selling my TM either, that is why I wondered how to use it twice! I used planners before last year in Adv. but writing in the TM saved time! I liked having the grid pre-made for me. Edie, I like your idea of whiting out the things that you won't need to do the first time in ECC. Great idea!

I guess I will either write all over my TM pages, or make copies of just the grids to write on. Now I am trying to decide if I should try a daily checklist or the workbox idea for our schoolwork this year... Decisions, decisions! Thanks for the replies!

Rachel :)
Rachel, wife to Doug ~ 1995, mom to J (17) and B (15)
MFW K (twice), 1st (twice), Adv., ECC, & CtG 2006-2010,
Classical Conversations 2010-2016,
ECC/AHL 2016-17, eclectic 2017-18, WHL & US1 2018-19
Julie in MN
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Location: Minnesota

Records for the year-MN

Unread post by Julie in MN »

lisaha wrote:What do you do for records in MN?
My understanding (not a legal authority here!) is that we must be prepared to give evidence of what we are teaching. So if I have the materials on hand, I can just show them what I taught. The MFW teacher manual shows almost everything -- and more clearly than all the complicated planners I used to use.

In addition, if I throw away a workbook, I usually rip out the table of contents & a lesson or two (keeping the MFW schedule for Singapore made that even easier). As for books & other materials we use for a shorter time or don't keep, the MFW manuals give a list of core books & library books, so it's a pretty good indicator of what was used. On occasion I copied the cover of a CD or stapled together my library slips -- I always try to make it as easy as possible. I take a few photos on a field trip or keep the brochure. I print out the co-op schedule. I slide all of these things into a page protector in my child's "general" notebook.

I have kept records of additional books in different ways -- list books read underneath my MFW grid, write them in the book basket box, staple a list to my grid, or copy the grid & write on the back.

I would not wear yourself out keeping records. Of course, there's always the chance that some particular administrator will be anti-homeschooling & start demanding stuff, so I do keep some things as I mentioned. But I think the simple things I have would be very impressive!
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs
LA in Baltimore
Posts: 120
Joined: Wed Sep 24, 2008 7:01 pm

Re: Records for the year-MN

Unread post by LA in Baltimore »

General FYI...
Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) has been a blessing to our family.
We've homeschooled in 3 states so far and have found them very helpful in guiding us with what the HAVE TO DOs were in each state. You'd be amazed how many times you add an extra burden to your already full schedule thinking you MUST be doing something/logging something/etc.
Just my 2 cents!
Only by His grace,
LA in Baltimore
Currently enjoying Rome to the Reformation
Graduated oldest May 2010, Three more to go!

lesson plan book??

Unread post by cbollin »

erin.kate wrote:I don't really have a "lesson book" so-to-speak. I have one of those little 5x7 spiral bound high-schooly calendars from Target where I can write down the day's rough outline. I write something like:

Friday, February 11
MFW day 82
Phonics: review summarizing
HW Reason p 23
FLL lesson 12
Math: Sing exc x-x & calculadder xx
Art: family tree MFW
Nature: illustrate chap 3 Pagoo
Lit: Aesop's Fables: narrate two fables

So, I've discovered that our state has a pretty thorough assessment annually, which will be okay (breathe), and in talking with the woman who handles many of them, she stated that I need to submit copies of my lesson book. Uh oh. It sounds like I need to pretty up my lesson plan book ... can anyone recommend one that they love and find really useful and worthwhile? Something that feels more formal than my attempts? :-)
Thank you!
Erin Kate
Sounds fine to me with what you are doing so far. Does the person doing the assessment ask for a specific format, or is your notebook ok for her?

Then, as you get into ADV and beyond that, I think the permissions in the mfw manual permit copying of the "grid" for those purposes.
erin.kate wrote:I think that she was trying to scare me a bit. It felt like, "Oh, that's all you have to show. Weeeeell, submit what you have and we'll look it over." I don't know. She even told me I could go back and re-create the last 18 weeks in a lesson planner. hahahahahaha.

I think they want to see lessons written out for each subject for two days for each of the four quarters ... my first problem really is that we don't school around "quarters". So, I'm thinking that I should start keeping a more detailed lesson plan book for the remainder of this school year. We are moving back to California in the fall so this will be the only year I'll need to jump through this particular hoop (I think).
Perhaps during the assessment you can bring along the MFW 1st grade manual and say, this is what we did on a day to day plan, so when the abbreviated notes say "day 83"... look at what that means :) and that you plan to keep the unabridged records on file but will not copy all of it for your records to help you not to be overwhelmed with burdensome paperwork. (see if that doesn't get a giggle out of her)

I'm sorry you have hoops like this to go through. (((hugs)))

just go in with confidence and a few educator terms to toss their way. I've had to face a lot with having special needs children and the therapist just want to make sure I'm really teaching. I show up with the manuals and stuff and they totally chill out.
erin.kate wrote:Sadly, I mail in our portfolio. Ridiculous. I wish I could just sit and talk with the evaluator, offer her/him some coffee, and let her/him look through all of our work and our school space. sigh.
oops, I forgot to mention all of that. Here are some online ideas
and check office supply stores too.

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Re: lesson plan book??

Unread post by TriciaMR »

Home Educating Family Magazine has some really nice planners. In fact, I'm thinking of getting their student one for my dd next year to start to encourage her towards a little more independence (just tracking how much time she is spending on things). I think they do both a printed and bound one, and then a PDF one you can download and just print the pages you want/need.

I keep track of everything in Homeschool Tracker Plus, but it's a lot of work to type it all in. But that's the computer-geek in me.

Also, The Old Schoolhouse magazine has a really thorough planner. I *think* you can order it printed and bound, or download a PDF and just print the pages you want., but I'm not sure. (I got one last year because I subscribed to the magazine, and the PDF version you could type in and then print out.)

Trish - Wife to Phil, Mom to Toni(18), Charlie(14), and Trent(14)
2014-2015 - AHL, CTG
2015-2016 - WHL, RTR
2016-2017 - EXP1850, US1877
2017-2018 - DE, 1850MOD
2018-2019 - College, AHL
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