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OneThoughtMayHideAnother

How do you record and share memories from your homeschool?

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I'm having a really great time homeschooling, and I'm starting to feel a personal need to keep better track of the whole adventure. I would like a record that I could fondly look back on. For example, I wish I had a list of books that my son has read, including his thoughts on his favorites (he's only 5, so he doesn't write reports yet.) I would also like to record  things like how my approach to teaching him Chinese is evolving. It's a very data-driven, very fun process for me, so I would like a place where I could write it all down. It's fascinating to see how my child's stamina and comprehension grow. Then, I'd also like a place where I could paste things like videos of my 2 year old singing the ABC song or reading his first words. And I would like to be able to share all of this record with family across the world.

I have a friend who does a fantastic job chronicling her homeschooling life on Facebook. She posts pictures of her two boys and her daily thoughts on how the whole education thing is going. And this is the sort of thing I'd like to do, but the problem is that I really, really don't want to rely on Facebook (for many reasons, but primarily because I don't trust them with my most personal data).

And my problem is not just with Facebook. I don't want my family record to be owned by and at the mercy of any corporation. I'm looking for an open source solution that gives me maximum control.

So, what are the alternatives? Should I look into starting a blog with WordPress.org? Seems like an overkill, especially if I have to pay for privacy protection. I do like the idea of a blog, though, even though this is primarily for personal use. Still, I would appreciate being able to share some of the less personal, more technical stuff with other homeschooling parents. I wouldn't want to publish anything personal, like photos of my kids, on the internet, though, unless I have a mechanism to restrict viewership of photos and videos to family only. Facebook makes it easy.

So, are there any good alternatives to Facebook/Google/etc? (If there are no good alternatives, I'd be open to hearing why Facebook is not that bad, after all.) I am considering setting up a TiddlyWiki, but I don't love the look. But perhaps a TiddlyWiki for personal stuff and a blog for public posts? Or maybe I should do the public stuff on Facebook, since it's public anyway, and find a separate solution for personal posts, pictures and videos? What would be a good medium for such personal record?

What does everyone here do?

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Post on here? Seriously, that is about all I have ever done until recently (and I have been homeschooling for 25 yrs, so I probably have multiple books' worth of posts on these forums just since the 2008 rollover. 🙂)

Lots of people blog, so spend some time searching and reading homeschool blogs. That might be something that appeals to you. 

I don't do FB. Not something that appeals to me at all. 

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You certainly could make a blog and restrict the content to members only. That is, only the people you allow can even view the blog. I have no idea how tech oriented you are so if you aren't very good with technology, it could be a steep learning curve but it is certainly possible. It will likely cost you a little bit of money to make a private website but it wouldn't be extremely expensive if you can learn to use Wordpress on a hosted site, not on Wordpress.com. You have more control over a Wordpress install on a separate hosting service (Wordpress.org is dedicated to these types of sites) than you do on a website hosted through Wordpress.com.

Another thought would be to keep notes for yourself and make a family newsletter on whatever schedule works for you (weekly, monthly, bi-monthly, each semester...). You could email the newsletter to friends and family or snail mail it or put the newsletters on a file sharing site like Dropbox or Google Drive for friends and family to download when they want. You would have a great deal of control over who gets the newsletter this way and you could get really fun and creative with it if that's your thing.

I tried quite a few different ways to document our experiences. I found the best way for me personally was through a combination of journaling and scrapbooking. I'm not really interested in sharing with family and friends unless they ask, so letting them look through our scrapbooks when they visit or talking on the phone or through email is plenty for us.

Like 8FilltheHeart, we don't do Facebook and for pretty much the same reason.

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I do two things:

1) I keep a blog and I have been blogging regularly about school (every two weeks or every month) since my oldest was in 1st grade. It's set to private and only invited readers can see it, so it's mostly for me.

2) I keep a document for each year that lists my plans for each kid, what actually happened, what changes we made, and sometimes lists of books they read, etc.

It might not be for everyone, but it works for me, and I love reading through my very old blog posts, especially about all the fun things we did in elementary school.

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I keep a google doc that has a weekly journal entry looking back on the week.  Occasionally, I will paste in a photo, but pretty rare.  

A friend and I started this because we were simultaneously afraid that posting our children's successes on our public family blogs seemed like bragging, and posting their difficulties sounded like an invitation for people to try to talk us out of homeschooling.  So we created google docs and only share them with the tiny handful of people that understand their purpose.  

 

Having blogged, handwritten records, and typed records, I can only say:  keep it simple.  If you are juggling between what should be public, what should be private, which post to which blog/document/social media, etc... then you won't be able to keep it up.  Think long-term.  The only person these records really need to be for is you and your kids and spouse.  What sort of document would you enjoy perusing when you are 80?  😀   

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17 hours ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

Post on here? Seriously, that is about all I have ever done until recently (and I have been homeschooling for 25 yrs, so I probably have multiple books' worth of posts on these forums just since the 2008 rollover. 🙂)

Lots of people blog, so spend some time searching and reading homeschool blogs. That might be something that appeals to you. 

I don't do FB. Not something that appeals to me at all. 

 

And if you ever change your mind, I beg you to friend me immediately!! ❤️

OP, I used to blog, but I ended up with people stalking my family (seriously), going so far as to hack our computer. It became an absolute nightmare for our family, so my only caution would be to ensure that, unless you want to open your life/parenting up to public criticism/scrutiny, make your blog private. We were living aboard our sailboat and sailing with my older son when he was a baby at the time, and people saw fit to comment about our lifestyle/parenting choices. A similar thing happened to friends of ours and sadly, they ended up on the front page of the NYT and were vilified by the media. It was awful. Anyway, that's my cautionary tale about blogging.

I stick to FB, but most of my posts are private. I do post things (from FB) here that I don't mind sharing, and those I set to public (I may reset them to private later when the kids get older). The other thing you may want to consider -- and this is something I think about regularly -- how might your son feel in the future about his development being shared for public consumption? Again, this is something with which I too struggle, and another reason why I mostly just post here and in private posts on FB. Good luck with your decision!    

Edited by SeaConquest
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I keep a detailed planning list for each kid, which is what I use when purchasing for the school year. At the END of the school year, I go back and edit what we ACTUALLY did/used.

On our weekly checklists, I have space for the kids to write in what they've read "for school". I have to write this in for those who cant. Then at the end of the school year, I go back record those books on the same document I have the curriculum on.

THEN I go back and look at our family pictures and extract those that show something school related. I put those in the document and try to match a date and a short description to each one.

Then I print all that, select some sample school work from throughout the year, then get it comb bound.

I usually do this over the summer, but I love doing things like this so I find it fun.

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I take pictures, print them off my printer, paste them to a lined paper. Whatever lines are left, I just let the children write in their own words what we did, laminate it all together, and stick it into a three ring binder for each school year. Usually it is Science and History projects, but I also put in some math, art, reading pictures in there just to remember their school year. Then at the end of the year, I take a photo of them with their finished workbooks, toss the work books, and put the photo at the end of the binder. (The beginning of the binder with everything brand new is in the front) 

But I have a photo-capable printer. I get the photo paper as a 4x6 glossy 300 ct from Costco for $14 (includes shipping). It does take up some space, but the little ones love flipping through their photo book, and showing them off. 

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We have used book making places like shutterfly each year to make our own yearbooks. We put together pictures of fun events, us doing projects and fieldtrips, time with friends and even family vacations along with pages that contain favorite work samples. They are beautiful and can go on the box shelf with a title and year.

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I began homeschooling before Facebook was a big deal, or even computers for that matter, so keep that in mind.  🙂  I kept a big fat notebook (in a 3-ring binder) each school year for each child with favorite projects and assignments that each child did.  It included art projects, essays they wrote, photos of them, book reports, science experiments, other interesting assignments they did, some uninteresting assignments they did -- like spelling tests, and many other random things (homeschool related).

Apart from that, I also have a big plastic container with other things they did -- much of it non-homeschool related but some of it school related (things that didn't fit in the notebook!).  For example, journals they kept when we were traveling, newsletters they made, letters to the Tooth Fairy, and many, many pictures they drew.  (And more.)  The plastic containers are big enough that I have their homeschool notebooks in there too.

Oh, for several years, I also had them each keep a daily diary.  They could write anything they wanted in it, even if it was just a sentence.  That was part of our group time at the start of each day.  Those went in the plastic containers too.

Of course once they got into high school, I made high school transcripts which list every book read, etc.  The transcripts are in their own special "high school" notebook (one for each child), also in that plastic container.  🙂

Honestly I'm not sure what I would have done differently.  I'm more of a private person so probably wouldn't have started a blog.  It wasn't important for me to share things with others.  

But those plastic containers hold a lot of fun stuff.  I think we'll enjoy looking back at them someday.

Edited by J-rap
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Not sure if this would be helpful, but I'll throw it out there.

I use the Dario app to capture life's little moments. It is basically a journalling app where you can have different journals. So you can have a homeschool journal and make a little journal entry attaching media to it as you see fit. You can also share that journal with others but otherwise, it is private.

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My dd had to do a portfolio for her graduation requirements and she used an online tool called wix. It was easy to use and had a nice look to it. You can share a link with whomever you would like. There are a lot of other online portfolio makers you could try as well.

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