How much work should be produced?

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  • Jonessa16

    Hi everyone!

    I am currently homeschooling my 7 year old (just finishing grade one), with my 4 year old tagging along. 🙂 We have been using FIAR for the past two years and have really enjoyed it. Now we are looking at doing the SCM Keep It Simple curriculum (at least, using that as a framework), but I’m wondering about one thing: it seems like there is not much physical “work” produced. So much is reading, narration, a bit of copywork and dictation, nature journaling… is that it? With FIAR this year, we did some notebooking – for example, colouring maps, drawing pictures with short written captions, animal life cycles, and then scripture verses and poetry for copywork. Is there more of that kind of work with Keep It Simple? I guess what I’m wondering is, at the end of the year, how much physical proof will there be of all the learning we’ve done? And is that even important?

    As far as notebooking, which we also have loved: does anybody have resources to share that go along nicely with the SCM guides?

    Thanks so much!!


    For the first few years of homeschooling, there isn’t necessarily much physical work in terms of written work, but remember that they are still building up those fine motor skills and the muscles required to do those things.  A “little bit” of copywork at a time is all of the writing they can usually handle, and it builds up over time.

    Painting, drawing, tracing things in sand, cutting and gluing things, sorting things into drawers, cubbies, or muffin tins are all helpful activities for not just fine motor skills, but math, science, language arts, etc.  For example, you wouldn’t expect a written narration from a 7-year old until they can write well enough, but you don’t just have to rely on oral narrations.  They can draw something for narration.

    If you are concerned about having enough to show a portfolio reviewer at the end of the school year (if that’s what you need in your state), save those works of art and label them as “science” or “history narration” or whatever would apply.  Also, if your child is sorting buttons into a muffin tin to show different ways to show the number 5 (2 buttons + 3 buttons, 4 buttons + 1 button, etc.), then take a picture of it. Tracing letters in sand on a baking sheet?  Take a picture of it.

    I have kept book lists and activity lists for years to include in a portfolio of samples of the year’s work.  And remember, you are probably keeping just a few quality samples for each subject that demonstrate your child’s progress over the year. You’ll be surprised at how much “evidence” of academic progress you accumulate each year.


    Thank you, Sue, that’s very helpful!


    My kiddos didn’t have much in their portfolios for the first few years of homeschooling.  I took lots of pictures and included art projects. Other than that, it was a bit of math, tracing letters, etc.

    We live in Florida and our evaluator was always fine with it. She was always impressed with our long book lists. 🙂

    Barbara Durland

    I struggle with this as well…trying to CM teach our 6 year old son (who learns best while on the go and spread throughout the day). In the fall we will need to meet our state requirement of 4 hours a day…I am just not sure how I will document that he is meeting this requirement. At this time, he doesn’t like to draw or write at all, except at Classical Conversations and his one-day-week public home school program. The CM organizer has helped me a lot to see how much we accomplish each day.


    I have a question on that subject. I started homeschooling my daughter in January after removing her from public school we are new to this. I have looked up NC state laws about homeschool but I just want to make sure I’m not mistaken. Is there any required proof of work to be kept on file for NC? Is anyone from here and know for sure?

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