Freedom & Simplicity™ in High School RecordKeeping

A List-Mom asked about simplifying High School record keeping for transcript-building, and our products for such. Below is my reply.

Let me explain our Freedom and Simplicity™ recordkeeping – some of it available as “forms” now, other parts to be included in the Lifestyle Curriculum – Or Excellence without Textbooks book (that I will finish in “publishable form” sometime, when LIFE – i.e. being a wife, mom, homemaker, Bible study teacher/writer, home school teacher, …… :- ) – allows me a bit more time. In the meantime I just try to answer questions as they come, individually – locally and email, through our website, and email list.

Anyhow, what we do (and notes as to what is available NOW) – with a focus on high-school recordkeeping, moving from daily records, to long-term planning – is:

Daily Log – This is a journal form, and my preference is for my children to keep it on a daily basis. They write a paragraph of what they did that day. I want this to be in a journal (diary-type) form, not just a list. (They don’t always get it done.) : -(  Of course, you could use it any way YOU please. There is a block on the page for each day of the week. (Forms are in either of the Redeeming the Time planners – or we have some discontinued books – a year’s worth of forms, comb-bound – that we are including FREE with any order over $50, or for $5 with smaller order, while supplies last).

Tracking Sheet – This is my most helpful, at a glance form. It lets me see very quickly, just exactly what they’ve been doing. More explanation and a sample form (Word attachment) are in a recent l.e.d. email list post.

As the youth study and learn, they are creating Notebooks – their own personal “living study” of the topic. It will remain their personal reference on the topic, and can be used in the future as their own review or to teach others. These Notebooks though are not particularly for MY use in record-keeping – except in assessing how thoroughly they have covered the topic and put their information together – I use these more to assess such “classes” as Compostition, since these Notebooks contain their compositions and we don’t give further “Compostion” assignments.

Topical Journal – As they “complete” a topic (“class” if you must), they fill out a Topical Journal of it. A simplified overview. It includes a Bibliography of the resources they used (and a check list of whether they took notes/wrote a summary/discussed with parents), a Projects page (giving description, self-evaluation, and parent evaluation). They write a page of Highlights – interesting things they learned, and a Summary page – what they learned, their thoughts about it, etc. – somewhat of a short “term paper” – though not as formal. This is what I use for most of my “assessment”, in assigning a “grade” and “credits” to a Course/Topic. (Forms available – with permission to copy for the purchaser’s own children – for $3.00.)

Most of the other “high-school” documentation we do is through our High School Planning and Record Notebook – what “Lifestyle Curriculum ,,,” will cover. In a nutshell, what it contains is:

High School Graduation Requirements – how many credits in what courses and topics

Documentation Guidelines – how and where they are to document each area, any requirements for forms to use or things to include in specific notebooks.

Course Record – The forms I use to actually compile a transcript. One per course (with a note of how many credits required), divided into the Topics within that course and the basic requirements and credits for each class, the grade received. We also note “date finished” for each Topic/requirement, if appropriate. Things like “Learn the Bible in 24 Hours” (1 requirement for Bible Survey) have a definite ending date. Things like “Descriptive, Narrative, and Biographical Composition” don’t.

Topic Assessment Criteria sheet – (for appropriate Courses – such as History, Science, Health, Practical Arts) – tells what their grade will be based upon. I have a general one, for the above courses that require Topical Journals, but a few more specific ones for other courses – such as Math, PE – listing what is required to get an A, B, or C.

Learning Maps and/or Topic Record sheets – one for each Topic (division of a Course) – ex. our Bible Course (requires 4+ credits) is divided into the following topics – Bible Survery (1 credit), Bible Doctrine (1 credit), Biblical Principles, Christian Living, and Ministry (1 3/4+ credit), Personal Bible Studies (1/4+ credit.) Each of these Topics (for each course, not just Bible) has it’s own Topic Record sheet headed with the Name of the Topic, and the date the Topical Journal is done. Below that is a list of “assignments” completed, their beginning and ending dates and a place for me to initial. The first few lines (or one or *none*) list any of MY required “assignments” – if there are any books or other resources (this could be ‘other resources’ like, “talk to Grandpa about practical investing”) on the topic that I REQUIRE (noted with an ‘R’) or that I consider excellent, though not required (noted with an ‘O’ – optional). The rest of the page is filled with blank lines for them to fill in resources and projects that THEY come up with and do. These sheets were designed and in use long before I began using the Tracking Sheets, and may now be somewhat redundant. But since these sheets aren’t necessarily turned in every week, I designed the Tracking Sheets to keep me more “up to date” on their progress, and Learning Maps more as planning sheets, to give direction.

My Redeeming the Time planner has several other Education Planning and Documenting forms in addition to all the homemaking forms.

Resources written by Me and My House available here.


We’ve talked about the younger children, now let’s move onto to an idea for our older children, ie. teens.

History is truly His Story, the story of God’s creation, mankind and his development or downfall as he lives out his time on earth, and of God’s Omniscient Sovereignty over all. To give the study of HisStory any meaning to our lives we must understand God’s purpose for, redemption of or judgement upon the people, ideas, places, and events we study. Without this underlying principle, History is, at best an interesting story that has no significance to me, and at worst nothing more than boring lists of names, dates, and places to memorize. Each chapter in HisStory is the ongoing saga of Dominion from Genesis to that place; it is the record of Covenant Keepers vs. Covenant Breakers.

Stories of Peoples and Places Past are what makes History interesting and memorable. But our older kids need more than just stories. They need some sort of framework of continuity and prevailing ideas of the Times. They need the background of the chain of Dominion.

Our Book of Time [update: now called PIPEline Book of Remembrance] will help the children put events into their relational time period, but it will take deeper study to reveal prevailing ideas and attitudes of a time period. For older children, I like to introduce topics with overview resources that not only introduce the facts but also the underlying principles. (For younger children, I generally just give a quick verbal overview of the Dominion leading up to the story. It is very important for THEM to know God’s Principles, too!)

Some overview resources we’ve enjoyed are:
History through the Eyes of Faith is an excellent short overview. How Should We Then Live? is a classic Christian Worldview of History. The tape series, What in the World’s Going on Here? is a narrative overview of history.

The overviews by themselves are NOT the study though. From there your child will go to the narratives and literature that bring HisStory alive. As your child documents these studies through Notebook Journaling he will gain a good understanding of God’s purpose in HisStory, and through that a greater understanding to the purpose of his own life as a part of God’s Story.

For complete instruction in how to conduct History studies with your children order our:
L.E.D. Lifestyle Curriculum Guide – Freedom and Simplicity in HisStory
For a timeline Document of your child’s HisStory study order our:
PIPEline Book of Remembrance.

[Other HisStory resources by us and much more recommended by us]