I love documentation. I have always loved keeping journals about my experiences. I love making photographs of my experiences as well as video.
This love of documentation grew into a career in Photography and Filmmaking documenting the lives of families, initially, it started as a way to document the special happy moments, and evolved into a documentation of life experience including all experiences. I became a documentary photographer documenting real life. This was a huge love of mine, I found great joy in documenting families lives. Especially when they could see the moments documented that seemed so mundane that they realised were just as special as the weddings, birth etc. Although I don't document professionally anymore I do document my personal life and encourage families to find ways to document their own lives in a way that feels good to them. I thought it would be helpful to share some ideas with you.
I ultimately see home education as Education for Life
So I don't separate "learning" with home life and learning at school for example. Learning is ultimately learning in whatever form this takes, wherever this happens, and how it happens.
The great thing about documentation is that you can get creative with it. When I write things down or make pictures it all just comes together, like " this is our life." There is no separation.
Documenting for home education
Keeping a Journal - I keep a journal that I write in usually once per week, I write in there what kinds of things we have been up to, things I have noticed, what my son is enjoying, questions and interests he has had, books he's enjoying or play he has been exploring. I also write where we have been, what friends we have spent time with, and what groups or adventures we had.
Making pictures and film clips - Is a great way to document life as and when it happens. This could be combined into a video, slideshow, or book at the end of each year.
Encouraging your child to keep a journal - When your child can write they might want to spend time documenting things they find of interest.
Nature Journals - Nature exploration is a wonderful way for children to be outside in the natural world, and year upon year my love and knowledge of nature grows as does my sons. You can explore it in a way however you like, it could be writing, drawing, making photographs, sticking in things you find and notice throughout the year.
I'm really inspired by Reggio Emmelia Approach when it comes to documentation. The teachers and children work together in exploring dialogues, having discussions about things they are exploring, and use a mixture of pictures, film clips, audio and visual representation which is a lovely way to explore projects and enjoy the process. Taking inspiration from things we learn about can be a wonderful starting point in exploring our options in the documentation.
There some very good reasons why you could document. I think a lot of the time we can easily forget what we do and what is happening on a day to day basis and documentation helps us to look on a regular basis and say wow I really need to look at changing this or actually we are doing really well with home education right now.
When you have documented even fairly regularly you can see a pattern of life and things that have happened, you can see the process of some of your children's learning and growth that you might not have noticed before. Which is actually very, very helpful. Often if you don't have the documentation it's hard to piece those patterns together unless you have an exceptional visual memory.
It's helpful if you need to share your education journey with the government and haven't got a clue where to start.
It's a wonderful keepsake for your children and also something for them to look back on and remember,
I would love to hear about how you document your life and home education journey for your family?