Monday, April 30, 2012

Backup, Backup, Backup

This week's blog cruise question is very near and dear to my heart--What is my favorite record-keeping tip?  Rather than calling it "favorite,"  I might choose to call it most important: backup, backup, backup.  I live in a state that requires me to document 1000 hours of school each year--broken down into core and non-core subjects, taught in our regular school location and not.  To accomplish this, I use a program (designed by a fellow Missourian) called Edu-Track.  I've written more about the actual record keeping process in another Blog Cruise post called "If It Ain't Written Down, It Ain't Happening." 

In the post I mention that I try to have the bulk of my scheduling done before the school year begins.  I can edit my printed schedule and then print a final, accurate copy of our core and non-core hours to keep in a binder.  The program prompts me to make regular back-ups and I do so to an external hard drive.  Well, this past February my laptop drive crashed.  While attempting to salvage any files still available, something wrote over my copies on the external back up drive as well.   At first I mourned the loss of over three years of family pictures.  Later I realized that our school records were just as vital.

I'd gotten lazy by this point in the year and hadn't been printing out updated schedules.  We were fortunate that we'd replaced the hard drive last year and still had the old one to put back in the laptop--but everything after January of 2011 was gone.  I had to reconstruct all of this school year and half of Schnickelfritz's second grade records.  Fortunately I had this blog and my personal calendar and could find special field trips we'd taken.  I'm sure I've missed some books that were read and extra-curricular activities.  In an effort to simplify entries, I've left out a lot of details--now the entry just says the Mystery of History lesson number, not the lesson's subject.

Going forward we'll backup the system on a CD as well as the external hard drive.  I'll be more diligent about printing out updated schedules.  Perhaps you think "This will never happen to me, I keep a written journal."  Well, things can happen to paper as well--fire, flood, tornado.  If keeping records is required by your state perhaps you should scan the pages of your journal and keep it on CD as well.  Whatever format your records take, make sure you keep a backup (no, make that two backups).

You can see what record keeping tips from others on the Homeschool Crew by clicking here.

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