Hey Friends! It’s that time of year again for some of us homeschool mommas, the dreaded assessment time. In my state, we have two options for assessments, a standardized test or the portfolio. Up until this year, I have always chosen to do a portfolio for both of my girls. This year we decided to test the oldest, but continue the portfolio for the youngest. I know that a portfolio can strike fear into a homeschool newbies heart so I thought I would put together a brief post on creating the portfolio. Please remember to check with your individual state (as well as your portfolio reviewer) to make sure this will be acceptable for you to submit.
(Not sure what the homeschool laws in your state? You can find out here.)
5 Easy Steps to the Portfolio:
1. Organize Your Binder:
I always choose a very large (3 inch) binder for my portfolio. My recommendation is to actually splurge for a high-quality binder, but re-use it year after year. At the end of every year, I move completed work into a labeled tote. I will often let my girls draw or color a picture for the binder’s front cover because I feel like that gives it a personal touch.
Next, I insert tabs for the 5 subjects required for my state (English, Reading, Math, Social Studies, & Science). I usually use reusable dividers, because I’m cheap like that.
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2. Select Your Sample Work:
The next step is to put your student’s actual work into the binder. I always chose at least 5 sample pieces from each subject for each month. I divide these by subject. For example, my math section would have 5 samples from August, 5 from September, and so on. I would continue for each subject. Remember when choosing your samples to include the good, as well as the bad. This will give the reviewer an overall view of where your child stands. I have also heard of people including three samples per month, one for the beginning, the middle, and the end. Just be sure to include them in a somewhat chronological order. Remember the goal is to show progress from the beginning to the end.
3. Insert a Summary of Each Subject:
Next, I will include a brief summary of each subject. This is no more than a paragraph long and includes my child’s strengths and weaknesses in the subject, as well as what we have covered throughout the year. Reviewers are usually excited to have the summary. Plus it ties it all together nicely.
4. Add Your Additional Pages:
For me, these pages include book lists, read-a-loud lists, science experiment lists, extra-curricular activities, and field trips. Reviewers love to see these types of items, plus I feel like it adds a scrapbook feel to our binder.
Finally, if you are a picture person feel free to throw them in. This is one that I ALWAYS intend to do, but I have yet to put the first picture in a portfolio. It is a running joke among my friends because I am always the mom without her camera. Oops! My famous words are “tag me please.”
Congratulations! You have just finished your first portfolio. I hope these simple steps will take some of the stress away from our new homeschool moms. While the portfolio seems overwhelming it is really quite simple. For you veteran moms, do you submit a portfolio? If so, can you offer us a glimpse into what the portfolio looks like at your house? If you are just starting out see my 15 Tips for Homeschool Success.