Thursday, February 24, 2011

How to Create Your Homeschool Portfolio

If you plan to homeschool your children, you may need to create a homeschool portfolio to document their progress to comply with your state laws. Or you may be homeschooling a high schooler and need all that documentation to help with college applications (the colleges don't ask for proof, but you may need to look back in order to fill out a high school transcript). Or you may simply want to put together a keepsake of your child's learning journey.

It may sound tricky, but it's not hard to keep track of important education-related information when you know what you need to document and how often you should do so. 

What Is a Homeschool Portfolio?

A homeschool portfolio refers to the portfolio a parent would keep on each child to help document different things, such as their test scores, progress made throughout the year in various subjects, and more. Whether you're homeschooling one child or five, it's important to have a portfolio for each one that enables you to keep track of their progress and document their education. In fact, in some states, having this portfolio is a requirement because it serves as evidence of your child's education.

How to Create Your Own Homeschool Portfolio

Now that you know about the homeschool portfolio, you may wonder how to make one. The first thing you'll want to do is purchase a three-ring binder for each child, putting their name on the front of the binder. If you have a Cricut, you can even create customized labels for the kids.

Next, don't wait until the middle of the year to start tracking each child's progress. Start the portfolio at the start of the new year because it makes everything easier and allows you to keep documents in chronological order. You should be able to flip through the pages of the binder and document the different tasks your child completed throughout each month, starting at the beginning of the school year, whether you began in August or September.

Print a record sheet and include it in each child's portfolio. You can use the record sheet as a grading system, much like a teacher would do in a brick-and-mortar school. The idea behind this is to see how well your child is doing in each subject and if they need to work on making progress. You can identify the subjects your child may struggle with the most and then work more on those subjects to help them.

Remember – everything doesn't need to be perfect. If your child doesn't pass a test or struggles with a subject, you should still include those documents in your portfolio. No one is perfect, and everyone will struggle with a subject at some point or another. If you have an evaluator visiting the home to review the homeschooling material, they won't get upset if your child didn't do well at something because it's totally normal.

Video Inspiration for Creating a Portfolio Cover

Many parents let their children create the cover for their homeschool portfolio. Your child might not need any direction at all... or they may need a little nudge to get their creative juices flowing. Here are a few ideas for you to use:
  • Give your child a different theme each year (i.e., hobbies, favorite book, passion, food, colors, etc.)
  • Turn it into an art lesson and have them learn or practice a different art style for each cover
  • Make this activity the focus of your first day of school for the year
  • Have them create blackout poetry
  • Print a storyboard for them to fill out

Here are some great video tutorials that may inspire your child as they create a new binder cover at the beginning of each school year.

Great Homeschool Portfolio Resources

Although you know that you'll need to get a binder for each child to create a portfolio for them, you may still not know exactly how to set these portfolios up and use them to your advantage. The good news is that many resources from other homeschooling parents are available. You can use these resources to your advantage to create the most professional portfolios for your children.

My Little Poppies is one blog offering valuable information on homeschooling portfolios. The blogger includes all the most crucial documents worth adding to your portfolio to ensure you won't have to worry about forgetting anything important. In addition, she goes over the possibility of having a digital portfolio, which can help you save time and effort while reducing paper waste.

From Tiny Seeds has this excellent video: Homeschooling Portfolio Example for Annual Evaluation: Elementary. She shares one of her daughter's portfolios and really makes it all look simple. 

You can also check out Abeka's blog on putting together a homeschool portfolio to get tips, suggestions, and a list of things to include in your portfolio for each child. You can compare the information between blogs and use that to build the most reliable portfolio full of valuable information regarding your children and their educational activities.

If you plan to homeschool your children, you'll need to create a homeschool portfolio. It may sound tricky, but it's not hard to keep track of important education-related information when you know what you need to document and how often you should do so. Check out various resources from experienced homeschool professionals to get a better feel for how to create the perfect portfolio.

Supplies You'll Need


Optional supplies:

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