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Successful Tips for Creating a Solid Homeschool Portfolio
There are many reasons you may choose to create a homeschool portfolio for your child. Perhaps a portfolio will fulfill your state requirements, maybe you need to submit it for college applications, or perhaps you want a record for posterity’s sake.
Whatever the reason, you would like it to be a little better than a pile of papers thrown in a banker’s box. Plus, do you need to save everything?
So let’s walk through some tips and ideas to help you create a solid homeschool portfolio that will adequately, but reasonably, reflect your learning for the year.
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Determine the Purpose of Your Homeschool Portfolio
The first question to ask yourself is why are your creating the portfolio. The purpose can affect what you do, and don’t, include.
If you are creating a portfolio for review as an option for reporting and complying with the homeschool law in your state, then it will look different than a simple family scrapbook of the year.
For a formal portfolio that will be reviewed to assess your child’s academic progress, it is vital to provide a broad cross-section of work across the required subject areas. Of course, you don’t need every math worksheet they completed, but you do want to paint a picture of where they started the year and how far they have progressed.
Even with this more formal portfolio, feel free to include pictures and memorabilia of field trips and special projects — what better way to study science than by visiting a local museum?
If your portfolio will be a family memento, then include all the fun stuff. The art, the crafts, and the field trips all belong. Make it yours.
What to Include in a Portfolio
For most homeschoolers, learning is everywhere. So of course, we want to include everything to show what a complete educational experience our children are having. However, that can quickly get overwhelming.
So here’s a list of things that make great additions to your homeschool portfolio. Don’t feel as if you have to include them all; this is to get you thinking.
- Any legal requirements (Declaration of Intent to Homeschool, immunization, test scores)
- List of curriculum used
- Samples of work completed
- Log of books read
- Extracurricular activities
- Field trips
- Films and documentaries
- Theater or musical performances
- Community service
- Artwork (actual or pictures)
- Awards and certificates
- Fitness and sports activities
- Photos of it all!
When you look at all these possibilities, you see how this could quickly get out of hand. So how do we keep it all organized?
Organizing Your Homeschool Portfolio
Organizing all of this information is the most overwhelming part, how can we make this easier?
First, decide whether you would like to keep a traditional, paper portfolio or if digital is more your style. What would work best for you? If you’re short on space, digital may be the best option. If your children love to flip through photo albums, a paper portfolio may be the better choice.
You’ve made the decision, so how do you get this in order?
If you choose to create a paper portfolio, an accordion file or file folder in a drawer are probably the best places to start. Label one for each subject, and when you see something worthy of the portfolio, pop it in the file.
Once you have accumulated a year’s worth of possibilities, it is probably best to make one more pass through everything and narrow down what you keep to only the very best. Now you are ready to prepare that portfolio any way you desire.
However, if you think digital will better suit your family, there are plenty of options to create a portfolio you will treasure. Here are some ideas:
- Create a free blog on Blogger, Weebly, or WordPress
- Compile information in Evernote, Trello, or other productivity apps
- Create a Microsoft PowerPoint or Google Pages (free) file including images of your work and photos
Whether you choose paper or digital, it’s important to create a portfolio that accurately reflects your child and your family.
Create a Portfolio to Preserve Memories
When you’re in the throes of little kids and the endless mess, it’s hard to remember that someday it will all end. But, sadly, it does.
You may need to create a homeschool portfolio to meet legal requirements, but in the end, you should use this as an opportunity to create something that you and your children will look back on with fondness.
When it’s complete, a portfolio will be something you treasure for years to come.