Whether or not your state requires homeschool assessment it is a good idea to keep a record of your child’s schoolwork each year. One way to do this is by keeping a portfolio. Homeschool portfolios can be as in depth or simple as you want to make them.
Step 1: Select a Binder
Choose a binder large enough to hold your child’s work. For many, this will need to be at least 1 ½”. If you are not going to be including Math or Grammar samples due to having them somewhere else (like a workbook), you can get by with a little smaller.
Homeschool tip: Another option to consider if you use the workbook style Math and Grammar sheets is to remove the tests and quizzes. These can then be placed into your portfolio and the workbooks can be tossed at the end of the school year.
Step 2: Select Dividers and Choose How to Organize
Purchase tabbed dividers and filler paper to organize your child’s homeschool portfolio. You will want enough of these for each subject your child is studying. If your child is younger you may divide their portfolio up by quarters or even seasons (fall, winter, spring).
Homeschool tip: Include a section for miscellaneous work. This can be a section where you document field trips, art projects, learning camps, and other activities that may not fit into a certain “subject” area.
Step 3: What to Include?
Include important documents like your homeschool approval letter (if you have one), a list of curriculum used, and a sample school calendar. This should all go right in the front of the portfolio.
You will also want to include samples of your child’s work from throughout the school year. Many parents only put in their child’s best work, but that is not always a good idea. You want to see a progression throughout the year, so it is okay to put in work that is “so/so”.
Good ideas to include in the portfolio are:
- Math drill sheets
- Grammar tests
- Book reports
- Science experiment papers
- History notes
- Field trip pamphlets (I always grab a pamphlet from every place we go and put it in the kid’s portfolios. Field trips are learning experiences too.)
- Printouts from co-op classes
- Other items you deem important
When it comes to organizing a homeschool portfolio, don’t stress! Homeschool portfolios do not have to be difficult or overwhelming. Make them fun! Let your kids pick what they want to keep. You may be surprised what they deem important enough to hold on too. Also, snap a few pictures throughout the year and at the end place them in the portfolio with their end of the year assessment (if required). I am always surprised how much my children have grown from the first of the year to the end. Homeschool portfolios are supposed to highlight your child’s work, but they can also serve as a “yearbook” of sorts. One day you may be looking through them with your grandkids remembering all the fun that homeschooling was that year.
Misty Bailey is a Christian wife and homeschool mom. She resides with her family in Southern Ohio. She loves helping new homeschoolers and has a Homeschool 101 eBook for those getting started. She shares her struggles with time management, becoming unglued and finding joy in the everyday moments on her blog Joy in the Journey. You can also find her on Facebook and Pinterest.