Why you need to create a homeschool portfolio

why you need to create a homeschool portfolio

In Ohio, homeschooling parents must include an annual evaluation of their child with each subsequent Notice of Intent to Homeschool. This can be the composite score of a nationally normed standardized test, like Iowa Basic or the California Achievement Test, or an assessment of the child’s portfolio by a qualified teacher.

Whether you choose to test or use a narrative assessment, creating a homeschool portfolio is just a good idea.

  • It tells the story of the child’s homeschooling experience, and preserves memories.
  • It provides a record of the child’s progress in case proof of home education is necessary.
  • If your child ever attends a traditional school again, a portfolio documenting their progress and accomplishments may make it less likely that they will be placed in remedial classes.  
  • If the child helps organize and journal their work, it is a useful exercise in learning record-keeping and organizational skills, and provides an opportunity for self-evaluation and reflection.
  • During the elementary and middle school years, it’s great practice for documenting high school transcripts.

It can be fun make a portfolio, because unless your state requires a particular format, you can use a variety of methods to compile and organize your child’s schoolwork.

The most low-tech method is plain paper folders. You can label one for each subject, and file away a selection of each child’s papers throughout the year. On the front of each folder you can paste a checklist of goals for that subject.

Another no frills option is a three ring binder. A 3-hole punch will be needed to use work that isn’t done on notebook paper, unless you use page protectors. Dividers allow you to organize by subject or by month.

Lapbooking and notebooking are similar methods. They offer a two-for-one solution because they are used mainly for unit studies and projects on specific topics. Planning their use at the beginning of the year as both learning and record-keeping tools can make a portfolio a snap to put together.

Scrapbooking is the kissin’ cousin’ of notebooking. One advantage is the larger pages which make space for pictures, stickers, and teacher and student comments about each assignment or activity. It’s also fun to decorate pages and use themes, and makes a fun art project.

There are also scrapbooking programs, on disk and online. MyMemories is an example, as are Memory MIxer and Smilebox.

A yearbook program I reviewed in July of 2013 could also be used to create a portfolio and yearbook in one step. Picaboo Yearbooks was user friendly and my kids enjoyed creating pages. A portfolio could be made by uploading pictures and scanned schoolwork.

Wondering what to put in the portfolio? Include items like artwork, reading lists, tests and quizzes, awards and certificates, and pictures of field trips, science experiments, history projects, and extracurricular activities. Depending on the reasons you are creating a portfolio, you may also want to include a copy of the results a yearly physical, eye and dental exams, and your child’s immunization records.

It is very easy to procrastinate and not make a focused effort to put together a thorough portfolio. If you want to use a portfolio to keep your child's homeschool records, plan for it. Set aside time weekly or monthly to sort through your child's work and choose samples. Remember to take pictures of daily life, and when you take field trips or attend activities. Print these pictures as soon as possible and file them with your portfolio materials. Some libraries give patrons the ability to print their borrowing record - this can make including your child's reading list a quick and easy task. 

If you are required to have an assessment done at the end of the school year, any one of these methods can take creating a portfolio from a dreaded chore to a pleasant homeschool experience.