Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Homeschooling: Portfolio

I have been working at putting together my children's homeschool portfolios as we wind up our year. These will (when completed) go to our evaluator who checks it over...and then to our school district. Once they get "okay'd" then we go pick them up!

I let the children design the cover for their portfolios (Of course, Jaxson drew a hobbit hole!). Xavier's had our last name on it pretty large so I don't have a photo of his...

Inside of the portfolios I include samples of work they have done through the year...

A summary of what we accomplished (although this isn't mandatory according to our law...I do it because it helps me to kinda wind things up and have it finalized). I keep it pretty general and simple...

I put in samples of workbooks completed (technically I could rip pages out....but I hate doing that. This way they can take a look all through the things they have done in each workbook)...

More samples of work completed through the year...

I also include all the certificates of completion/*job well done* that my children get from our homeschool co-op classes (they each had four...Madelyn participated in PA History, Drama, Gym and Keepers. Xavier participated in Creative Writing, Drama, Gym and Contenders. Jaxson took Gym, Science, Arts & Crafts and Handbells.).

Then, I place our completed daily log in each portfolio...

In it, I keep track of days/dates, books read, workbooks used, videos watched, games played, instruments practiced, co-op days etc...

Honestly, according to the law, a portfolio just needs to show that learning *is* occurring in your homeschool and that progress is being made. If your evaluator seems to be expecting too much, please be sure you review the homeschool law for your state (PA law can be found HERE ~ an overview of the law can be found HERE). 
Had my children been in the necessary grades, I would have also included standardized test scores. We didn't have to do that this year though (ahhh...a nice break!). 
If you live in PA (or have a state with similar homeschooling laws as ours) I encourage you to check out askpauline's site on portfolios HERE. There is a lot of useful information there! Also, if you have any questions, please feel free to ask. I will make sure I either email you back or answer in the comments of this post! We are finishing our 6th year of homeschooling so I have been doing this for a *little* while now! ;) 
And, if you haven't yet, go HERE and see the new planners we will be using for this upcoming year's schooling! They are inexpensive and seem to be just what we need (and maybe they will work for you too!).
Ok...so that's it, I think! Again, if you have any questions, let me know! I will do my best to help you out! Happy Porfolio-Creating!



  1. Just to clarify, the school district does not have to okay your portfolios. That is what your evaluator does. She certifies that sustained progress is being made. That's all the law requires. Our school district doesn't want to see the portfolios. We just turn in evaluations and test scores!

  2. Hi Katy! I, too, am in the midst of preparing our end-of-year portfolios for my boys! I love getting them together and really "seeing" everything that we have accomplished (especially when there were "those" days that I felt nothing had been accomplished)! I had to turn my first portfolio in last year and had myself all nervous that is wasn't going to be enough but in the end it was signed off on and I was able to breathe a big sigh of relief. So going into the process this year, knowing what I know now, I am enjoying it much more. Also, getting all of our studies narrowed down, materials picked out and ordered and imaginations flying high for next year is in full-swing! LOVE IT!!!

    I do have a question for you...you mentioned that this year none of your kiddos needed to take any of the standardized tests. Next year my oldest will be in third grade and is supposed to take them. I have heard and read in a few places that you can chose to opt your child out of these tests. Have you heard of this and/or know of anyone who has? I am really leaning toward opting my son out if it is possible. Would you mind sharing with me your thoughts on why you have chosen to have your kids take these tests? Trying to weigh my options.

    Thanks so much for considering my questions and congratulations on another year of homeschooling accomplished!

    1. Gretchen,

      I do not know anyone who has opted out. They aren't really a huge deal, thankfully. I just had my children do them because it's part of the law and I try not to make waves unless it is necessary. It's also nice to get a sense of how your children are doing in different areas.

      Is there a particular reason you would like to opt out? I honestly didn't know that was really an option. :)

      Congrats to you, as well, on another year done! :)

    2. Katy,
      I didn't know that these tests could be opted out of either until last year when I read an article about a college professor who opted her child out of them which then lead me to a few other articles on the subject. Getting a sense of how my children are doing in different areas would probably be the only reason I am still contemplating having my boys take them.

      The biggest reason why I am thinking about opting my oldest son out of them is because he has a few diagnoses, one of them being major anxiety, and I just don't see what the real benefit would be of putting him through the test taking procedures when it is going to raise his anxiety so much. If it was completely mandatory I would just have to help him deal with it but if I can opt him out then I believe I just might. I am just hoping that I am able to talk to someone who has opted out to see what they had to do and if there was any backlash from doing so.

      Thank you for your response!

  3. These are great! The kids did such a wonderful job!

  4. Hi Katy! That's what I'm in the midst of doing right now as well. Ian has his evaluation this Friday, so I've been finishing up his portfolio this week. I really have found askpauline.com so helpful. That's nice that you thought to share that link with your readers. It's a great resource.

  5. Portfolios and evaluations done here! Now I have to start on objectives. Fun to hear someone else is doing the same things!


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May you enter as a stranger and leave as a friend!
Warmly, Katy