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Homeschool record keeping is an important part of a successful homeschool. There are many systems for record keeping available. One of the most popular and flexible systems is a student portfolio. This quick start guide will show you how to easily build a portfolio successfully for each of your children. Here are our favorite tips and tricks for keeping a homeschool portfolio.
What is a Homeschool Portfolio?
A portfolio is a means of record keeping and assessment. It demonstrates what has been learned by a child in a specific area of study or over a particular time period. The portfolio is more than just a collection of grades or transcripts. Portfolios show a student’s ability and experiences. It is a living collection that grows and changes over time
Portfolios eliminate the stress of completing an end of year assessment. Instead of expecting students to demonstrate everything they have learned in a large test, portfolios allow them to show how their learning has progressed. It also allows for creativity and personalization, something that can never happen on a paper and pencil test.
Why are Portfolios Important?
Portfolios are important for many reasons. Some states require families to maintain homeschool portfolios. Other states give the option of creating a portfolio or taking a standardized test. The portfolio is a concise way to show everything that was accomplished over the year. Knowing your state homeschool laws should be the first step in planning a portfolio. Check out Understanding Your Homeschool Requirements by State to learn more about what your state requires.
In addition to state homeschool requirements, there are other reasons to keep portfolios. Some homeschool charter schools require student portfolios. Also, portfolios are a perfect option for high school. Since portfolios are highly personalized, they are a perfect choice for demonstrating high school credit earned. Even if you are not required to keep a portfolio, it is a very useful record keeping system.
What are the Daily Logistics of Maintaining a Portfolio?
The portfolio is a yearly assessment but has to be maintained daily. The single binder portfolio is the most popular, and required by some states. Other options include an accordion file portfolio and digital portfolio. It is important to make daily maintenance simple. Keep one binder for each subject. Also have a binder for additional logs and sheets. (see below) Each day add completed work to the subject binder. Also. record grades, attendance, etc in appropriate logs. Keep all binders in a central location. (Students can help maintain binders, too!). At the end of the year, you can pull what you need from these binders. That will make year-end assessments quick and easy to complete.
What Should Be Included?
Every portfolio is unique. There are as many different styles as families who keep them! Always include whatever is required by your state. You can then get creative with the rest. Remember that less is more! A portfolio is a snapshot of the homeschool year. It should not include EVERYTHING! Include just enough to meet state requirements and demonstrate growth. Here is a sample list of what to include:
- Colorful Cover Sheet: This should include the title “Homeschool Portfolio” and space to write Student’s Name and School Year
- Student Profile Sheet: This contains all pertinent information about the student. It will include strengths, weaknesses, course of study, and other personal details.
- Monthly Tracking Log: The log sheet shows how many days each subject has met. There is a log for each month of the school year. The page is a grid with subjects across top, room for 31 Days on left side, and totals on bottom
- Weekly Tracking Log: Similar to the monthly tracking log but it breaks the records into weeks. This is set up with subjects on left side, days on top, and totals on right.
- Quiz & Test Scores: This is a record of all quiz and test grades received for each subject.
- Field Trips Log: Include where you went, the date, and what was learned.
- Exemplary Examples of Work: Show off student progress. Include a collection of the best work from the year in various subjects.
- All State Requirements: Make sure that all requirements are met and included.
- Physical Education Log: Keep a log of what activities/sports were counted as physical education and time spent on each.
- Extra Curricular Log: This is a place to record what is done outside the classroom. Include clubs, activities, and performances. Be sure to also note any special awards or recognitions earned.
- Volunteer Hours Log: Volunteering is real work learning. It is also a requirement for graduation in some states. Record all volunteer activities, dates, and how long was spent on each event.
Also…..Dont’ Miss our FREE Homeschool Planning Pack
Simple homeschool planning resources you will actually use! Less is more when it comes to organizing and planning out your homeschool year. These resources will help you set goals, keep track of curriculum decisions and orders, and teach your student to keep an independent weekly calendar.
- Homeschool Goals
- Homeschool Curriculum Planning
- Independent Student Calendar