Thursday, May 28, 2015

Pulling Together a Portfolio

May 8, 2013
 It's that time of year! Time to get the homeschool portfolios pulled together and prepare for the end of year evaluation. I have a love/hate feeling for this time of year. It is overwhelming and stressful to finish the school year and prepare my portfolios, but at the same time, I enjoy seeing all that we have accomplished. There are many years that I find myself surprised at how much we have actually done.

 Some homeschoolers who have never had to pull together a portfolio can tend to be a little overwhelmed about what should go into it and what it should look like. So this post is all about how I complete mine. I create my portfolios based on my states standards and requests so be sure to double check what your state asks for. You can find your states laws here.

So, before I begin I gather the following:

*One 3 ring binder for each child (I use the Durable brand because they really are durable and hold up well. But they can be expensive so I stock up on them when they go on sale)

*Lots of sheet protectors

*Double stick tape and/or a glue stick

*Samples of students work (usually 3 samples per subject; one from the beginning, middle and end of the year)

*Any photos and brochures from field trips or school related activities from the entire school year, beginning July 1st. This includes any educational field trips that were taken over the summer. (For example, we have taken trips to Williamsburg and Jamestown. Those photos would be included in our history section) This also includes photos of projects that cannot fit into a portfolio and photos of the student cooking things that they made to go along with a school lesson.

*My Attendance log (The one I like best can be found here. It's labeled "Daily Attendance Log July to June")

*My log of materials used (You can find my basic log template here)

*Cover, Spine and Dividers for my binders (details below)

*Checklist of everything I need for my end of year evaluation (You can find my checklist here)
**UPDATED to reflect the new homeschool law! Not need to bring portfolio to the school district!!**

*Affidavit for the next school year, along with objectives

*Test results if it is a testing year for one of my students

 After I have gathered everything, it's time to sort! I set out my dividers and sort all of the work samples, photos, field trip brochures etc among the subjects. Then I place the work samples into the sheet protectors. The photos are stuck to plain white paper with the double sided tape or glue stick and labeled. The idea is scrapbook-like but it's NOT fancy! I do not spend a ton of time on this. I just place the photos and write a quick date or explanation underneath. I place these all into the 3 ring binder. I then type up a quick explanation of what we have done for each subject. This is a very basic summary of what we covered, anything significant that has taken place etc. I place this explanation directly behind my divider for each subject.  I usually place my Log of materials used and my attendance log in the front of the binder, before the subject dividers.

A couple of pictures of the log

To create dividers for each subject I have taken the states basic objectives for the elementary years and secondary years and typed them onto the divider page underneath each subject heading. For the cover I just have my child's name, grade and year. This slips into the plastic cover on my 3 ring binder. For the spine I do the same. You can see the spines in the photo at the top. This part is really just so I know which one to pull off the shelf if I need something.

 My Elementary cover and dividers can be found here. And the Secondary level dividers (with cover) can be found here. Both have multiple pages to print.

Some of the dividers

 Once the portfolio is completed I bring it to my evaluator. As soon as I receive her letter about our meeting I add that to the front of the portfolio and bring the binder and my affidavit to my school district office. Then I am set to begin the new school year!

 These portfolios also serve as a little remembrance of what each child has done, what they enjoyed, the struggles they have come through etc. We enjoy looking back at these from time to time. I also find it helpful in coming up with ideas for a child following the one before.

 I hope this has helped someone out there to understand one of the many ways to create a portfolio!

{Note: When I pull together my portfolio at the end of the school year, I prepare the basics of the following years' portfolios. I put sheet protectors with dividers into a three-ring binder and put the cover sheet in the front. Then, as we work our way through the year I can easily add samples of work to the portfolio. Sometimes Most times, I just stick them in the front pocket b/c I get so busy, but I always hope to do better each year}

God bless,


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