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Creating a Homeschool Portfolio

You might be thinking that creating a portfolio sounds like a lot of work . . . but what if I told you that you are creating a priceless treasure for the future?

The goal of your child's yearly portfolio is to paint a picture of your student's skills, abilities, and educational progress. As a collection of your student's coursework, writing, and achievements, portfolios tell a detailed and accurate story of what your student has learned.

Discover how to create a portfolio that not only showcases your student's educational progress but also becomes a treasured time capsule for years to come.

Before You Start

Research the homeschool requirements for the state in which you reside. You can find links to each state's homeschool laws here. If you are required to create an educational portfolio for your child and present it at a yearly evaluation, follow the guidelines outlined under your state's homeschool laws and adapt the following suggested format to fulfill your state's guidelines.

Supplies needed for an educational portfolio

  • Large 3-ring view binder

  • Page dividers

  • Page protectors

  • Paper

1. Record your child’s name, academic year, and grade level on a piece of paper and insert the paper into the clear slot on the front cover of the binder. To give the portfolio a personalized special touch, insert an 8x10 "back to school" picture of your child on the front cover.

2. Label the spine of the binder with the same information listed in step one.

3. On the first page of the binder, display a copy of your child’s nationally standardized test scores or evaluation results.

4. On the next page, insert a list of curricula used for each subject.

5. On the following pages, display your child’s education records including:

  • Your student's quarterly progress reports/report card

  • Your student's attendance record

  • Your lesson plan

  • Course descriptions which explain what your student learned in each course studied or a "scope and sequence" provided by your curriculum publisher which already lists the course descriptions necessary.

6. Write the name of each subject on page-divider tabs.

7. The pages that follow each subject's page-divider tab should include:

  • A spreadsheet listing grades for tests, quizzes, and daily work

  • Hard copies of tests

  • Hard copies of quizzes

  • A minimum of three samples of your child's work for each subject

    • Include work from the beginning, middle, and end of each year.

    • Include written works, pictures of projects, and other assignments.

    • Include your student in the selection process.

*Display tests, quizzes, and sample work in chronological order to show progress throughout the year.

8. Optional pages to include under each subject tab

  • List of books read under the tab labeled “reading”

  • Special writing projects under the tab labeled “English”

  • Pictures of art projects under the tab labeled “art”

  • Pictures of your child demonstrating a science experiment under the tab labeled “science”

  • Sampling of your child's handwriting from various times of the year under the tab labeled "handwriting"

9. After you are finished with the subject tabs, label an additional tab for extracurricular and interscholastic activities. Pages following this tab should include your child's records of participation in:

  • Drama

  • Sports

  • Music

  • Clubs

10. The last tab should be labeled "accomplishments" followed by pages showcasing:

  • Awards

  • Certificates

  • Licenses (examples: swimming instructor license or pilot's license)

  • Specialized short courses of study or workshop classes

11. Optional but meaningful extras to personalize your child's portfolio:

  • Write down a relevant Bible verse for your child each year.

  • Write down a list of goals.

  • Write down a list of ways you noticed your child improve.

  • Create a collage of pictures showcasing homeschool group meetups, field trips, and other learning experiences.

  • Give your child the option to decorate the portfolio cover and page dividers.

In Conclusion

Since a portfolio can set one apart from other applicants, professionals often demonstrate their accomplishments, skills, expertise, and attributes through portfolios. Therefore, a high school portfolio can help your teenager obtain a scholarship or help him market himself to colleges, universities, and potential employers.

When your child enters his teenage years, have him learn how to create and update his own portfolio and encourage him to explore ways in which he can showcase his portfolio digitally. The knowledge and experience your teenager gains through the portfolio making process will be valuable in years to come. Furthermore, your teenager's yearly high school portfolios will become useful tools that you can use when creating your teenager's high school transcript and resume.

Your child's homeschool portfolio is more than an educational record and proof of progress. Portfolios also showcase your memories and time spent together learning. If you and your student create a portfolio together, you will enjoy reminiscing about the year, his achievements, and his overall progress. As time goes on, you will enjoy turning the pages of the portfolios from homeschool years past. These time capsules of the years you spent teaching your child will become a treasure of documented memories as your children grow!

-Yvonne Strachan

Inspirational Homeschooling

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