Creating homeschool portfolios becomes a typical spring paperwork feat in the homeschool world. Whether you have to prepare one legally for your state, or you just want a keepsake of your year, here’s a rundown of everything you need to know. From why you should do it, to the parts to include, to resources to help you get it done faster.
Why You Should Create a Homeschool Portfolio
Even in a highly regulated state like Pennsylvania, our portfolios really do not require much. In fact, what our state looks for in a portfolio is likely what you would include anyway – samples of work, a book log, and standardized testing results.
So, if you’re not required to legally create a homeschool portfolio, why should you bother? There are two reasons.
Portfolios make a great scrapbook or keepsake that your children will treasure in years to come. It’s fun to look back at their best pieces of work and see the progress through the years. From comparing their cursive writing to watching their reports and essays grow in proper technique, portfolios are a natural assessment.
Creating a portfolio also gives you permission to declutter and organize! When you only select the very best to put in the portfolio, you can be free to toss out those 1,972 other pieces of paper from the year.
No, you do not need to keep every scrap of paper your first grader wrote on this year! Portfolios help you keep the best and toss the rest. So, even if your state doesn’t require it, this makes a compelling reason to make one at the end of the year for each of your kids. Or, you could create a whole-family portfolio for each school year.
Parts of the Portfolio
Legal requirements will determine what you include. But if you’re just making a portfolio for your own memories, then you can include whatever you want!
It’s great to ask the kids what their favorite pieces of writing, math, art, history, and science were for the year.
If a piece of artwork is too large to include, just snap a picture and include that instead.
Of course, brochures from field trips or certificates from extracurricular activities make great additions to the collection as well.
Having samples of work from the beginning, middle, and end of the year will show your child’s progress in the last nine months. They may be amazed to look back at where they started in September and celebrate how far they’ve come!
Many homeschoolers love to include a book log so that they have a permanent record of all the amazing titles their kids have read.
Finally, keeping standardized test scores in the portfolio is a great way to record this data. You may want to look back to see how your kids are progressing through the years.
There are many paid and free resources for pulling together a homeschool portfolio. Of course, you can totally DIY it, and make it customized to your kids and homeschool style.
Some families will naturally include a ton of worksheets, because that’s how they homeschool. Other portfolios will be filled with photos of activities, science experiments, and group projects. Use whatever style and printables that make sense for your unique homeschool.
Here are some resources you may want to check out as you pull together your portfolio.
Abby is a former public school teacher, now homeschooling her five children. She’s in the trenches just like you and knows it can be challenging to be home with your kids all day while you struggle to keep up with the housework and educate your kids (and maybe even work on the side!). She blogs over at www.4onemore.com and hosts the Homeschool with Moxie podcast.