There are several reasons why you will want to create a homeschool portfolio. First, it serves as a reminder of what your homeschooled child has accomplished. Second, some states require a homeschool portfolio as a means of assessment and state oversight. Finally, for a college bound homeschooler, a portfolio can be very helpful in gaining entry into college.
I have had the opportunity to view homeschool portfolios of different homeschoolers and from these portfolios, I have devised my own method of creating a homeschool portolio.
You will need:
A 3 Ring Binder
3 hole punch
I start with a somewhat attractive 3 ring binder. I prefer those that has clear plastic on the front so a cover page can be shown. I print a cover page that includes the child’s Name, and grade levels to be covered in the binder and their graduation date if they are in high school. The cover page can either be the first page of the portfolio, or it can be slipped into the binder cover so that it shows from the outside. Add binder dividers to separate each grade level.
Create a report card using a spreadsheet program. Each row should be for a different subject, and for the columns I suggest you make room for the subject name, program or tutor (if not taught entirely at home), textbook or websites used, grade earned, credits earned, and GPA. You can add more, if you wish, but this is what I use. At the beginning of the year, fill out the classes that are planned for the school year.
Make a cover sheet and syllabus for each subject. If the child is taking a class outside the home, use that syllabus or description used for that class. Another option is to photocopy the table of contents for the main text you plan to use. You can also make up a plan of your own, detailing what will be covered in that subject. Place the cover sheets into the binder, with each coversheet followed by it’s corresponding syllabus.
Place samples of completed work from each subject behind the corresponding syllabus. Your samples can include completed and graded tests (especially for math), essays the child has written, and photographs (especially for science experiments and art work). You may also want to include lab worksheets and reading lists.
Grade the children as you progress through the year, and finalize the grades at the end of the year. Enter the information in pencil during the year, and when everything is final, print up a new complete worksheet.
Add extracurriculars at the back of each year’s portfolio section. In my children’s portfolios you will find artwork, photography, and playbills from every performance. I put these in sheet protectors to make it easy to display them. You can open a playbill to the page where your child’s name is listed, highlight their name, and slip the playbill into the sheet protector. One side will show the front cover of the show and the other side will show where your child is listed. Don’t forget to add certificates for any completed programs outside of the home. This includes swimming, other phys-ed or academic classes, and awards of all sorts.
When your child is finished homeschooling as they prepare for college, create a transcript that can be compiled from the previous years’ report cards. Put this in the front of the portfolio along with a parents statement about the child’s homeschool experience.
Remember, you don’t have to put every single thing your homeschooler does into their portfolio. Samples of their best work and an accounting of work completed is plenty. At the end of 12 years of homeschooling a child, you should have no more than 4 portfolios. One for Pre-K – Grade 2, one fro grade 3 to grade 5, one for grade 6 and 7, and one for grade 8 through graduation.