January 22, 2018

The Homeschool Portfolio

Those of us who homeschool in the state of Florida are required by law to keep a portfolio of work done. Don’t allow the thought of a homeschool portfolio to strike fear in your heart! Regardless of where you homeschool, however, I recommend that you build a strong portfolio of work done during your high school years.

Homeschool portfolio

A portfolio is an important piece of the high school puzzle!

Florida law states that a portfolio should contain a log of educational activities … designating by title any reading materials … samples of any writings, worksheets, workbooks or creative materials used and should be kept for a minimum of two years.  [Paraphrased from Florida statute 1002.41 found here.]

The key to keeping on track with portfolio building is to use a method that works best for you.  I looked at several methods in our high schooling years.  I tried a few that didn’t work for me and eventually just decided that building a notebook was the structure for me.  You can build your own system – either a notebook or a file – in which you have a section for each high school credit that will be earned.  In each of those sections you will want to place at least 20-30 samples of work from throughout the year.  Sit down once a quarter and pull five or six good examples of material covered over the past several weeks.  If you wait until the end of the year (or worse yet, until the end of high school) you will lose track of many items.  Try to choose bits and pieces that show different skills worked on during the year.  Be sure that the items are dated and have been evaluated (graded).   If your student has been working on a project, show several steps as well as the final product.

I also recommend that you photocopy the title page and table of contents of all textbooks and materials used.  You will get rid of these items eventually and this is often information that colleges will ask you for.  You can also go to your curriculum provider’s website and download the scope and sequence of your books and place that in the appropriate section.  Anything that will give you an overview of the materials you used.

You will want to keep a reading list with title and author of all books your student reads – even if it is not tied to a curriculum.  If you don’t have written work, a CD of music, photos, videos, etc. can be great additions to your portfolio. If your student has worked with a tutor or other instructor, have that person write a letter of evaluation and place it in the portfolio.  In other words – anything that will validate the work done towards a particular credit.

It may be that no one ever asks to look at your entire portfolio (or maybe they will), but there will come a time when you are asked for specific items.  If you already have your work organized well, not only is it easy for you to find the requested item – you look and feel organized and your homeschooling work looks more credible to those on the outside.

Lastly, I encourage you to keep your student’s portfolio indefinitely.  I already know of several homeschooling families who have been asked for high school evidence after their student has a college degree.  But mostly – your portfolios are treasures!  Put them in a treasured place and show them to your grandchildren in twenty years.

~to your success,

Joanne

(Image courtesy of Anusorn P nachol at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

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