Creating & keeping a homeschool portfolio up to date is one of the most stressful parts of homeschooling. Deciding what to include, what to toss, and what to do with your portfolio can be overwhelming until you get the hang of it. I have developed a method that works well for me and will hopefully help you this year as well.
How to Create and Keep a Homeschool Portfolio Up to Date
Check your individual state guidelines
Regardless of what last year’s regulations were, it is imperative to check each year with your department of education and verify what is required of homeschoolers each year. Some states only require Intent to Homeschool be provided while some require standardized testing to be done annually. Others require a complete curriculum to be provided and approved as well as a full Portfolio provided each year along with standardized testing. Before preparing your school year, check with your state board of education and find out what is required of you.
Create a Binder for each Child
At the beginning of each school year I create a large 3 ring binder for each child. Inside each binder I have tabs for each subject and within those tabs, additional tabs for each division of that subject. As assignments are completed I file them away inside the binder immediately to keep papers from being lost and to keep each child’s information together in one single location for the entire year.
Subject Tab: English
Assignment Tabs: Vocabulary, Book Reports, Essays, Quizzes, Tests
Clean Out Binder Monthly
Each month I then pull all homework and busy work assignments and either throw away or set aside in a review folder for test prep. I keep all tests, quizzes, essays and reports in the binder for the duration of the year for easy reference when it’s time to compile a portfolio at the end of the school year. At the front of each tabbed subject I have an easy spreadsheet printout that I can log all assignment scores on. I keep one per quarter of the year. At the end of the year these go inside the portfolio as a way to reference quickly the child’s test score and progress.
Store as you go
Don’t wait until the end of the month to file papers. Each day as an assignment is completed and turned in store them in the appropriate binder. By grading and storing as you go you eliminate stress later and are assured you will have all of your paperwork on hand when it is in need.
Keep Portfolios in one location year to year
I love being able to reference back to last year’s assignments an portfolio to show how much my children have improved in various subjects. This is also a great reference point for you to share with state educators as needed. On some occasions your student may be in a lower percentile than the average student but if you can show significant improvement year to year they will be pleased with how you are working with that individual student.
Always work within your time and budgetary constraints but remember that the more you stay on top of things now the easier it will be at the end of each school year. The binder method itself can be used as a stand-alone portfolio or can simply be a starting place to compile yours at the end of each year. That will depend on your state board of education requirements as well as your own preferences. Keep in mind the more work you do now the easier it will be in the end.
Looking for more ways to keep your homeschooling organized? Check out these frugal storage solutions, ideas on keeping homeschool papers from taking over, and tips on creating a homeschool schedule that works for you!
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