Homeschooling parents often dread the last month of school for one reason, the homeschool portfolio. But, as we proved in Part I of our Creating the Best Homeschool Portfolio series, homeschool portfolio creation can be an easy, rewarding, and (do we dare say it?) fun experience! With a little planning and organization, proving your homeschooling efforts to your evaluator or school district is a synch. And, if you waited until the last minute to compile your child’s logbook and portfolio, don’t sweat it.
We first outlined the best tips organizing and creating your homeschool portfolio, including how to get your kids involved and staying organized, now it’s time for examples and printables to get you started! Here are our last 5 tips to Creating the Best Homeschool Portfolio Part II, tips 6-10. Remember any of these tips can be used at the beginning of the year so you aren’t scrambling at the end!
Tips for Creating the Best Homeschool Portfolio- Organization and Printables
- Keep It Clean and Clear – Organizing your homeschool portfolio can be done based on your individual tastes and based upon your homeschool style. If you are project-based homeschoolers, obviously projects will be the star, and you will want to include pictures. If you are using the Charlotte Mason method, you will want to base your portfolio around the literature lessons and readings you have done. You may choose a small binder for each subject or a large binder to hold it all. Whatever method you are using, you should always include the following to keep your portfolio clean, clear, and organized.
- Table of Contents – Organize based upon subject. Don’t forget your extracurriculars and required elements like Physical Education.
- Hour/Daily Log – Be sure to include a log for each subject and overall days of learning. Some states require you to complete a certain number of days or hours. It is best to know this in advance!
- Lesson Plans – You can use lesson plans like these to show your evaluator. It will prove that you know what you need to accomplish and how to get there!
- Grade Record – Recording grades is essential to show mastery and progress. Do this for every core subject. It is not as critical for your child’s extra-curricular activities. (Tired of record keeping? Let an accredited homeschool academy do it for you! Find out more.)
- Reading Log – Show how much and often your students are reading. This is where we homeschoolers excel!
- Tab Sheet Separators – You don’t want your homeschool portfolio to look like you threw it together in a day. Make sure to separate each subject with tab separators!
- Calendars are King! Including a homeschool calendar that shows your monthly activities and daily plans will show your homeschool evaluator or school district that you are organized and that you are able to stay on track of your student’s work and progress. Including learning goals, field trips, and any outside activities such as music lessons or P.E. classes is a bonus!
- Variety is the Spice of Your Portfolio – You’ve spent countless hours driving your homeschoolers to extra-curricular activities throughout this year. Don’t let those hours go to waste! A good evaluator will want to see that your student is well rounded. Sure the core subjects of math, science, language arts and social studies are critical, but so is music, art, and physical education! So, log those field trips, music lessons, art studio visits, and PE sessions to show that your homeschooling efforts are about the whole child.
- Projects, Projects, Projects – Showing that your students can pass tests is important, so you’ll definitely need to include quizzes and tests. However, not all students test well! Project-based learning shows creativity, research and planning skills, and critical thinking. Place written projects in sheet protectors and include them in the assessment section of your homeschool portfolio. For projects that are too big or will not make it to the end of the year, snap a few photos, paste them onto card stock and have your student describe the project and the completion process.
- Ideas For Getting Started – Here are our favorite homeschool portfolios! Use these as guides to get you started on creating your own winning homeschool portfolio. Don’t feel you have to recreate these examples, rather take from them what will work for you!
- Have a young one? Try these great preschool and kindergarten homeschool portfolio organization and printables from hiphomeschooling.com.
- Need step-by-step instructions? Notconsumed.com homeschool mom Kim shows you how she puts her homeschool portfolios together and gives you a great checklist to follow!
- Try something new! Use a filing box like this from Leading them to the Rock!
- Take a peek at a video! Inside theunlikelyhomeschool.com mom, Jamie shares her portfolio in this video!
Even if you have already completed your portfolio for the year, keep these tips in mind for next year! Staying organized throughout the year means less stress and pressure at the end-of-the-year. Need to see our first 5 Tips for the Best Portfolio? Read Part I here!
Nervous or stressed about keeping all the correct records? Consider a homeschool partner. By using an accredited homeschool academy, your advisor will help you build and keep track of exactly what you need for your portfolio.