Have you been wondering about the best way to keep your homeschool on track and your students motivated? There are many homeschool organizational tools for lesson planning that can help you stay on the right track. Out of all of them, homeschool portfolios are a great way to keep documentation of your student’s progress all in one place. Here are 5 Reasons to Use Portfolios in Your Homeschool. (although there are many more reasons!) Many progressive schools are also trying to move to portfolio-based assessment and there is now a movement in some of the top colleges to accept applications as portfolio-based. Where does a parent start in creating a homeschool portfolio? Let’s start together with the basics.
What is a Homeschool Portfolio?
Homeschool portfolios are a way of keeping track of a student’s educational progress. They show what your child has learned, the manner in which they did, and the resources that were used in the process. While most states do not require a parent to keep a homeschool portfolio many parents find it a helpful way to keep track of their student’s progress. Keeping a homeschool portfolio is a good way to look back and determine what has been working and show how changes might be made to improve your homeschool.
Types of Homeschool Portfolios
- Showcase portfolios- Shows the best of the student’s progress over the years.
- Progress portfolios– These can contain drafts that students and teachers can use to reflect on progress made.
- Working portfolios– This one contains multiple examples of the same type of work that is done over time and is often used to assess progress.
- Virtual Portfolio – If you’re using an online curriculum or doing most of your work with technology, a virtual portfolio might be just what you need. They even have a homeschool portfolio app that can simplify the process. If there are any additional accomplishments or work you’d like to high light simply take a picture and add those to your virtual homeschool portfolio.
What Is Portfolio Assessment?
In states where a portfolio assessment is required a homeschool portfolio is reviewed by a certified teacher to determine if a student’s academic progress is in line with the child’s abilities and progress for the year. The teacher uses a homeschool portfolio review form to show how a student has progressed in the areas of reading, language, mathematics, science, and social studies. This homeschool portfolio review report also shows where improvements or remediation need to be made.
How To Put Together a Homeschool Portfolio
- Read & follow your state’s requirements- Find out by going to the HSLDA (The Home School Legal Defense Association) website to find out what the homeschool laws are in your state and what exactly is required.
- Gather your supplies- Find a 3 ring binder and get page dividers, and page protectors. Some parents instead use an accordion file or file folders. Another paper-free route to go is to go digital! You can store test scores, homeschool portfolios, records, and more online. When you need a printed version, just go to the appropriate file and print out what you need. Google+ would be a good place to start if you decide to do it that way.
- Decorate the cover- Make it fun! You could even have your child make their own but make sure to include your child’s name, academic year, and grade.
- Add the first pages- The first page should list the textbooks and curriculum you are using. Next, put the pages based on your state requirements and what you prefer. This could include- books read, Quarterly progress reports/report card, Attendance record, Memory work, and a calendar of field trips and other educational activities
- Write each subject on page-divider tabs.
- For each subject, include tests, quizzes, and other examples of your child’s work This would include essays, worksheets, pictures from science projects, etc. Put these in chronological order to show each student’s progression.
- Include example art projects- You could do this by including the artwork itself or grouping it together and taking a photo to add to your homeschool portfolio.
- Include extracurriculars- Does your child take music lessons and attend a year-end recital? Take a picture! The same thing applies to sports they are active in or even theatre performances.
What About a Portfolio Assessment Rubric?
What exactly is a portfolio assessment rubric anyway? Basically it is a scoring guide that is used to assess the quality of your student’s work. It is a set of criteria for grading their assignments and includes a scoring strategy. A checklist is a good place to start. A portfolio assessment rubric’s purpose is to evaluate a student’s performance over an extended period of time and including portfolios into your student assessment. Student portfolio assessment can be a very effective tool in showing the cumulative efforts and learning of your student as the years go by. It will help ensure mastery in what you are trying to teach them.