If your state requires you to create a student portfolio to assess your child’s work, here are some ideas for how to make a simple homeschool portfolio.
We all love looking back at old pictures. Kids especially love looking back at the places they have been and what they were doing at a certain age.
When I pulled out some portfolios from previous years for pictures for this post, it didn’t take long for my kids to find them and start looking through them. They were completely absorbed! It was fun for them to remember and see what they had learned in previous years. They are PROUD of their portfolios.
Some states require parents to show a child’s homeschool portfolio. Ours, in fact, is one of them. While it’s important to find out the homeschool laws in your state, I don’t keep a portfolio of records merely because of the requirement. I keep it because my kids like it so much. Here are my tips for how to make a simple homeschool portfolio.
Video: How to Make a Simple Homeschool Portfolio
A homeschool portfolio can be put together at any time. You don’t have to start it at the beginning of the school year, but some years I have done that. You can wait until the very end and put it together in a day and it can be just as good. So, just know that a portfolio is something you can start at any time of the year and it doesn’t need to take a lot of time.
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I really think the first step for organizing a homeschool portfolio consistently from year to year is to keep it very basic. Homeschooling is tough. Some years, I don’t feel like doing ANYTHING extra. If putting together a portfolio is going to feel like a major project, I’m OUT!
If you like adding pictures and Cricut designs, by all means, indulge yourself! But be aware that you may come to a year where all that just feels like too much. Your child’s portfolio can be unadorned and still be special to them and you.
Our Homeschool Portfolios
I choose 1/2 inch binders with the slipcover in the front. I ask our kids to design their own covers. Some of them choose to draw their own and others have designed them on the computer. I encourage them to take their time, use color, and make it beautiful. Sometimes, especially for younger children, I will print in large letters the child’s name and grade level on a blank sheet and have them design around it.
Older kids may want to write their own name and grade level in large, colorful letters.
This is the first page you see when you open the notebook. It is a one-page, typed summary of their school work for the year. This is the only page of the book that actually requires work on my part.
I do my best to keep it only one page so it doesn’t seem like too demanding of a task from year to year. (The rest of the portfolio is as easy as punching papers with a three whole punch and putting them in the notebook.) Using slipcovers is a nice touch to help the final product look clean and durable.
Here are some examples of what I might put on the cover page.
-Begin with a short paragraph about your child summarizing their accomplishments and interests for the school year. I like to put specific things that they were interested in for that year. Maybe they learned to crochet or caught their first fish. What is their favorite book at this age? What do they want to be when they grow up?
-Briefly summarize what they learned in the main subjects.
-Field trips. Keep a list of all the places you have visited throughout the year- either with co-ops or on your own. I include state parks and educational places we have stopped at on family vacations.
-Any music lessons, art lessons, clubs, sports they were involved in.
The second page of our portfolio notebook is their book list. I give a clipboard to each of our kids with an empty booklist template for them to complete throughout the year. It has a section for books they read and a section for books read aloud to them either by myself or audiobooks.
Often, when I look at the kids’ portfolios at the end of the year and pull out the booklist, I am pleasantly reminded of books we read at the beginning of the year that I had completely forgotten about.
Quality Samples of Work from Major Subject Areas
I usually pick samples of student work from the beginning and end (2 samples) of the school year. It’s a good idea to do this for major subjects like math, English (including samples of any writings), history, and science. Labeling them by tabs is a nice touch, but not necessary.
You can slowly collect things throughout the year and stick them in your notebook OR you can gather them in one day at the end of the year. I have done both.
For other subjects, I only include subjects in which that child has especially shown interest. This may be art projects, foreign language, pictures of projects or extracurricular activities, test scores, science experiments, etc. Make sure to include any test results your child might have according to your state’s requirements.
It’s also nice to include one or two special writing assignments like a research paper or book report or other writing assignments. The pockets of the 3-ring binder are a good place to keep these. I might stick bulletins from performances or orchestras they attended, certificates from camps or other events in which they participated.
And that’s it! It’s not that hard to make a simple homeschool portfolio.
Other than the kids designing the cover of their notebooks, I have only three sections in our portfolios. They are a cover page, a book log (including a list of curriculum), and a collection of samples of each subject according to your state requirements.
Again, I really believe that keeping it simple is the most important thing to be able to consistently keep a portfolio from year to year.
This is something you can put together on the last week of school as part of their school work. It can be easily done in a day. It’s a nice way to wrap up the year. It helps them remember all that they have done and gives them pride in their accomplishments.
For even more information, HSLDA also has some tips for creating a homeschool portfolio.
Pin it! How to Make a Simple Homeschool Portfolio
Benefits of Making a Homeschool Portfolio
A portfolio is also a great way to show grandparents what the kids are learning while they are at home. Do you have family members who question whether or not your child is receiving a quality education? Share their end of the homeschool year portfolios!
The kids will proudly stand beside and tell about all the things in their book. It could help a family member see your homeschool effort in a completely different light.
If you have not before, I encourage you to try keeping a portfolio this year. It is a project your kids will take pride in!
And you might find that keeping a portfolio is a huge confidence booster for you as well! When you start doubting yourself and how much you are accomplishing this year, look through last year’s portfolio. When you see all you completed in one year, I think you will surprise yourself with how good it makes you feel.
If you have been keeping a homeschool portfolio, I’d love to see pictures and hear how you put yours together!
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Hi, I’m Sheri! I am a Christian saved by grace, married to my high school sweetheart, and a thankful mom to ten incredible kids. I’m a former public school teacher who never thought I would someday be a homeschool mom! Drawing on 13+ years of homeschooling experience, follow along to find help for getting started, tried and true homeschooling advice, life skills learning, simple Morning Time ideas, and interviews with everyday homeschool moms just like you!