Preparing a Portfolio

We’re coming up to the month of May. For me, it’s the month I buckle down and make sure I have my kids’ portfolios done for the year. While some courses are at 180 days, there are others at numbers like 74. That’s not the point. We did school all year and in my state, Pennsylvania, we have until the end of June to get our paperwork complete. I am not a put-it-off-to-the-last-minute type of person. I set the end of May as my goal.

While I have slipped some things into a folder throughout the year, I basically ignore it until this time of year. I have four kids still officially homeschooling. I will likely try to get one kid’s thing done each of the upcoming weekends.

What do I do? This is one reason I love using the workbooks or printables. It’s easy to ignore the portfolio and then flip through at the end of the year and pull out a few things from each workbook to show we’ve done something similar to school over the course of the year. My goal is four things for the main subjects, from over the course of the year, one per quarter. That’s why I make portfolio suggestions to you in your child’s EP courses about once a quarter. I often photo copy the pages. Then I hole punch them and gather them into a binder.

The goal is to show progress, but it’s mostly showing a variety of things learned. I personally don’t put in anything fancy.

For courses without worksheets, I usually suggest printed screenshots of some activities. You can make a list of courses used this year and for any course there is no record of (Thinking, PE) you could write a sentence of saying something of what they did. You can include the list of books read in the courses. I then usually just add a line, “and a variety of other reading for learning and for pleasure.” I don’t at all try to track every kid’s reading all year.

Once they are of age to start typing essays, I include one or two typed writing samples, maybe an essay and a story. If you have a big end-of-the-year project and paper, those would be great to include with a picture of any project.

I don’t hold onto my kids’ schoolwork other than these portfolios. We just moved way too often to even consider anything like that. For high school, we do recommend holding onto their work, just in case. Have each course’s written work together with the grading sheet for that course.

The final step of this process for me is updating my high school students’ transcripts. I add on their courses for the year and a grade. Here’s a Word Document blank transcript. There are samples on our site.

Even if you aren’t required by your state to keep a portfolio. It is a very good idea to have some record of your child’s work. You can combine them year to year into one binder for each child and just add to it each year until you have a nice compilation of what they accomplished. If you don’t know if your state requires a portfolio, you can check your state laws or ask in your state group.