It’s portfolio time! How do you decide what to include and what to leave out? We have homeschool portfolio examples that will tell you what to include.
What Is the Purpose of the Homeschool Portfolio?
There are two types of homeschool portfolios, and each has its purpose.
Portfolio 1: Fulfills the Requirement of Your State or District
Homeschooling laws vary by state.
Some states require that you submit a portfolio of your child’s work from that year to a certified teacher or county official.
This type of portfolio does not measure whether your child is “smart enough” or “skilled enough” to homeschool. Banish those thoughts!
The purpose is to see if the child is progressing academically in that year of homeschooling.
Is your child learning what you are teaching? That’s what the teacher or county official wants to see.
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Portfolio 2: Showcases Your Child’s Ability to a Prospective School
The second type of portfolio is one you would use if your child is transitioning out of homeschooling and into public school, private school, or even college.
In this portfolio, you want to show what your child is capable of. What are his skills?
It also illustrates the content of your homeschooling curricula. What did your child study?
How to Assemble Portfolio 1
Homeschooling portfolios of the first type must show academic progress from the year.
To that end, you should include work from the year’s beginning, middle, and end.
Throughout that time, your child’s knowledge and skills should have increased.
(If they did not, that is something to discuss with a teacher or homeschool advisor on what you can do differently.)
You will want to include work from every subject.
You may also want to include some exceptional projects or cross-curricular work.
Assemble the papers into a binder with tabs to divide the subjects or use an expanding file organizer.
Type 1 Homeschool Portfolio Samples
You will want to include samples from each of your homeschool subjects.
Check out these homeschool portfolio samples for each subject.
If you do spelling tests, include a test from the beginning, middle, and end of the year.
These do not have to be tests in which your child scored 100%.
Again, you want to show that your child is learning to spell.
You can show that with the increased complexity of any spelling program’s word lists.
You can also include a snapshot of the table of contents of your spelling book.
If you do not use a formal spelling program and instead teach words incidentally as they appear in her writing, include samples of your child’s spelling practice.
Again, choose writing and spelling practice samples from the beginning, middle, and end of the year.
Writing is a skill subject, so the child should advance in skill over the course of the year.
If your child is in elementary school, you will want to include handwriting samples from the beginning, middle, and end of the year. These can be worksheets or writing assignments.
To show your child’s progress in composition, include three writing assignments (from the beginning, middle, and end of the year).
If possible, include the rough drafts, any pre-writing activities, and the final copies.
This shows your child’s writing process.
How often does your child complete a writing assignment during the school year? Include this information as well.
If you are teaching reading, include a sample of your child’s reading practice from the year’s beginning, middle, and end.
You should also keep a list of books you use for literature.
Note which ones your student read independently and which were read aloud.
You may decide whether or not to include the books your child reads during free time, but put those on a separate list if so.
In your portfolio, include a copy of the table of contents of the math book.
Slide in three math tests (from the beginning, middle, and end of the year).
Make sure you pick tests in which your child shows her work.
You may also want to include a sample lesson from the math book with completed exercises.
Science is a content subject, so you want to show what your child has covered this year.
If you use a traditional science textbook, include a copy of the table of contents.
If you chose to study science from a variety of sources, include a book list or web links.
You can also include a list of labs you completed. Even better, have an example of a written lab report.
You can add notes, worksheets, or tests from the year’s beginning, middle, and end.
You may also want to include pictures of any special projects for science (like making a model of the solar system).
If your child keeps a nature journal, include some pictures of pages in the journal.
Like science, history is another content subject.
If you used a traditional textbook for history, include a copy of the table of contents.
You may also include three tests or writing assignments from the beginning, middle, and end of the year.
If you did not use a textbook, include a book list of your history sources (online or in print).
You can also show pictures of any history projects.
Did you take any field trips related to history?
You can also include a list of these (especially if your child did companion work like keeping a journal, doing a project, or making a photobook).
If your child is learning a foreign language as a subject for school, include samples of his work from the beginning, middle, and end of the year.
Include a copy of the table of contents.
If you use an online program, take screenshots of the content he covered.
Art and Music
Art and music are not core academic subjects, so you do not have to include them in your homeschooling portfolio.
You can if you like (especially if you want to save the portfolio as a keepsake afterward).
You will undoubtedly want to include cross-curricular projects.
That means if your child did an art project to go along with a science report or a history study, you can include that.
How to Assemble Portfolio 2
If your child is transitioning out of homeschooling and into school, you may be asked to show a portfolio of your child’s work.
This type of portfolio is different from Portfolio 1.
You want to show your child’s best work so you can prove his ability and readiness.
Include his latest math and spelling tests.
Include his best samples of writing and composition.
You will also want to include a book list of his literature reading.
What books did you use for each subject? Include a list and copies of their table of contents or scope and sequence (if available).
If your child did any projects, include photos of these as well.
Assembling a Homeschool Portfolio
A homeschool portfolio should not be large and packed with every scrap of paper.
You want to be courteous to the person reviewing the work. Simply include a snapshot of your child’s ability and progress.
Following these homeschool portfolio samples will give you a comprehensive and organized homeschool portfolio for the year.