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How do you keep a portfolio?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
We're in PA, which I know is one of the highest regulated states. I keep hearing about "portfolios" and such, and was wondering the logistics of this. For those of you who do have to keep a portfolio, what do you use (a binder???) to hold things and how do you know what goes in there?
post #2 of 7
I'm not sure what PA requires as far as a portfolio. In VT, you don't have to keep one - there are other options for the end-of-year assessment - but I have so far. I have a file folder where I put worksheets, drawings, writing samples, etc. throughout the year. I also take photos to document some of the things we do - museum trips, nature study, etc. At the end of the year last year, I went through everything I had saved and decided which things I wanted to send in to document progress. We scanned them and I created a website with a page for each of the required areas of study, with photos, scanned images of work, and stuff I wrote up about what we had done. I didn't actually put it online, but just put all the files on a disk and sent it in to the Dept. of Ed. I'm planning to do the same thing this year.
post #3 of 7
I have a filebox. Each kid has a section and each section has a folder for each subject we're required to log. As the year goes by, I toss stuff in the folder I might want to keep-- pretests and posttests, worksheets, copies or pictures of projects, pamphlets from places we visit, concert programs, etc. Then at the end of the year, I divide a binder in to the subjects.

In the front of the portfolio I always put:
a copy of the PA homeschool law
a copy of my affadavit and objectives
my attendance sheet with my 180 days marked off
my child's book log
a copy of their standardized test results if required

Then in each subject section, I type out an overview of what we did, main lesson blocks, and include my list of books used. I don't include tons of samples of works-- usually I just represent the beginning, middle, and end of the year. But I tend to be a minimalist and only do the exact letter of the law. Other homeschoolers feel the more they give the state, the better.

I've done this for 3 years now in PA and haven't had a problem yet.
post #4 of 7
We're unschoolers (though not radical unschoolers) and I'm using this as a guide to self-assess how my kids are doing: http://www.fun-books.com/books/livin...ing_guides.htm

As the site says:
These guides are put together by Nancy Plent, founder of the Unschoolers Network in New Jersey and a long-time homeschooler. She reviewed the scope and sequence charts and curriculum guides of dozens of schools in various states, then combined the highest standards of elements from each to create these guides. Why purchase these curriculum guides? 1) They may help you to fulfill your state's legal requirement to provide an educational plan 2) They allow you to see some of the highest standards for schools at various grade levels, just in case you are curious about what the schools expect or are anxious about what you are doing 3) They provide record-keeping space that can help organize a portfolio.

Besides providing a checklist under each subject, Nancy offers suggestions on how to translate real-life experience into curricula goals. She also lists resources from a variety of companies. Each guide covers two or more grade levels. The first four are in comb binding, while the high school guide is in a 3-ring binder.

BTW, our state doesn't require reporting, but I still want to use these guides.
post #5 of 7
Oh, I left out part of what I do. Besides the file folder, I also maintain Word documents for lists of books read, a P.E. log, and summaries of science and social studies activities. Some of that gets turned directly into text on my portfolio web page, and some I just refer to while I'm writing up my end-of-year summaries.
post #6 of 7
When I was trying to keep a portfolio I would write up a weekly summary of activities, discussions, crafts, etc. in Word. I also took photos and put aside writing samples and art projects. The plan was to submit the weekly summary, some samples and some photos... but in the end, we went with an assessment by a certified professional. It took an hour or so and was far, far from formal. That was kindergarten. We are doing the certified assessment again for first grade, but next year I might go back to attempting the portfolio... but it takes a level of organization of which I may not be capable.
post #7 of 7
I'm in SC & we keep a portfolio here as well. I just save samples of the kids work (a few things a month). I also have oodles of pictures on my computer if needed. That's all I do though. In addition, I have to keep records of what we do for the 180 days, covering specific subjects we have to include (but *how* we learn those subjects is open for interpretation). Lastly, I have to keep an attendance sheet & 2 progress reports each year. I put it all in a 3 ring binder & I write the school year on the outside. They're stored in the top of my closet.
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