We've just started within the past month, and I'm interested in knowing how other unschoolers keep records and create the portfolio to satisfy PA home education law. I don't have any trouble at all seeing the education and constant learning in our days, but I'm concerned with how the school district sees it, and making sure I can keep them off our backs, especially since I'm new at this! :)
I'm in York, btw.
Have you joined the PA-Unschoolers yahoo group? And checked out AskPauline.com?
I'm fortunate that my particular school district doesn't want to see the portfolio. I still need to have one to show the evaluator that I picked out. Generally, it's recommended to have three samples per major subject, one from the beginning of the year, one from the middle and one from the end. That way the portfolio is minimal and the samples show progress. I usually have a few photos of science experiments, a couple writing samples (stories that ds dictates), and a couple other things depending what exactly ds has done on paper.
I knew about askpauline.com but not the Yahoo group -- thank you! I just joined. :)
I'm starting to worry less and less about the portfolio... sounds like it's not as big of a deal as I thought. I keep hearing that PA is one of the more difficult states to homeschool in, but doesn't seem that bad so far. ??
I am also in PA. For the log I used to write out everything dd did that day - "observed isopods, counted money at the store, watched documentary on volcanoes" etc. A friend who also unschools saw my log and told me she just writes "Day 1 - science, math, language arts". Since then I've found the log much easier!
And yes, for the examples of work include only 3-4 pages in each subject. Just enough to show progress.
I don't do a log like that at all. I think that's one of the areas open to interpretation in the law. All I do is have the attendance (graph of boxes numbered 1-180 that I check off, no dates) and a "book log" which is essentially just a list of all the books we used, read, or looked at. I don't list days, what we do on different days, or what we read on different days at all.
The law says "a log, made contemporaneously with the instruction, which designates by title the reading materials used" should be included in the portfolio. So my list of book titles that I maintain throughout the year is all that I interpret as being required. And my particular school district hasn't had a problem with that. It is a good idea to connect with other homeschoolers in your school district and see how they do things and if they've gotten any sort of negative feedback. Then you can decide whether they (the school district) are being reasonable or whether they are asking for more than is required by law, in which case you can consider sending them a polite note saying that you feel you have complied with the law including the pertinent quotes. The employees of the school district aren't always familiar with the actual law. Sometimes they are just trying to make the homeschool paperwork correspond to the school paperwork and they don't mean to ask for more than necessary. Like us, they are just trying to have their paperwork in order in case anyone looks over their shoulder.
A couple things I pointedly do is make sure there is something PA history (like a bio of Ben Franklin or something) and something fire safety oriented in the book list if those subjects aren't obviously in a portfolio sample, since those two subjects are required yearly.
hi! we're also fairly new to pa unschoolers! i definitely second the askpauline and yahoo group recommendations- they have been incredibly helpful so far. i just wanted to throw in one thing that i am learning. you have to *really* read and know the law because many school districts do not. when we first moved here, my district was asking for things that were way beyond the law... i read it over and over and ended up contacting the dept of ed for their opinion (the home ed contact was very helpful). in the end i was friendly but assertive with our district's home ed coordinator and he backed down. we live in a district that has only about 40 other homeschooling families... no unschoolers that i am aware of yet, and a lot of people "over comply" out of fear and it then becomes the expectation of your district.