Congratulations! The end of May brings Memorial Day weekend, beaches, barbeques, and quite possibly the end of your homeschool year. The process of putting together everything your children have learned for a whole year may seem overwhelming. Every state is different so be sure to check out your state’s homeschool laws to see what is acceptable for your end of the year portfolio. Some states also require that your child is tested by a standardized test or meets with a certified evaluator. The homeschool portfolio makes it easy for the evaluator to see what you have taught your child for the year. Today, I am going to share with you how a little bit of work each month helps that end of the year portfolio become a piece of cake!
At the beginning of the homeschool year, write down what you want your child to learn for that year. Write down important subjects or topics you want them to learn about. This is a good tool to have when evaluating at the half way point in the year to see if you are on track for where you wanted your child’s learning to be. Also, write down their favorite things like color, subject, TV show, food, or toy. It is amazing to see how different those items can be in a years time or less! I am also the Mom who takes the first day of school picture and last day of school picture but that’s not necessary for your homeschool portfolio, just a Mommy portfolio Here is a link to The Life in Bloom and she has amazing free templates for beginning of the year questions and a cute place for your child’s photo. (That’s what’s on the front of my sons binder)
Each month I print out a reading log. This helps me to keep track of the books I read with my sons. It also is the top sheet for each sleeve I put into the homeschool portfolio so I know what month it is and all the worksheets, projects, and crafts I put into the sleeve behind the reading log. I have a regular folder I keep the reading log in along with the worksheets for that month. At the end of the month, I pack everything into a sleeve and put it into the homeschool binder.
I also have a teacher planner that a friend gave me from Abeka. I label each area that I consider important such as Reading and Bible, Art/Music/Physical Education, Motor and Social Skills and Critical Thinking, Writing, Math, and Other (Science, Social Studies, Computer work: ABCmouse.com and Readingeggs.com). Here is also a great Planner by HEDUA. The planner helps me keep everything organized for what the boys learned that week. You can choose to label the subject areas with the subjects you are comfortable with. My sons are still young so I don’t have a separate Science or Social Studies area for them yet. We usually do one weekly activity in this section.
At the end of the year, take out that same piece of paper you wrote at the beginning of the year and look at what your child has accomplished or areas you may want to work on for next year. Every child learns at their own pace and this is not a competition or a comparison. You are the teacher and you know how your child learns best and what they need to know.
Where I live, it is required that the homeschool portfolio be kept for at least 2 to 3 years just in case the state decides to come in and audit what you have done. In this case, it is good to also have legal representation for your homeschool rights, such as Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA). I have a large plastic bin where I intend to keep all homeschool portfolios once they are complete for the year. I also intend to keep most of the projects we work on together after this time has passed, because it is memories of all the work we did together.
How do you keep everything together for your child’s homeschool work? I am a first year homeschool Mom and I found this system has worked well for me but I am always open for new ideas! If you are getting ready to end your homeschool year or continue through to the summer, I wish you all a Happy Memorial Day and hope you have an amazing summer!