Homeschool Portfolio Tips for Beginners

Portfolio photo

One of the most popular questions I receive when mentoring new homeschoolers is, “What do I put in my child’s portfolio?” I homeschool in Ohio and in our state you have two assessment options, one is standardized testing, and the other is a homeschool portfolio review.

When I first began homeschooling, I had no clue what to keep in regards to my child’s homeschool  portfolio or homeschool records. So, I kept everything, and I do mean everything….somewhere in my building is a large plastic tote containing every workbook and art project my child completed, in preschool!

Since then, I have found a much easier process. None of which include a large plastic tote ;)

Binder Organization

I begin by letting each of the kids pick out their own binders at the store. I typically get 1 ½” binders. This is a good size to include most of what we need to keep. I then print off these cute signs to show the grade the child is in.

I organize the kid’s portfolios by subject. I don’t include Science since we use Apologia’s note booking journals or History since we have separate binders for Mystery of History. Take subjects like this into consideration when you make your child’s portfolio. Even though I don’t put these subjects in my binder, I will share what I would keep if I did.

What to Keep

Language Arts

  • Spelling Tests
  • Grammar Tests
  • Samples of Handwriting throughout the year
  • Book Reports (if you do them) or another sample of reading comprehension

Math

  • Math tests
  • Samples of speed drills (if your curriculum uses them)

Science

  • Pictures of experiments completed
  • Notes showing what the child learned
  • Experiment sheets like this one
  • List of nonfiction books that the child may have read throughout the year.

Art

  • Various projects from throughout the year. Examples could be drawing, coloring sheets, cut and paste work, painting, or pictures of larger art projects.

History

  • List of books the child read throughout the year
  • Any samples of worksheets completed, games played, or lessons learned.

Records and other items

  • Notification paperwork
  • List of curriculum
  • Attendance records
  • List of field trips
  • Books read
  • Pictures from throughout the year

These are just a few suggestions of things you may want to keep in your child’s homeschool portfolio. We like to have the kids fill out an All about Me sheet on the first and last day of school. I also put in fun things that they have done like bible school certificates, swimming lesson certification, certificates for learning books of the bible and other achievements.

How strict you need to be about your child’s homeschool portfolio will depend on the state you live in, and whether or not you have to show your child’s homeschool portfolio for an assessment. As you continue homeschooling, you will learn more about what you feel is important, and what you really want or need to keep.

For more information about homeschool portfolios check out these websites:

Homeschool Portfolios by Real Life at Home

Creating a Homeschool Portfolio by Homeschooling Next Door

How to Create a Homeschool Portfolio by Not Consumed

Creating a Simple End of Year Portfolio by Sunny Patch

5 Tips for Making a Homeschool Portfolio by Kristen Torrado

Misty (2 Posts)

Misty Bailey is a wife to Roger and a homeschool mom to three beautiful blessings. She resides with her family in Southern Ohio. She loves helping new homeschoolers and has a free Homeschool 101 eBook for those getting started. She shares her struggles with time management, becoming unglued and finding joy in the everyday moments on her blog Joy in the Journey.


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***ART CLASS curriculum: 10% off + 10% off on all other products in order + FREE SHIPPING in U.S. Code : HSP Offer expires August 31st. www.seethelightshine.com***

Lesson Planning Made Easy with Lessontrek {review}

 

Are you like me and write things on scraps of paper, only to lose them later when you need them? How about keeping several separate notebooks, binders, and even computer files so that all your thoughts and plans are scattered and stored in different places? I’ll confess to being guilty of that one, too.

I wanted to try something that could keep things organized and in one place with a system that I could use consistently. Lessontrek is a new online record-keeping software designed to make homeschool lesson planning and grading so much easier for parents.

 

LessonTrek

 

How It Works

Lessontrek offers monthly ($6) and yearly ($60) subscriptions.  The interface is straightforward and easy to use.  Setting up students is a quick process.  This is a screenshot of the student profile setup:

 

Lessontrek Student Profile screenshot

Features
  • Lesson tracker
  • Grade recording
  • Drag and drop lessons to another weekday
  • Copy/paste lessons across weeks
  • Copy/paste an entire week of lessons
  • Print weekly lesson plans
  • Secure information storage
  • Customer support
  • Ongoing improvements based on your feedback

As a new product, Lessontrek is being improved all the time.  New features are in the works, including transcripts, attendance tracking, gradebooks, and more.

Lessontrek also offers a free 14-day no risk trial so you can see how it works before committing to a subscription.

How I Used It

My girls are 12, 7, and 5.  We are relaxed homeschoolers, though our state is highly regulated.  We tend toward delight-directed, almost unschooling, literature-rich studies.  Record-keeping and lesson planning are necessities, but they aren’t easy for us.

Even though we don’t fit neatly into a homeschool method category, Lessontrek worked for us because it is so flexible.  You can plan ahead and create assignments for your kids, as well as assign grades for those lessons. This works well for my oldest daughter who is starting middle school studies this year.  I’m beginning to consider things like credit hours and transcripts for the future.  *gulp*

Or, you can use the system as a way to keep records of what you have actually completed rather than what you plan to complete.  I often write things down after the fact because my two youngest girls are still little and we don’t do everything in a formal way.  I still need to keep track of it for the school district and Lessontrek works well for this.

Like any tracking and grading system, whether paper or digital, consistency is the key. No system will work unless you make it work for you as part of your routine.  That’s where I’ve fallen apart in the past.  I like pen and paper systems, but I often end up spilling tea on them or accidentally tearing pages.  The storage issue is a problem, too.  I want to make digital work for me because it really is practical in the long run.

Some of the features I like best include copy/paste and drag and drop.  These are big time savers and make things a lot easier for me since I tend to move things around when our studies change due to delight-directed detours.

I used Lessontrek on my desktop PC running Windows 7 and a Firefox browser with no issues.  It also works with Chrome, Safari, and Internet 10+.

Save 50% off a yearly subscription

Lessontrek would like to offer ALL of our readers 50% off a 1 year subscription. This makes it very affordable for even tight budgets. Families can get a full year access to Lessontrek for just $30.  Just click the $60 yearly subscription choice and enter the code 2IOL50 in the Payment Info section.  Your credit card will be charged $30 for a full year and then renew for $60 each year thereafter.

If you’re looking for an easy-to-use digital homeschool lesson planning and tracking system that can be accessed from anywhere with any of your computers or devices, you should consider Lessontrek.

 

 

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post written on behalf of Lessontrek.  I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions expressed here are my own.

 

Sara (25 Posts)

I'm a reader, writer, dreamer, wife, and homeschooling mom of 3 girls. We take a relaxed, eclectic, Charlotte Mason-leaning, Montessori-ish, literature-rich, delight-directed, almost unschooling-at-times approach to learning. Lots of unit studies, field trips, and lapbooks, too. I like to blog about our learning adventures (plus faith and encouragement) at Embracing Destiny.


A Word From Our Sponsors

Homeschool Products from Nest Learning
***ART CLASS curriculum: 10% off + 10% off on all other products in order + FREE SHIPPING in U.S. Code : HSP Offer expires August 31st. www.seethelightshine.com***

Meet Misty

Intro Photo

Hello! I’m Misty and I blog at Joy in the Journey. I am so excited to be a contributor here at The Homeschool Post. My hubby and I have been married since March 2003, and we have three beautiful children.  Alyson is 9, Kristen is 7 and Daniel is 3. I never planned on homeschooling, or even staying home full time with my children. But, God had other plans!

My dream from the time I was a little girl was to teach. I would line up my stuffed animals and make them “listen” while I read books. I was the designated “baby sitter” at family events while I taught my cousins their ABC’s and 123’s.

  Roger and Misty Wedding

I met my husband while I was working my way through college at our local Wal-Mart. I worked midnights, he unloaded trucks. I still remember him pulling that pallet jack around the corner with his backwards ball cap. He captured my heart, and eight months later, we were married.

I used to think that moms who stayed home all day were lazy.  And the ones who homeschooled?  They seemed down-right nuts! Then I became a mom in September of 2004. Alyson was the perfect baby, and I couldn’t fathom putting her in daycare so I’d be able to finish school. I planned on one day going back, but for the time being was content being a mom. Alyson has since grown into a beautiful young lady. She loves to read, help with her siblings, and is my “Suzy Homemaker” with her cooking and sewing skills.

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After Alyson was born I felt very strongly about wanting to raise our family in a Christian home. I was a church bus kid and grew up in church, but I fell away after High School. I always knew I wanted a Christian home for my family though and I rededicated my life to the Lord in September of 2005. My husband was saved in November of 2005. We have been serving the Lord ever since!

Our second child, Kristen, was born in 2006. She was a beautiful baby, but was colicky and sick off and on for the first 3 years of her life. We spent so many nights in prayer for her, and dealt with doctor visit upon doctor visit. We ended up finding out that she has a very rare food allergy to bakers yeast. God has since blessed us with Kristen being a healthy little girl and we are eternally grateful.  Kristen is our animal lover. She devours nonfiction books, and is set on one day being a veterinarian. She has a heart for helping and loving all of God’s creatures.

Kristen

Shortly after Kristen’s birth, God began dealing with my heart about homeschooling. We had been in church for a couple of years at that point and I had very strong convictions about it. My husband did not, and we sent Alyson to preschool. I prayed and prayed for God to soften his heart, and after an occurrence at the school she attended, he agreed to give homeschooling a try.

We began homeschooling officially in 2010 and haven’t looked back. God has still given me my dream of being a teacher, and I no longer think those homeschooling moms are nuts ;) . I love homeschooling because it gives me such an amazing opportunity to spend time with my children. I have taught them to read, been there when they “get it” and there when they don’t . Homeschooling provides the personalized education I feel that children need.

Daniel

After our homeschooling journey began, we were blessed with our firecracker Daniel. After being a mom to girls, I don’t think I was prepared for life with a boy! He keeps me on my toes and can melt my heart and drive me crazy at the same time with one little word “momma.”  He loves all things boy, and thinks his dad is the best thing ever!

One of my favorite things to do is help and encourage new homeschoolers. When we first started on our homeschool journey, I felt lost. I had NO clue what I was doing.  A few moms helped me along the way and now, I love being “that” mom for others.  Homeschooling has been such a blessing in our lives, and I really enjoy talking to moms who are considering homeschooling. I also love gleaning information from those who have been on the homeschooling journey for a while.

So, that is me, in a nutshell! If you would like to learn more about our family, head on over to my blog Joy in the Journey where I share our journey with homeschooling and my journey with finding the joy in the everyday moments of motherhood.

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Misty (2 Posts)

Misty Bailey is a wife to Roger and a homeschool mom to three beautiful blessings. She resides with her family in Southern Ohio. She loves helping new homeschoolers and has a free Homeschool 101 eBook for those getting started. She shares her struggles with time management, becoming unglued and finding joy in the everyday moments on her blog Joy in the Journey.


A Word From Our Sponsors

Homeschool Products from Nest Learning
***ART CLASS curriculum: 10% off + 10% off on all other products in order + FREE SHIPPING in U.S. Code : HSP Offer expires August 31st. www.seethelightshine.com***