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Ideas for portfolio?

Posted: Mon Jul 02, 2007 9:25 am
by micheller79
I would like to view some ideas for the portfolio. I am in Pennsylvania, and it is a requirement. I don't do well in the organizational area. This is only my second year of hs. So, any advice? I don't want to wait til the end of the year again. I want to do a progressive type thing. My child is 10 and in the fifth grade.

Posted: Mon Jul 02, 2007 1:27 pm
by Theodore
Throw everything into a box, then sort it once a week into folders and write a brief overview?

Re: Portfolio

Posted: Mon Jul 02, 2007 4:25 pm
by Ramona
Some people in my old support group did them like scrapbooks, with the kids working on them at least weekly themselves, as "art" or "language arts/English" or "personal history/social studies" or whatever.

I generally keep the kids' stuff piled on a shelf and a few weeks before they're due, I set aside some time in the evening to pull out 1-2 samples of work per child per subject and put them in a binder. Some years I organize the binder by subject, other years by child. If we're missing anything by that time, I take the next few lessons making sure the child creates something for the portfolio. Sometimes I include photos, but not usually.



Posted: Tue Jul 03, 2007 12:32 pm
by micheller79
Thanks ramona, I guess I just want to make a good impression for my daughter's sake. But a local hs mom said "give them as little as possible". So, I am not sure about how to handle it. I haven't heard from the school district as of yet, so ..... Will I always be so nervous about whether she passes? I thought this was supposed to get easier? It is my second year and I am still on the fence.

Re: portfolios

Posted: Thu Jul 05, 2007 2:36 pm
by Ramona
Hmm. Every time I hear the thing about giving them as little as possible there's some story in the background of "them" (the authorities) using what they're given against homeschoolers.

For instance, my 3rd year I didn't get around to making a portfolio, so the day the reviewer came over I just had all our books and materials stacked up on the couch. She looked at anything she wanted to. As a result, we got our worst review ever. (We also just happened to get the toughest reviewer in the school district that year.) She said if my left-handed 5-yr-old's manuscript printing hadn't improved by the next year, she'd require her to go to public school.

Now, I would never let a reviewer see anything a 5-year-old had written since the state laws don't require children to start school until age 6 or 7. And I would never let a reviewer see everything anyone had written--only the most beautiful handwriting samples.

One thing I had to learn in Maryland was that they weren't looking to see how well my children were being educated, but rather how good of an education I was offering to them.

It did get easier for me, but not all in one year. Over several years I gradually got more confident. Then when we moved to a new state I had to start from nervous all over again. Again, it took a few years to feel assured.


Posted: Sat Jul 07, 2007 8:24 pm
by momo3boys
I have a box all year, and then at the end I put certain papers in a three ring binder, I can fit two years worth in each binder. at the beginning of each year section I put a few pages just detailing, a list, of what they did that year by subject. That is really all our district wants to see. They don't have room in the file for anything else anyway. If they ever get around to asking me for anything. :roll:

Posted: Sat Jul 07, 2007 8:52 pm
by frogguruami
Theodore wrote:Throw everything into a box, then sort it once a week into folders and write a brief overview?

This is how we did it when we had to keep portfolios. And pictures, lots of pictures!!!

Posted: Sun Jul 08, 2007 5:22 am
by Theodore
Now that everything is digital, I wonder if just photographing everything with a digital camera and burning it onto DVD's would work?

Posted: Sun Jul 08, 2007 8:51 am
by frogguruami
Science, Social Studies, PE and even a lot of our art was recorded using the camera. For our portfolio I would print out one picture from each field trip and project we did and include them. The rest of the pictures I post in a photobucket account. If the evaluator wanted to see more than we had brought she was welcome to look there. I also sent her the link to our website prior to our appointment. That, along with a list of the topics we covered was always sufficient. We also included a reading list, 3 examples of math (one from the beginning, middle and end of the year to show progression) and our journal (we have never done a formal language arts program)

Posted: Wed Aug 15, 2007 11:32 pm
by phiferan
For P.E., Music, or an elective course, you can do a log book, where the parent just records (typed or printed) each week how many minutes and on what days children practiced and what was worked on or learned (worked 20 minutes on Tuesday, worked 40 minutes on Thursday),etc. and (worked on particular song) (walked at the park) (learning home row in typing class), etc. I had to go through a couple of years of portfolio reviews with the State of Maryland (reviewed every 6 months) and this worked every time. :idea:

Posted: Thu Aug 16, 2007 8:41 am
by Ramona
If my kids did anything like swimming lessons in Maryland, where they got a certificate at the end, that was our portfolio item for PE that year. At least one year the only thing I had to include was a photo of them running around in the yard. The reviewer accepted it, no questions asked.


Posted: Thu Aug 16, 2007 8:49 pm
by Theodore
That's interesting, just take a bunch of photos of your kids doing various play activities and submit that as your phys ed requirement?

Posted: Fri Aug 17, 2007 2:46 pm
by Ramona
Yep, that's what we did. Colorado doesn't require PE, so I haven't worried about it for a few years.


Posted: Fri Aug 17, 2007 9:55 pm
by phiferan
Depending on who you get as reviewer, Maryland is kind of tough. We get reviewed every six months and you practically have to remember everything your child worked on – now I just carry a list in with me. One time, my reviewer was trying to figure out if my son was practicing enough with his music lessons. Another read every writing assignment, while yet another read each science lab. Another thought my son’s various art drawings and photographs he took weren’t enough for the art requirement (I guess she wanted me to have some expensive formal art curriculum, even though we were using a text for photography); so, I finally showed her the flyers we got when we visited the art gallery, she wanted to know what my son found interesting at the gallery and that gained her final approval. Nevertheless, I have passed review every time. I wish Maryland had easier requirements and more consistency for homeschooling reviews, as your state seems to have.

P.S. I think the certificate at the end of an activity is good; however, in Maryland, for each required subject you have to show “regular and through instruction" and it has to be progressive. So, a certificate could only be part of meeting your requirement, it could not be the whole thing. God Bless.

Posted: Sat Aug 18, 2007 10:48 am
by Ramona
I was talking about when we lived in Maryland.

We homeschooled "officially" there for 7 years and only moved away 4 years ago.

Either your county is more demanding than ours was, or things have changed a lot in the past 4 years. :)

When we were there, the county we lived in didn't do the mid-year review, but only one at the end of each year. (I always wondered how the district answered to the state for that lack.)

We had 4 different reviewers over the 7 years, and they varied widely in exactly what they wanted to see and how strict they were. The strictest wanted to see 2 evidences from each required subject for each child. She preferred one from the beginning of the grade and one from the last few days right before she looked at the portfolio, so she could see whether the child had progressed during the year.

The least strict glanced at the outside of the portfolio, flipped through it without actually looking at a single page, then just asked me if we had done each of the required subjects and checked them off on my word alone.

The others wanted to see one evidence of each subject from sometime during the year.

But for PE, even the strictest reviewer accepted either a certificate from some activity or my snapshots of the kids playing actively.

IME, Maryland was in the middle of the range of "hard states to homeschool in," maybe even leaning toward "pretty easy."

I'm sorry your county seems to be so much more demanding.