This year you’re going to do it. You bought the binders and printed the list of requirements. You color coded every subject -- for each child. Nothing can stand in your way. You are going to keep a clutter-free homeschool portfolio and there won’t be a mad rush at the end of the year to put it all together.
Now, I’m not speaking from experience since my children aren’t school age yet, but I’m pretty sure I’m one of those parents who will have everything perfectly organized at the beginning of the year, and then struggle to fit pieces of work together at the end of the year. If you’re like me and prefer to have someone else do the work for you when it comes to organizing, you should check out our Diploma Program, where a consultant assigned to your family will help you organize your school year and your children can earn a certificate and grade report every year that can “count” for the state (every state is different). But if you are bound and determined to keep your own homeschool portfolio, even if it’s just a keepsake, here are some tips.
- Know what’s required. Some states require a detailed homeschool portfolio at the end of the year while others give students the options to take a standardized test instead. Here’s a good resource to check what’s required in your state.
- Choose a format that works best for you. Most people keep a standard 3-ring binder, but for some that can become too cluttered. Not to mention all the loose papers that might fall out because let’s be honest, are you going to hole punch every paper that goes in there? Accordion files are an alternative for parents who prefer to just stash and go. As long as there are separators and you are always putting recent work behind older work, it should work well. There’s also e-portfolios for the minimalist or eco-friendly parent, just make sure you always save a backup!
- Set aside a day. One day each quarter, set aside some time to go through your student’s work with your student. Have them pull work that they’d like to include in the portfolio. It can be a great motivator to show them how far they’ve come and it helps you get the portfolio done!
- Designate a spot for the portfolios. When you have children, things tend to get misplaced. Designate a spot on a bookshelf for the homeschool binder or file and always return it when you’re done filing. It sounds simple, but things can get messy when you misplace the binder and start creating piles of school work throughout the house “to file later.”
- Don’t stress. It may feel like your state is evaluating your ability to be a parent more than making sure you’re following state guidelines. The truth is, they don’t really have time to scrutinize your child’s work like you think they will. Just trust that God has given you the ability to keep what’s important and discard what’s extra. And thank Him for the opportunity to teach your children the way you want! If you're still hesitant to take the jump into homeschooling, reading this guide might help.