By Raylene Hunt B.S.Ed
While working with Homeschoolers of Maine over the years, I’ve spoken to many parents who were feeling stressed about portfolio reviews. There is always some uncertainty about the process, and there are usually some questions, especially from those just starting out. I always assure them, and I want to assure you, that it really isn’t that complicated.
A lot has changed since I first wrote this post three years ago. The future and how education will take place for all students in the months (and even years) ahead now seems unclear. One thing hasn’t changed, and that is how easy it is to create a homeschool portfolio for your year-end assessment! You still only have to show that 175 days of instruction have been completed, that all the required subject areas have been covered and that the student has made progress.
It’s still as Easy as 1 – 2 – 3!
Actually, it’s a little easier now than it was when I first wrote this post. Now, instead of doing Step 1 below, HOME can provide you with a pre-assembled portfolio, which includes the three-ring binder, plastic sleeves and all essential printed forms. All you have to do is insert the student's work throughout the year. At the end of the year, you’re ready for your assessment! No fuss, no muss, and no trying to remember what you did back in September and where you put those work samples! It’s all right there, ready to go.
1. Prepare in Advance
Whether you decide to prepare your own portfolio, or order a pre-assembled one from HOME, this is your first step.
When it comes time to order your curriculum and buy school supplies, visit the HOME website and print out the Portfolio Review Packet, too. It is downloadable from the HOME website here: https://www.homeschoolersofmaine.org/events/homeportfolio-evaluations/home-portfolio-reviews-by-mail/.
If you decide to use the pre-assembled version, order one from HOME's online store: https://www.homeschoolersofmaine.org/resources/shop-resources-now/online-store/.
If you are assembling your own, purchase the items you’ll need to create the portfolio when you do your school shopping. For each child, you’ll want to consider buying:
* 1 large, three-ring binder
* 1 – 2 packages of divider tabs – you’ll need 8 – 10, depending on the subjects that you’re covering with the student. The subjects required by law include: English/Language Arts, math, science, social studies, physical education, health, fine arts, library skills and in at least one grade between 6th – 12th grade Maine Studies, and in at least one grade between 7th – 12th computer proficiency. You may have other tabs for foreign language, Bible or other topics of specific interest to your student.
* Plastic sleeves for work samples – you’ll want a minimum of 4 per subject or 40 sleeves. HOME requires that there are two work samples per subject, per quarter, or 8 progressive samples for the year.
Once you have all your supplies, assemble your portfolio, and put your attendance sheet in the front.
Now you’re ready for step 2.
2. Add Work Samples
At the end of each quarter (mark your calendar or attendance chart in advance as a reminder),
take two work samples from each subject and insert them into the portfolio you’ve assembled. At the beginning, use work samples that are less than perfect. Remember the goal is to show the progress that has been achieved through the year.
During the middle two quarters, choose work samples that show some improvement, and put them in the portfolio. During the last quarter, choose the very best samples. This will give the evaluating teacher a good perspective of the progress that has been made by the student throughout the year.
Once you’ve completed 175 days of instruction, you’re ready to submit your portfolio.
3. Submit Your Portfolio for Review
Mail it in to HOME, and a qualified HOME reviewer will evaluate it for you. Instructions on submitting the portfolio are included in the HOME Portfolio Review Packet, or inside your pre-assembled portfolio. Remember that the packet is available on the HOME website here: https://www.homeschoolersofmaine.org/events/home-portfolio-evaluations/home-portfolio-reviews-by-mail/
See, it’s still as easy as 1 – 2- 3! Even easier, actually!
Hope to see your name among those who register for a HOME Portfolio Review in 2020 and 2021!
Raylene Hunt is a veteran homeschooling mom who has graduated both of her children , she has been part of the HOME Leadership team for many years. She often coaches families through the preparation of portfolios and facilitates Group Portfolio Reviews for HOME. She lives with her family in Camden, Maine. This blog was originally published by HOME in December, 2017.