By Hannah Overlock
Learning is a process. It is often messy, spontaneous, and happens in unexpected ways. That is one of the beauties of homeschooling. You can teach your child in the way that they learn best, in their own time. This can cause many families to struggle showing all of the many topics their child has learned when the end-of-the-year assessment comes.
Here are some tips to keep in mind at the beginning of the school year to make your year as stress-free as possible.
- Pictures Count! A common theme during portfolio reviews is the challenge of documenting experiential, hands-on learning. A picture truly can be worth one thousand words. Keep your phone handy and snap quick shots of school time. Keep a folder on your phone or in Drive for easy organization once it is time to put together a portfolio. Write a brief description of the learning that took place.
- One lesson can be many subjects! Some parents wonder how they can fit so many school subjects into a single day. Learning experiences can span multiple topics. It is ok to use a Mayan culture lesson for social studies and art/pottery. Angry Birds can teach science, math, art/architecture, and PE. Teachers who complete portfolio reviews for HOME are familiar with homeschooling and will understand when the same human anatomy lessons are listed for both science and health.
- Your phone is your friend. Even the most organized homeschool parents struggle to keep up with documenting learning as it happens. Each parent needs a different system to help them keep track of learning throughout the year. For many parents, Google Drive, Snapchat, or just taking pictures with a camera phone is an easy way to save work in an organized, timely fashion. At the end of the week or month, go through your saved photos of books read, projects completed, or videos made and file them away for the end of the year.
- Give some responsibility to the kids. It is crucial to teach children to be responsible at an early age. It is also easier said than done... Find small ways to give students responsibility to show you what they learn. For younger students, this may be as simple as placing completed papers and projects into a designated location. For older students, try keeping a reading list or PE activity log on the fridge. Give students the responsibility of logging their work throughout the school year. Small acts like this will, not only lesson your workload, but will actually help your students grow productive, healthy habits.
Hannah is blessed with a wonderful husband and 4 amazing kiddos. She is a certified, public school science teacher turned homeschool mom. Hannah enjoys reading, exploring nature, and sharing nerdy moments with her kids.