This blog has been quiet the past few weeks. For the majority of us homeschoolers, it’s crunch time. It’s portfolio time. That’s why the kids and I have been busy completing our school year requirements. As their primary teacher my desk is swamped. I have test papers to check, subject output to grade, worksheets to collate, and pictures to upload.
This the serious yet technical part of homeschooling which I am not a fan of. Appointments are put on hold because I try my best to focus on completing this valuable proof of our homeschooling year.
First of all, what is a portfolio? A homeschool portfolio is a form of record-keeping. It documents the child’s progress the entire year by highlighting how learning was accomplished through quizzes and exams, projects (output) and narratives. Portfolios may also include photos of the child doing a certain task like performing on stage, joining in art exhibits, or enrolling in a sports activity. Field trips and family adventures can also be a source of learning so documentation of these can also be included.
For other homeschool providers like TMA and Peniel, they require portfolios to be submitted quarterly or yearly. This tool validates what your child has been learning for the last 10-12 months.
When I started making portfolios back in 2009, to tell you frankly, I was overwhelmed by the amount of work to be done. I am already teaching my child then I have to keep a record of everything and submit them? I couldn’t understand or probably didn’t want to accept that this is part of homeschooling.
My negative attitude towards portfolio making was aggravated when I saw the portfolios of the other kids’ who were also enrolled in our previous homeschool provider. I felt a sense of mediocrity and was ashamed to even present our portfolio. Ours was a simple, matter-of-fact presentation while theirs were 4 to 5 inches thick filled with colorful cutouts and studded with beads and other trinkets!
But a very encouraging consultant comforted me by saying though our portfolio was simple, it was complete. In fact she discouraged me from making a scrapbook out of the portfolio. “Portfolios are not scrap books” those were her words. The weight was off my shoulders and was relieved of undue stress. Don’t get me wrong, we are all for creativity and excellence but ultimately, the child is presenting himself, what he learned and how he is using that learning in everyday life and you don’t need glitter glue to do that.
So how do I make our portfolio? Let me share with you a few simple reminders before buying that expensive paper-cutter or that cutie wrapping paper.
Any homeschooler should have a plastic bin, a level drawer or a big box to keep all your kids’ quizzes, projects, artwork and all other stuff related to homeschooling. If you are doing multi-level homeschooling, you may want to have a separate container for each child so that it’s easy to search and collate later on.
Collate all the quizzes, exams, worksheets you will include in your portfolio. Select only the quizzes and output, you don’t have to include everything. Arrange them per quarter and per subject. No specific chronology of subjects are required but I prefer starting with Math or English then followed by the rest of the other subjects.
Prepare your materials like three-ring binder or spiral binder, construction paper or colored paper, scissors, colored pens and glue. Don’t forget extra plastic fillers in case you need more.
If your child is artsy, go ahead and buy other crafts supplies you need but again don’t overdo it. The embellishments may drown the content of your child’s work.
In choosing the output, ask your child what he/she thinks is his/her best work. If you are enrolled in TMA, allowing your child to choose the best work will give him/her the confidence to present to the assigned consultant.
Other output suggestions include essays, book reports, copies of experiments conducted with conclusions and photos, art projects, music piece, craft projects etc. There are a million ways to show what your child has learned throughout the year.
Refrain from making a photo album of your portfolio. Select appropriate photos to highlight learning. For example, in Science you can add photos of your experiment or a field trip to the Planetarium of Manila Ocean Park. Assign your child to put captions on each photo you will present.
Don’t forget to include the grades and whatever reports your homeschooler provider requires you to submit.
Finally, we moms are simply to record, document, collate and organize our kids’ work. Their portfolio is the end result of their hard work for the entire school year. We are not presenting them as our students but they are presenting themselves as lovers of learning. Let’s thank God for that.
Have you submitted your portfolio lately or completing one? What other inclusions can I find in your portfolio?