I've stumbled upon something ELSE I feel as though (as a good homeschooling, record-keeping, organizing freak of a mommy) I should do: a year-end portfolio.
I don't remember how I happened upon this gem of a homeschooling task, but once I learned of it, I researched it to death. Some states REQUIRE this - as in you have to submit certain documents in a portfolio at the end of every school year. I just like the idea of it because I can consolidate the highlights of our academic year in one place.
Now, I KNOW you're just DYING to know what is in mine [I hate that you can't express sarcasm in print without resorting to emoticons, but please know that last little ditty is dripping with sarcasm]. I have all of this crammed in a 1" three-ring binder with clear pockets on the outside. Soon discovering the folly of my early portfolio organization - and realizing how quickly it will become disorganized if little hands come upon it - I recognize that a 1" binder won't cut it. I'm hoping 2 inches will contain the important documents of Casey's first year of home school.
So, contained within this already overflowing binder are the following items:
TAB 1: Summary, Calendar, Schedule
SUMMARY - A brief summation of the progress Casey made in each of the subjects studied and some detail of specifics studied with the subjects - Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, History, Art, Music, Other Activities, and Extra Topics of Study Pursued (mainly the off-topic lapbooks we made).
CALENDAR - A calendar of our academic year, color-coded to show regular school days, field trips, and performances.
SCHEDULE - A couple of pages from my lesson plans showing our schedule.
TAB 2: CURRICULUM
A chart detailing the texts and additional books used in each subject we covered, along with another (extremely brief) summary of the topics of each subject. The form I used a modified version of a form found here.
TAB 3: ACTIVITIES
A list and brief description of the activities Casey was involved in - similar to the summary detailed above.
TAB 4: MEMORIZATION
I'll either put a list of the things Casey memorized here OR I'll print the poems (etc.). I haven't decided - probably the poems she memorized so we can look back one day, instead of looking it up.
TAB 5: FIELD TRIP LOG
I created an Excel spreadsheet with columns for date, place, location, and summary of what we saw. I had to pull out my calendars to remember everything.
TAB 6: HOME SCHOOL BLOG
I printed out all of my Weekly Reports and any other entries I made regarding Casey's education. I even printed a few Wordless Wednesday entries. I like these because they go into more detail about our trips and studies, and they also provide photos (which is something I wanted to put into my portfolio anyway, so this was a convenient way of accomplishing that).
TAB 7: WORK AND ARTWORK SAMPLES
In this tab I put a couple of spelling tests, a math assessment along with a couple of worksheets, two science activity sheets, one copy work assignment, one original writing (narrated to me and recorded by me), a couple of history worksheets, and artwork (one each using marker, crayons, pencil, and watercolor). Part of my doing this portfolio is to cut down on the amount of stuff I'm holding onto - I'm trying to move on from my pack-rat ways. Besides, if I kept everything, I'd have a huge tub for each year for each child; by the time they graduate high school, there would be 36 tubs! No way! That said, I'm keeping her history notebook in addition to the portfolio.
TAB 8: READING LOG
Yet another Excel document I created a while back, I've put this in the portfolio as well.
There are a few other things I'll add: reading and math assessments I'll give Casey in a few weeks; sheet protectors to put lapbooks in; something else that I can't remember right now. Then once the portfolio is finished - the finishing touch being a cover sheet Casey can make for the binder - I'll get rid of a lot of the other work that we don't need to keep.
So... is that enough stuff? See why I need at least 2-inches of binder space?
EDITED: During a review of the law in my state regarding homeschooling, I read that the homeschooling parent must write an annual progress report and retain it for three years. The portfolio and its contents should suffice.
Our Last First Day of School
6 months ago