Recordkeeping: Portfolio & Grades

 

Why a Portfolio?

A portfolio requires extra time to put together each year, but it's well worth the effort. Not only will you enjoy looking through old portfolios and reminiscing about the activities and school work in which your children were involved, but some colleges prefer portfolios over grades for homeschooled students. A portfolio is more relevant to homeschooling and is an excellent way of demonstrating the type of education your child has had and what resources were used in giving him or her that education.

Supplies Needed

You will need a 3-ring binder at least 3 to 4 inches thick (You can use your child's own artwork in front if you buy one with an insertable cover.), dividers, photo album pages ("magnetic" pages for mounting photos), and clear protector pages for each child.

How to Begin

At the beginning of the school year, place the following items in the front of each portfolio.

Title Page

Include the child's name, age, grade, birthday, and a recent photo.

Medical Records

Use this section to keep track of immunizations and medical, optometry, and dental checkups.

Learning Objectives

Include a list of goals for the year in each subject. [Example: English, to include language, literature, speech, and composition. (1) gain a solid foundation in basic grammar, (2) develop clear and effective writing, (3) learn to read with discernment various types of literature, (4) continue to practice verbal communication through oral reports, speeches, and drama participation.]

Resources

Include a list of books and materials used during the year to teach the various subjects. Arrange by subject and include the title and publisher or author.

Reading List

Include a list of books your student read on his own. List the title, author, and type of book (fiction, nonfiction, poetry, etc.).

Evaluations

Include copies of report cards, transcripts, achievement test results, or professional evaluations, if applicable.

Awards

Include any awards, certificates of completion, and/or diplomas received from classes or outside activities which are not included in the sections below.

Subject Sections

Divide the remainder of the notebook into subjects. Throughout the year add to your portfolio by including the following (Don't wait until the last minute or you won't do a good job!):

Language Arts

Include copies of language arts worksheets and writing projects illustrating what he has learned in penmanship, grammar, mechanics, spelling, vocabulary, and composition. I recommend including at least one or two compositions per month showing the improvement made during the year. Include a list of literature or poetry read or include this in the Reading List above. Include certificates of completion or report cards of language arts classes he takes outside the home, illustrations or drawings your child does related to language arts, and photos of any awards your child receives related to this subject. If your child has his or her work published in any publication, include tear sheets from the publication.

Math

Put in sample pages of your child's math workbook, one or two lessons per month to illustrate what he has learned during the year. Also include samples (or list resources) of additional math activities such logic, consumer math, history of math, and math games. Include certificates of completion or report cards of math classes he takes outside the home, illustrations or drawings your child does related to math, and photos of any awards your child receives related to this subject.

Science

Include samples of written lab reports and compositions related to science, photos of your child doing lab activities (example: building a volcano), photos and brochures of field trips that are science related, certificates of completion or report cards of science classes he takes outside the home, illustrations or drawings your child does related to science (examples: a diagram of a cell or a print-out of a multimedia presentation of the planets), photos of any awards your child receives related to this subject, and sample workbook pages, if applicable.

Social Studies/History

Include samples of written compositions, photos and brochures of field trips that are history related, certificates of completion or report cards of social studies classes he takes outside the home, illustrations or drawings your child does (examples: mapwork or a print-out of a multimedia presentation of a period in ancient history), photos of any awards your child receives related to this subject, and sample workbook pages, if applicable.

Technology

Include samples of written compositions related to technology, samples showing his use of word processing software, samples of your child's internet research (examples: printing out a fact sheet on Egyptian pyramids or a diagram of the heart), photos and brochures of field trips that are technology related, certificates of completion or report cards of technology classes he takes outside the home, illustrations or drawings your child does on the computer, a print-out of a database or spreadsheet your child created, a print-out of a multimedia presentation, photos of any awards your child receives related to this subject, and sample workbook pages, if applicable.

Art

Include samples of written compositions (related to art, art appreciation, and art history), samples or photos of your child's artwork, photos and brochures of field trips that are art related, certificates of completion or report cards of art classes he takes outside the home, photos of any awards your child receives related to this subject, and sample workbook pages, if applicable.

Music

Include samples of written compositions (related to music, music appreciation, and music history), photos and brochures of field trips that are music related, certificates of completion or report cards of music classes he takes outside the home, photos and programs of your child's participation in music lessons or other music activities (examples: singing or playing on a praise and worship team or ministering to the elderly), samples of music compositions your child has written, photos of any awards your child receives related to this subject, and sample workbook pages, if applicable.

Physical Education/Health

Include photos of your child playing softball, bowling, swimming, doing aerobics, riding bicycles, attending gymnastic classes, etc. Include samples of compositions or illustrations related to health (example: diagram of the food pyramid). Include certificates of completion or report cards of physical eduation or health classes he takes outside the home, photos of any awards your child receives related to this subject, and sample workbook pages, if applicable.

Extracurricular Activities

Be sure to include photos of your child interacting with other children as proof of socialization such as playing soccer, playing games, attending church or youth group, attending birthday parties, or volunteering together to clean up a community park.

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Grades
Because grades are not required for homeschool students in Oklahoma, parents can elect to award letter grades, pass/fail, or no grades (credit awarded for course completed in lieu of grades) for each subject studied. A well-kept log book and portfolio are better indicators of what homeschool children have studied and learned. Although many colleges are now asking to see portfolios, most homeschool transcripts do include grades as this is what is expected. If a parent does choose to award letter grades, they should choose their own method of arriving at grades and add this information to their portfolio.

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Another good resource for recordkeeping is the The Checklist.

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Copyright © 2004 - by Cindy Downes