If you have been homeschooling in Ohio, you are required to have your student’s work assessed to verify that you did indeed educate your little darling(s) in the previous school year.
The first option is to have Junior tested using a standardized test at the completion of your school year and give a copy of the results to your school district.The second option, and the one we have used for our 7 years of homeschooling, is to have a licensed teacher review a portfolio of your school materials to assess that they worked according to their ability this past year. The third option is to have your school superintendent agree to some alternative form of testing/assessment if your situation requires something more creative than the first two options.
It is September 13…and I just had my children’s work assessed by a teacher a couple of days ago…for the 2013-2014 year! Yes, it should have been turned in already and yes I’m running behind. Summer slipped between my fingers like some illusive dream and now here we are…almost fall, back to school…time to get it together.
When we first started homeschooling, I had no idea what one of these reviews should include…did I need several 3″ binders filled with coloring pages, handwriting worksheets and craft projects. Did I need actual projects…you know that volcano we made or leaves sandwiched between wax paper? What did I need exactly. Well I’m not super organized. I think I lose brain cells by the end of spring…I’m SO READY to be done with school. So my 1st…2nd..3rd…. portfolios were pretty much the same. I would throw all their half-finished notebooks, textbooks, folders etc into a tote and haul it off to the library or wherever I was meeting our teacher to “assess” our portfolio. All the while, I was saying a little prayer that they would find our pile of papers acceptable and “pass” us! Now thankfully, the teacher’s that have reviewed our portfolios have all been homeschool moms themselves..so they get it. They get the mess, disorganization, the whole learning curve that never ends with homeschooling.
That said, we have been having our “portfolio” reviewed for 6 years or so and here are a few tips for putting one together that you can feel confident showing your teacher and not break your back hauling every scrap of their work. I myself am going to refer back to my own list as I tend to start pitching things before I really think about whether I might need to show it to someone for our review.
Ten Tips for a Successful Homeschool Portfolio Review
- Make a list of every subject your child did for the year.
- Under each subject, list your textbooks or other books you used.
- Write down any field trips, museum and zoo visits and travel or vacations you took.
- Write down a list of literature or enjoyment books your student read or listened to.(This does not have to be a complete list and gives an idea your child’s reading level and interests)One of my sons loves audio books and listens to many so we include those too. (scroll down to find an example of what I wrote out for my son’s portfolio)**
- Add activities your child participated in: music lesson, co-op classes, sports, online classes….pretty much any learning experience not covered by the previous lists.
- Add a few notes about your child’s hobbies or current interests. (I’m always so blessed when someone takes the time to ask my kids about their interests and by adding these things in, it both keeps a memory for me and gives the reviewer something to jumpstart friendly conversation).
- Set aside your math workbook or a few pages of math done. We don’t test but you could add math tests or whatever you like here. (Our teacher was looking to see if they completed pages or if they skipped a lot etc)
- Pull out a writing sample or two. (I had thrown away a lot of my kids things from last year before this review so I went ahead and had one or two of them do a page of copywork to include).
- Bring a book your child knows so your reviewer can hear them read aloud.
- Lastly but most important…DON’T STRESS! It’s really not worth it. You did your best. If it wasn’t a great year, let it go. If it was, enjoy your moment. Having an organized portfolio helps me feel less stressed since I have so many to get done but I’ve literally thrown each kids stuff in their own old milk crates and let the teachers flip through that too.
When you meet with your reviewing teacher, separate each child’s work and you are ready to go. At the completion of your review, he/she will give you a signed form to turn to your school. In case you need to bring a copy (because not all teachers are familiar with this), you can find a copy HERE.
**Below is a sample of the sheet I used to put together our basic portfolio for each child. I added their writing sample, math workbook and reading book to this sheet and had a manageable overview of what we had done for each child for the year.