How To Make A Homeschool Portfolio
Once you begin homeschooling, you are required per Florida Statute 1002.41 to maintain a portfolio of records and materials used by your children. A portfolio is simply just a collection of your student's work.
Parents are required to preserve the portfolio for 2 years and must make it available for inspection by the district school superintendent (or agent) upon 15 days’ written notice. However, inspection is not required, and should you be asked to make your portfolio available for inspection, it is only to confirm that you are complying with Florida statutes, not to evaluate its contents or your child.
It is highly advisable that you do not dispose of any high school work, and preserve all 4 years (instead of only the 2 years required by the Florida homeschool law). Colleges have been known to dispute course work, so it would be beneficial if you have the records readily available.
A portfolio may be done in any manner that you choose, but it must consist of the following:
- A log of educational activities that is made contemporaneously with the instruction, designating by title any reading materials used; and
- Samples of any writings, worksheets, workbooks, or creative materials used or developed by the child.
How To Set Up A Portfolio
The important thing is to not stress over it too much. Remember, God equips you for that to which he has called you. If you are stressing over it, just think of it more like saving things your child does in school that you're proud of or you want to remember, and not so much as a chore the state requires of you.
Setting up your child's portfolio early in the school year will save you time in the long run. Continuing to add to it throughout the year will alleviate much stress at year end. *Helpful Hint! Place plastic page protectors in your activity sections and file brochures, photos, programs, etc in them throughout the year. That way you have everything in one place and you can create pages for them over time.
Portfolio style options include:
- 3 ring binder
- Accordion folder
- File folders
Set up category tabs for whatever portfolio option you choose.
Mandatory items to be included in portfolio:
1. Daily Log (contemporaneous lesson plans) - You may want control of this yourself, but I personally find this very tedious so I put my children in charge of this as soon as they are capable. When they were young, I printed out weekly logs for them to fill out with each days work and hand into me on Friday. As they got older, each year I purchase a student calendar and let them fill their lessons in the calendar and then I put the calendar into the portfolio. My son keeps his log in his IPod calendar - techie. Be sure to include any field trips and activities in this daily log.
2. Reading Log (list of curriculum used and books read throughout the year) I usually make two different forms: A. Curriculum Used (include any textbooks and workbooks used) B. Books Read - be sure to include all read alouds, books on tape, night time stories, books read for fun, as well as books assigned in school.
3. Samplings of student's work: A sampling does not mean including every page of school work completed, but still includes enough to give a thorough picture of progression in a given subject throughout the year.
Tabs For Work Samples
The tabs used will depend on subjects you cover throughout the year. This list is a broad selection, so pick and choose the ones that apply to your student. You may also include photos of your child engaged in learning activities, extracurricular activities, homeschool group events, etc.
- Bible (You may include a list of scripture memorized here.)
- Language Arts
o Writing (Composition)
o Samples and progress reports
o Work samples
- Unit Studies
- Social Studies
- Foreign Language
o Field trips
o Church activities
o Homeschool group events
- Grades (Grades are not required by state law. It is wise to keep grade records for homeschool students who wish to participate in public or private school sports programs for which you must provide a report card or transcript.)
I have met many parents that take the opportunity to use the homeschool portfolio as a scrapbook for their children. They decorate and journal pages including photos of their activities, co-ops and field trips. One mom I know, when her daughter was graduating, took special memories from each of her 12 portfolios (photos, stories and poems written, artwork, etc.) and bound them into a book and presented her daughter with it as a graduation present. What a sweet gift of treasured memories.
Be Diligent To What Is Required
Be grateful that the Lord has made it easy to homeschool in Florida. There are only a few things that Florida law requires of homeschoolers, and a concurrent portfolio is one of them; be diligent and do what is required of you. Laziness, or the attitude of "not having to be accountable to authorities" will only lead to increased regulation and more paperwork for everyone. "So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin." James 4:17