HSF: Discussions between Homeschoolers

Samples of Work to Keep


I really don't know how to ask this question but here goes: When you are keeping samples of your child's work, how do you know what to keep and what not too? We have had so much going on this year that most of her stuff I can't find. We just recently moved into a new home and are starting all over again. Long story and won't go into it.

Cindy joe.gif
My kids have notebooks for some subjects (history, science, language, math) and everything they do is filed in them. At the end of the year it will be easy to sort through and choose the best ones to put in a permanent file. For other subjects like Latin and art, I sort as I go. The notebook system works well for us - it's easy for me because the kids do their own filing, and the children love their "books".

That's a very good idea. I might try that with my daughter. It's just getting her motivated to do it herself, instead of "Mom" doing it for her.
Oh, no - I didn't mean to imply that my kids were motivated! smile I have to tell them each time they complete an assignment to put it away, or else it would sit on the table for weeks. This is what happens every time they finish with a subject:

"Mom, I'm finished."
"Good for you, now put your papers and books away."

If that exchange does not occur, papers do not get filed! It's like it's an incantation or something!
Notebooks here too. As for end of year stuff I have no idea ... it's our first year homeschooling. cup.gif
I'm more of a packrat. I keep her work during the school year in binders or in hanging files in my cabinet beside my desk, depending on subject. We're trying more notebooking now, so this year might be a little different as she wants me to have her history notebook (which also includes her writing assignments, etc) bound. Normally at the end of Spring I go through the files and pull out samples for the portfolio. (I get too nervous about what to select so I pick a starting date and do every two months from that point till the end in each subject. That takes the decision off of me. Anything extraordinary also goes in. The rest gets filed into her notebooks and is placed, along with any workbooks, etc. into a large Rubbermaid bin. These get labeled with the child's name (since we have bins for two older girls too), dated with grade/year, and stacked in the basement. So far this system has worked for me ... or maybe it's just that I'm too scared to throw anything away! lol

FYI - I grew up with a mom that still has boxes of my school stuff packed along with every toy and book that I ever owned. It's in my blood. blush.gif
The reason why I can't find most of my daughter's things is because we just came off the road from living in a Semi-Truck for the last year. I homeschooled while going down the road. My daughter learned quite a bit. When we emptied out the truck some stuff was thrown out and I have no clue if any of her things were thrown out.

I am pretty organized, but if anyone knows what we went through then they would know that it was hard. Now I am trying to get back on the right track with everything. I am looking for new ideas to try. cup.gif badday.gif
What State do you live in? Do you have to show your work? If not, I wouldn't worry about it. If you have to show a portfolio, then put together what you can and get an evaluator that is sympathetic to homeschoolers, or even better, one that is a homeschooler herself. I'm sure she will understand if your portfolio is patchy, given the circumstances.
I have two suggestions that might help with your problem. First, if your state is very restrictive about homeschooling, I would suggest that you go online to your state's education agency's web site to look for a list of essential elements that the state requires of its public schools. This could help you prioritize the types of items to put in the portfolio if you have to have the portfolio examined. I am not suggesting that you teach exactly what the state is asking of the public schools, but I do think that it can be helpful in getting an idea of what officials feel is important in education. For example, if you are aware that in the third grade, your state requires descriptive writing to be taught, you can make sure to include a sample of a descriptive writing in your portfolio. Also, in my previous life as a public school teacher, portfolios were required for each child. It is important that you decide what elements or skills you want to teach, and then, in the portfolio, look for the best examples. It is not important to have 20 samples of a skill when you can convey the same message that there is learning taking place in your homeschool by including a few very good samples. Also, make sure that your items are not all from one or two months, but are instead from the entire year. The main point is to show yourself, your children and officials that there is progress and learning taking place throughout your school year.

That leads me to my second suggestion. If you are blessed as we are to live in a homeschool-friendly state that doesn't require portfolios, just save items that are important to you and/ or your child and the items that will help you show where you have been. This helps us feel great to look back at past work and see how far we have actually come. This can also help you see where there may be areas that you need to expand, reteach or move on from. If this doesn't help, I believe I have seen books in our Christian bookstore that help in developing portfolios.
Because we are in the process of relocating from Indiana to Michigan, we have been doing a great deal of traveling. So each of my kids have a binder for each subject that stays at home & a trapper keeper that travels with us. They bring their notebooks to the table along with their text books. (or whatever else they use.) Then I also have a large binder for each of them that I keep as a portfolio. It has all the pertinent information for myself and will go to house various papers I would like to keep at the end of the year. The rest will probably be boxed up/thrown out/scrapbooked.
What I do with my son is I get a Notebook write down the date and the subjects that he does, then under each subject I write exactly what he does. If he has trouble in a subject I write what the trouble is in Red and that away I know what he needs to work more on, But this year we are leaning more towards unschooling smile.gif

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