What you Need to Assemble a Stellar Homeschool Portfolio

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When my husband and I decided that we were going to homeschool, the first thing that I wanted to know was what type of reporting we would be required to do…my daughter was 2 ½ at the time…I was definitely on the ball!  In Maine we have a few different options, the two standard options are some sort of standardized test, and the other is a portfolio review by a Maine certified teacher.

One of the main reasons for our decision to start homeschooling was to get away from standardized testing, so I knew that was not the choice for us.  I love scrapbooking, and immediately thought a portfolio would be a wonderful option for our family.

However, when it came time to do my first official portfolio review last year, I was scared out of my wits!

What you Need to Assemble a Stellar Homeschool Portfolio

I knew that I had the basics covered and that we could show “progress” in each of the subject areas, but my biggest question was – did we do enough?

Today I want to talk to you about the supplies that I currently use to put together a portfolio for review, and then in my next post I will talk about what to include in your portfolio.

When I decided on a portfolio review, I thought that I would obviously make a beautiful scrapbook for each year of school, and for each child.  You may know where this is going – it did not at all turn out that way.  Instead, I realized that I could barely get baby books made for my kids, so I’m not sure why I thought I would have a beautiful scrapbook of their school work for each year.

Instead, I realized that my portfolio needed to be more functional, and take a little pressure off of me.  I was already anxious about having a teacher sit down and evaluate what we had done, I knew that I did not have the mind space to be as creative as I had hoped.

The first item you will need for your homeschool portfolio is a binder.  I have chosen a 3 inch D-ring binder that is 12x12 – the reason for this will be clear shortly.  I may not necessarily have 3 inches worth of paper that needs to go in there, but I like to have the option, and since I have been making binders for the kids for several years now, there are definitely times that I wish I had a larger binder.

The next piece to my puzzle is sheet protectors.  I use these for all the papers that I put in the book.  It may be a little extra work, but knowing that if someone spills something (someone always spills something) my pages are protected, that makes me happy.  I think it makes for a cleaner look as well, and saves me from punching holes in all the work, pages, etc.

The next item that I use is 4”x4” photo pocket sleeves.  Ever since I got an Instagram account I have religiously documented my kids and what they are doing – if we go on a field trip, it goes on Instagram; if they are doing a special project, Instagram; pretty much anything homeschool related goes on Instagram.  I use a specific hashtag for my photos that I will use for a homeschool portfolio, and then at the end of the year I can easily upload them to Snapfish and have them printed for me.

I also do have some normal 4”x6” pocket sleeves as well for the times that I pull out my nice camera and take actual photos of projects, artwork, field trips, etc.  But, those are a lot less frequent than my use of Instagram.

I do print out a good deal of information on my HP Deskjet Wireless Printer.  This printer is really small, which means I can easily tuck it away when we aren’t using it, but it is a powerhouse and does a wonderful job printing color, which I love to use.  I may not be able to make a legit scrapbook, but I am going to use as much color and pretty accents as I can manage!

My last items are my *Erin Condren Teacher Planner Notebook and my Staedtler Pens.  I am a planner, and so I spend a lot of time looking through my teacher planner and writing out exactly what I want to include in the portfolio before I even attempt to put it together.  It makes the “putting together” part so much more seamless when I already know what order, and what items need to go in the binder.

Next time I will share what I put in the homeschool binder, and other items I keep from my kids’ school year.


Do you make a portfolio or scrapbook for your child each year?  If your kids are in public school - what do you do with all the papers and projects from the year?

*If you sign up for an Erin Condren account through this link - they will send you a code for $10 off your first order!

Linked to - Homeschool Nook

33 comments:

  1. My sister in law was just telling me yesterday that she is planning on homeschooling my niece who is starting Kindergarten in September. This is going to help her a lot.

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  2. This is super helpful for those thinking of homeschooling. Its not something in our plan but I think its great for those who do it!

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  3. I homeschool and keep all the work my kids complete in neatly organized binders. Luckily Illinois has very little homeschool oversight.

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  4. As a teacher, I can attest to the fact that there is SO MUCH WORK that gets sent home!! I'm sure as a parent, you want to treasure each and every work sample or project your child works on, but it can add up to be so much!

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  5. I use my Erin Condren teacher planner for my college classes and give my students a discount at the end of my course! I love it. I can't wait to see more about the portfolio itself.

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  6. This is great, wish I would have seen this before this year when I pulled kids out and homeschooled them! - Jeanine

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  7. We homeschool, but don't really keep a portfolio so to speak. We are ending our second year (6th grade), and I just have a folder with work in it that my daughter has done this year. However, we have chosen an umbrella school in our state that doesn't require keeping portfolios.

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  8. It pays to be organized, doesn't it! I love all of these tools and devices for keeping paperwork in check.

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  9. I've always been curious about homeschooling. I went to school my whole life and I don't have kids yet but I have wondered often what kind of curriculum homeschooling would entail. This was cool to read :)

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  10. Sometimes I think I would enjoy homeschooling, and other times I realize how much work it really is! Thanks for the insight.

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  11. Glad you found a process that works well for you. It's great that there are guidelines for parents to follow when it comes to educating their children at home. I am a firm believer in doing what's best for you but I really do think guidelines need to be very strict.

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  12. Good for you with all the ways you can teach at home. And, super important to be organized in the process!

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  13. Homeschooling is such a great gift for your children. Good for you to have that dedication!

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  14. This is a great start for homeschoolers! Being organized is SO important!

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  15. I've been tossing around the idea of homeschooling my middle son for several reason. I will keep this in mind if I go that route!

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  16. Hahaha! We all have dreams of making amazing scrapbooks for each of our children. It's impressive you realized how unrealistic it'd be so early on!

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  17. I have thought about homeschooling, but honestly it seems so overwhelming! This is a great to do list to get started with!

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  18. You are very organized knowing that you wanted to home school at such a young age. I admire anyone with the dedication to do that x

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  19. I have a friend of mine that home schools her daughter. She could probably use every bit of this. I think I will pass this information onto her.

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  20. This is a great idea for tracking your kids' progress and having some nice memories for the future. It's always fun to look back and see where you've been and what you've learned.

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  21. I admire parents who homeschool their kids. I can never do it. I think it's​nice that you chose something that you're comfortable with. This portfolio sounds great.

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  22. I admire people who homeschool although it isn't really an option for us and homeschooling is a little different here in the UK!

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  23. I'm not homeschooling but I could use these same tips for other things with my kids! Thanks so much for sharing!

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  24. What a great foundation to start learning with! This would be great for any home.

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  25. This is a great topic. We don't homeschool and I imagine it's tough to stay organized.

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  26. Okay thank you thank you thank you!!! I'm going to be doing my first real year of homeschool this year with my kids. I'm looking for all the tips I can get. I'm excited but definitely nervous about it!

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  27. Ooooo such a great resource for all those homeschooling mamas and papas out there!! I have a bestie who is thinking about homeschooling her kiddo. I need to send her this

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  28. Great list! My kids were cyber school for a couple of years. They liked it at first but then started missing being physically at school.

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  29. I honestly do not think that I could do homeschooling, but I really admire those who can!

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  30. This is really helpful for other people who home school. As an Early Years teacher, I know how important it is to have evidence and show why you believe a specific thing. Plus it's very important to stay organised!

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  31. These are all such great ideas! We have not home schooled but I have friends that would love this checklist.

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  32. I don't home school, but I can easily understand how easy it is to get disorganized. Especially since I work at home.

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  33. Misty Nelson DawnJune 9, 2017 at 5:58 PM

    This is really an Interesting read and I love the ideas of home school to my son and all get organized.

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