The phrase “keeping homeschool portfolio” can sound really scary to homeschoolers that follow a traditional curriculum and sound absolutely absurd to someone that leans more towards child-lead learning. I’ve been on both sides of the homeschooling spectrum and found that keeping a homeschool portfolio had a lot of benefits.
A homeschool portfolio is a great way to keep track of how well your child does throughout their homeschooling years. I think it’s fun to look back at everything we’ve accomplished. It’s especially great when you’re feeling frustrated or burnout to take a little walk through previous portfolios.
My kids loved to look at them too. They looked at them like a scrapbook of everything they did. We’d often pull out portfolios from years passed and they would say “Oh, I remember when we did that! That was so much fun!.” Or, “Wow! My handwriting has really gotten better, hasn’t it?” To them, it was something fun (for me too, obviously), but they were also reinforcing what they learned previously!
A homeschool portfolio can also be helpful during the college admissions process. Most colleges ask for transcripts. There are plenty of services to help with that, or you can make your own, but you have to remember what to put on it! Believe me, if you are sitting down to get your child’s transcript together during your senior year, it can be hard to remember everything he or she did during their freshmen year. We were also in the situation when we applied to one college where they wanted to see a sample of the work we did. BAM! Drop 4 huge 3-ring binders down in front of them and they had no more questions.
Keeping a portfolio isn’t too difficult. You need a BIG 3-ring binder for each year (one per child) and all you need to do is keep the important projects in there along with a running list of books read, textbooks or curriculum used and anything else that could be counted for credit later on. If you keep grades, add that to your portfolio too.
My system for keeping the portfolio was to collecting all of the school work, project etc, in an “inbox” for each child and one week, I would sit down, hole punch and file. I was fairly selective in what we kept in the binder.
Another super easy way to keep a homeschool portfolio is to have your child keep his or her own daily planner and journal, adding in the completed assignments to the binder. (You can read more about this system and grab your free homeschool planner worksheet for kids right here.)
The benefits of keeping a homeschool portfolio far outweigh the time investment (and, in reality, it doesn’t take that long).