Tips on Making Portfolios

I saw a question in a Facebook group, from a mom new to homeschooling. How do you create a homeschool portfolio? I can't find the post anymore, so I will answer it here instead. These are some of the things that worked for us in our 8 years of homeschooling, by God's grace. 

Tips for Portfolio-making

1. Make a list. 

At the beginning of the school year (or quarter), map out your curriculum. Your provider usually has training classes about curriculum mapping, so check with your advisor. It is important to list down possible projects/performance tasks for the quarter. This will serve as your guide for what to include in the portfolio. The beauty of homeschooling is you can tweak as you go along, so don't feel pressured about the list being set in stone - it's not! 

2. Don't wait for the end of the quarter to start building your portfolio. Document as you go - take photos of the process, not just the output. File them in folders (physical or digital) so they are easy to compile later on. 

3. Involve the child. 

When it's time to gather and finalize the portfolio (physical or digital compilation) - help your child identify the highlights of the quarter. Resist the temptation to dictate what goes into the portfolio. Introduce apps like Canva or PowerPoint, they will have fun exploring these! 

Yes, even kids as young as Kinder can be involved in this process already. They will learn teamwork (with you as team-mate), critical thinking through grouping and classifying projects and identifying the most important events of the quarter, etc. A fun way of reviewing what they learned!

4. Highlights only. 

No need to include everything. Instead, include the highlights of learning. For the academics, focus on the hands-on projects and performance tasks. Show the life skills they learned. Did they learn to cook? Include their extra-curricular activities and hobbies. Did your family go on a road trip? Include these experiences. How did they grow in character?  What traits did they improve on and how? Do they have chores at home?

As for the seatworks and quizzes, file them for your records, but no need to bulk up the portfolio with these. It's better for a child to be able to discuss and narrate the projects and experiences of the quarter, than show the scores of individual quizzes.

5. Don't forget: it is the child's portfolio, not the parent's project. 😊 Let your child's personality and character shine! Help when needed, but give the child space to explore their independence. For example, you can help younger kids choose photos to include, then encourage them to narrate or explain in their own words, instead of making them memorize a script you wrote. Think of it as a simple Show and Tell. And as they grow older, they should learn to do everything on their own.

We really loved doing portfolio reviews throughout the years. It has trained my child to communicate her thoughts better, and it has given her the confidence to speak in front of an audience. For our family, these have proved to be a better assessment of learning, than written exams. So don't be scared of PR's! 😊 But remember, each family's homeschool journey is unique, so our portfolios will look different. Through experience, you'll find a way that works for your family. Keep going! 


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