For this semester’s review, I initially was attempting to gather non-worksheet evidence of instruction. My goal was to test out how reviewers react to unschoolish types of portfolios. However, I failed! Not the review, but at pretending to be less schoolish than we are.
I was able to get a handful of photos of activities but not enough to cover all of the subjects. I had no illusions that I was going to have anything but written work for math anyway. I had to face the facts that my 7th grader produces a lot of written work for the academic subjects. It would be silly to pretend otherwise. Maybe I can try this experiment again when I have to review for kindergarten in a couple of years.
So, I changed the experiment to a digital portfolio. For previous reviews, I had made a physical 3-ring binder that contained all of my evidence and included photos of art activities. I still wanted to use the photos I had of science activities, but I did not want to pay to print them. So, I ended up making a PowerPoint slide show. The slide setup is one of the templates in PowerPoint.
On the first slide, I included all of the profile info the reviewers always ask at the beginning: student’s name, grade, birth date, address, etc. Under my email, which showed up as a link anyway, I hid a link to the state homeschooling regulations, just in case the reviewer and I happened to disagree on the specifics (or lack thereof) of the law.
Then, for each subject, I made a slide with the subject title and the name of the course, if applicable. I arranged the subjects in the same order that the reviewers go through on their write-up.
For most subjects, I included a list of the resources we have used. These were whole year lists, not just for this semester. I use Homeschool Tracker and it makes nice resource lists, but they can’t be broken down by when the resource was used within that year.
For the academic subjects, I also included a list of the topics we have covered so far this year. Again, this is the list for the whole year. I make these myself from the chapters of the textbook or curriculum topics. I made them for the first review in November and just added what we have done since. They are also a personal record for me to see how far we have come, that is why I don’t start a new list after the first review.
Following those slides, I provided evidence of actual work done by my child. For math, English, and history, that ended up being links to essays and tests. For science, music, and PE, it was photos/videos of activities.
For some subjects, such as health and art, I did not include the covered topics or work samples. Instead, I provided a log assignments or classes completed. Homeschool Tracker also makes it very easy to produce those. In fact, the lists on this slide are just screen shots of the PDFs created by Homeschool Tracker.
In my next post, I discuss the reception of this digital portfolio by the reviewer, as well as other results of the review.