Wrapping up the old year and preparing for the new.

by Darla on March 5, 2007

in Home Education

For the last month, we have been working on wrapping up our studies for the year.  We tend to work around the year, mostly because I know come spring time, I am ready to be outside enjoying everything that nature has to offer.

It is funny because it often goes something like this,

  1. Have done enough?
  2. Are my children where they should be?
  3. Are they ready to move on to _______ grade?
  4. Will they be prepared?
  5. What if I forgot something?

Apparently, I am not the only one that goes through this because as a support group leader, the phone has been ringing.

So it is time to pull out our notebooks and review everything that we have learned the past year.  If you are like my past self it is a good idea to pull your materials together and make one.  By the way when you pull it all together they often refer to it as a portfolio.

Materials needed:

  • Binder 2 or 3″ (depending on how much material you have and or want to keep)
  • page protectors.
  • dividers with blank labels
  • paper etc.

I organize my binder in the following way.  This paperwork is just in the front of the binder to make it easy for the school district to get to what they really need and it is easier for me to find it in the future when I am looking for them.

Evaluation (I make a photocopy for my personal file)

Summary (I do this for my benefit so that the evaluator can read of the things that we did but may not have proof of.)

Objectives (Education Goals for each child)

Achievement Test (photo copy only.  I keep the originals for my files.)

Attendance sheets/daily logs any immunizations, dental records, height/weight charts eye tests etc. (again I put photocopies for the school district and keep the originals)

I make up dividers for the following sections

English (filed under this topic)
Reading:  List of all the books they have read for the last year.
Spelling
Writing – Handwriting and creative
Grammar
History
Science & Health
Fine Arts:  Music and Art (divide it if you have quite a bit for each area)
Physical Education and Safety

Behind each divider I put in the appropriate materials.

Should you not like a lot of worksheets for some subjects like history or science, take pictures of the activities or projects that you do.  Have your children write in the details.  You could make a copy for the portfolio and keep the original for your scrapbook.

Adding photos makes it real and more interesting to your evaluator or school district.  You were there.  We include photos of our home school group activities, conferences, plays, musicals etc.  These are great ways to show that your children are interacting on a group level as well.

There are three ways to go about a portfolio:

One the least amount possible,

two the most you possible can, or

three make it interesting so if you are showing it to someone you care about they know the things that your child is working on and get to know them just a little better.

The last method is my preference because  there isn’t an over abundance of paperwork so that you feel like you are drowning and just enough to be entertaining.

Possibly I ruined my school district for other home educators but I had nothing but compliments from the individuals who looked through the portfolios we created.  Even though they never met my children personally, they showed genuine interest in what they were doing and they read about their year.   The  officials were always more than willing to provide the assistance that we needed to have a successful year.  It was a pleasure.

To be continued….

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