Monday, May 21, 2012

My Homeschool Portfolio

Many home schoolers keep portfolios of a child’s work. It is a good way to see how a child progresses. It can be a wonderful keepsake when the children get older. Some states and umbrella programs require keeping a portfolio.
My state requires a portfolio. Portfolios are not difficult to create and they are not as intimidating as I first thought they would be. Some can be very detailed and others are very basic. Here are the four basic parts of my portfolios:

Resources used and book lists
For my resources used section, I just start a word document at the beginning of the year and write the curriculum I am planning to use. Don’t forget to add sports, outside classes, lessons and co-ops. They all count towards education.

My book list is harder to complete at the beginning of the year because I don’t always know in advance which books each child will read. For my book list section I start another document and add all the readers my child reads as they complete them. You can also create a book list with Homeschool Tracker.

There are many ways to keep track of attendance. You could print off a calendar and mark which days you did school work, Donna Young has some really great Attendance Forms. There a tons of other Attendance Forms online. I use Homeschool Tracker. It is super simple. Any day that you mark an assignment as complete, they count that day as present. I just click on the reports tab and then attendance. I select the date we started school and the current date. Then I click to load the report and print at the end of the end or right before a portfolio review.

Lesson Plans
I rely heavily on Homeschool Tracker plus for this. I create lesson plans during the summer and submit them to a specific date every two weeks. I mark the assignments we complete daily. Right before a review I print them out. Donna Young has many great forms for lesson plans or wouldn’t be too difficult to create an excel sheet or to use a printed home school planner.

Samples of Work
In this section I try to select one or two examples of a child’s work for the year from each subject. This could be art work, worksheets, narrations, lab forms, test, and photographs of things that don’t easily fit in a binder. This is my favorite part of a portfolio. My kids love to look back a see what they have completed that year. They also love to see their portfolios from past years and see how far they have come.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Old Schoolhouse Digital Version Review

I have been reading “The Old Schoolhouse” magazine for a while now. I must admit I was a little reluctant when the switched to digital. While the no longer have the paper version of the magazine, what they have now is so much better. For starters, I don’t have to wait for months to get the next issue. They now have 12 issues a year instead of 4. They also have a cool app for android and apple. It is so easy to use. You can view the pictures or a text version. You can search the magazine by keyword. You can save articles for later. There are even videos so you can see the products or writers. With the new app I feel more a part of the “TOS” community. I highly recommend the digital version of the magazine and the apps.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Almost to the finish line!

We have 174 of the 180 days we need to complete. I am so excited to finish. At the finish line, I ditched Heart of Dakota's Science completely. I just couldn't stomach it anymore. My kids don't even see the point. We read a page about the sun. The majority of the page was bible related, not facts about the sun. The only facts about the sun were that the sun is very big, 93 million miles away, you can see it in the daytime, and it is bright. My kids already knew this. They asked is that it? I told them yeah that's it. And it is, it is the last time I will use there science. I loved using Real Science Odyssey for kids. I was hoping for something even meatier with HOD. It wasn't. I am undecided as to what we will use next year. I ditched the Morning Bells book long ago. It was painfully boring. I also ditched The history section of Beyond. I got tired of reading about stories of the poor white children who were brave when they saw the mean indians and their "cruel designs." I want a history that is a little less distorted. I loved using SOTW I am a little sad we finished them all. I just ordered Sonlight Core B/C. Based upon the reviews, I didn't ordered their science. I am trying to decided between NOEO and Elemental Science. HOD wasn't all bad. We liked the poetry and the Bible memorization, my kids liked the crafts, and I liked the read alouds. My favorite part was emerging reader selections. The pluses aren't worth continuing. I can't wait to start fresh in the fall.