NotebooksThe new law that affected homeschooling in 2015 made significant changes to the Portfolio Requirement. You still have to do one, but you will NOT turn it in to the school district!

That will be a big relief to the school districts to not have to handle and review all those folders. But that also means that your evaluator is the sole audience of all your work. Which for me means that I have an increased “liability” before the law to make sure families are doing a good job as there is no one else double-checking, so to speak.

In the past, the definition of a portfolio kind of evolved to mean “a 3-ring notebook divided into section with samples of work for each subject, sampled throughout the year.” Some families spent quite a bit of time trying to make the folder attractive and impressive to the district office staff. You are certainly welcome to continue doing that if you like! Perhaps you keep your Portfolios as a “yearbook” or “Show and Tell” book to share with family and grandparents or as a future time-capsule of work that was done. Some parents find that creating a portfolio brings closure to the year and helps them recognize all the work that truly was accomplished.

However, for some, putting together the portfolio is a huge time-consuming project, and pages are being ripped out of workbooks and notebooks, thus ruining them.

If you prefer, you can just bring those notebooks and workbooks in their entirety to show me the progress throughout the year. I can juggle looking through several books that you have put into a box or crate to bring along. You do not have to create a 3-ring binder if you don’t want to. And you will NOT be submitting anything to the school district other than my evaluation report. So relax!

TIP: If there are specific examples of assignments that you want to highlight for me in a notebook, please mark them with a post-a-note or in some way so that we don’t inadvertently miss them.

The “portfolio” review and interview should not be a huge headache for you — you are just showing me what work your teen has done throughout the year.

SUGGESTION: While at the PHAA conference recently, someone suggested that parents should require their child to write the date on every assignment as they complete it, and if it is a loose paper, put their name on it, too. That will really help document “sustained progress throughout the year.”