Homeschool Portfolios: Planning 3

portfolios-1

In my last post I wrote about how I go about picking the topics I use to plan my portfolio at the beginning of the year so it is ready for the end of the year.

There is one more BIG piece of how I do it that I thought I would share with you. 

After I have my schedule of what needs to be done each month (the first post on this series) and I have the topics I will be studying (the second post in this series) I move onto the this part of the process which I will call my organization of all those papers ūüôā

My Organization of All Those Papers

What papers? You ask. Well, if you have been following along with this series of posts you now have a plan of what needs to be done and what topics you want to do for the year. The next step is to combine these to topics into useful samples to send in.

For each topic I print up a paper to match or write up my plan for picture taking for the topic. I am going to use the sample from the second post in this series for my examples below.

For your convenience I am going to list them here again so you don’t have to keep looking back and forth between posts.

Here is WHAT I said I would study from the second post in my series about portfolio creation.

  • Language Arts
    • Phonics
    • Beginning Spelling
    • Handling Books
    • Handwriting
  • Math
    • Counting
    • Beginning Addition and Subtraction Facts
    • Measurement
    • Money
  • History
    • Farm and Zoo
    • Basic Geography Terms
    • Making a Simple Map
    • Neighborhood Helpers
  • Physical Education
    • Riding Horses
  • Health
    • Personal Hygiene
  • Science
    • Farm Animals
    • Birds
    • Plants
    • Weather
  • Fine Arts
    • Painting

Here is WHEN I said I would do them from the first post in this series:

  1. August
    a. Language Arts: 1 sample
    b. Math: 1 sample
    c. Science: 1 sample (a report on a topic, 1st of the written samples)
    d. List of 2 books to read this month (only month with 2 books)
    e. Fine Arts: 1 sample  (done with Fine Arts for the year)
  2.  September
    a. Language Arts: 1 sample
    b. Math: 1 sample
    c. History: 1 sample (a report on a topic, 2nd of the written samples)
    d. 1 book to read this month
    e. Physical Education: 1 sample (done with Phys. Ed. for the year)
  3. October
    a. Science: 1 sample
    b. 1 book to read this month
    c. Health: 1 sample (done with Health for the year)
  4. November
    a. Language Arts: 1 sample (book report, 3rd of the written samples)
    b. Math: 1 sample
    c. History: 1 sample
    d. 1 book to read this month
  5. December
    a. Language Arts: 1 sample (create a poem, 4th and done the written samples for the year)
    b. Math: 1 sample
    c. Science: 1 sample
    d. 1 book to read this month
  6. January
    a. History: 1 sample
    b. 1 book to read this month
  7. February
    a. Language Arts: 1 sample
    b. Math: 1 sample
    c. Science: 1 sample (done with Science for the year)
    d. 1 book to read this month
  8. March
    a. Language Arts: 1 sample (done with LA for the year)
    b. Math: 1 sample (done with Math for the year)
    c. State History Topic: 1 sample (done with History for the year)
    d. 1 book to read this month
  9. Aprila. 1 book to read this month (done, you now have your 10 books for the book-list for the Literature section)

WHAT Do I Do With All This Information?

I create folders for each month which contain the papers for that months work.

So for the month of August my schedule states that I will be doing:

a. Language Arts: 1 sample
b. Math: 1 sample
c. Science: 1 sample (a report on a topic, 1st of the written samples)
d. List of 2 books to read this month (only month with 2 books)
e. Fine Arts: 1 sample  (done with Fine Arts for the year)

So I look over my topics for the year and stick them right in this outline.

So August will look like this:

a. Language Arts: Phonics
b. Math: Counting
c. Science: Farm Animals (report)
d. List of 2 books to read this month 
e. Fine Arts: Painting

Let’s do September:

a. Language Arts: Beginning Spelling
b. Math: Beginning Addition and Subtraction Facts
c. History: Farm and Zoo (report)
d. 1 book to read this month
e. Physical Education: Bike Riding Picture

Want me to continue? Here are the other months:

  1. October
    a. Science: Birds
    b. 1 book to read this month
    c. Health: First Aid Kit
  2. November
    a. Language Arts: Handling Books
    b. Math: Measurement
    c. History: Basic Geography Terms
    d. 1 book to read this month
  3. December
    a. Language Arts: Handwriting
    b. Math: Money
    c. Science: Plants
    d. 1 book to read this month
  4. January
    a. History: Making a Simple Map
    b. 1 book to read this month
  5. February
    a. Language Arts: Pick another topic or done if you use 4 samples
    b. Math: Pick another topic or done if you use 4 samples
    c. Science: Weather
    d. 1 book to read this month
  6. March
    a. Language Arts: Pick another topic or done if you use 4 samples
    b. Math: Pick another topic or done if you use 4 samples
    c. State History Topic: Neighborhood Helpers
    d. 1 book to read this month
  7. April
    a. 1 book to read this month (done, you now have your 10 books for the book-list for the Literature section)

NOW you have that all made up.

Use this new outline to create a nice neat set of file folders tabbed by month or a three ring binder that contains dividers by month. 

In the very front of the three ring binder or the file folders you will have the nice check off sheet you made.

In the August section you are going to place 3 pieces of paper and a note for yourself.

  1. 1st piece of paper: Head online and search for a phonics worksheet and print it up, stick it in the August section.
  2. 2nd piece o paper: Now search for a counting sheet and print it up and place that in the August section.
  3. 3rd piece of paper: Now a form for writing a farm animal report can be found online or just use a piece of plain paper with lines at the bottom and a place for a picture at the top. Stick that in the August section also.
  4. Your note: On your note for this month list the 2 books to read this month and a note to have him paint a picture for you this month.

This is what you are collecting for August as a reminder:

a. Language Arts: Phonics
b. Math: Counting
c. Science: Farm Animals (report)
d. List of 2 books to read this month 
e. Fine Arts: Painting

You will continue this for each of your monthly sections. you should have papers or notes in all of your sections. I will list September’s section here, but I think you get it and won’t bore you with listing them all.

September’s organization of papers.

In September section you will again have 3 pieces of paper and 1 note for yourself. (this won’t be the same every month of course)

  1. 1st piece of paper: Head online and print up a beginning spelling worksheet and place it in the September section.
  2. 2nd piece of paper: Print up a beginning addition and subtraction facts worksheet and put it in the section.
  3. 3rd piece of paper: As with last month you can either print up a form to write a report or just use a plain piece of paper with some lines at the bottom and an area at the top to draw a picture and place this in your September section.
  4. Your note: On your note you will write the name of the book to read this month and a note for yourself to remember to take a picture of your child riding his bike.

This is what you are collecting for September, as a reminder;

a. Language Arts: Beginning Spelling
b. Math: Beginning Addition and Subtraction Facts
c. History: Farm and Zoo (report)
d. 1 book to read this month
e. Physical Education: Bike Riding Picture

After you have all these papers organized for the year you are all set to get going on what you really want to accomplish for you and your child.

The first week of each month take out the packet of papers and the note and get those things done for your portfolio creation.

REMEMBER: Stick them back in the folder when accomplished so you know where they will be when you need them.

The rest of the month is yours to do with as you choose!

Hope this series on portfolio creation was helpful and if I think of anything else helpful I will blog it ūüôā if you have questions please feel free to ask.

If you would find it useful for me to write all the months out just  let me know and it will get done. Have a great week!

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Homeschool Portfolios: Planning 2

portfolios-1

In my last post I mentioned I would show you how I plan at the beginning of the year for a portfolio at the end of the year that showed educational success and improvement from the previous year. Here is what I do. This is a follow-up to this post: Homeschool Portfolio: Planning 1

Decide What Topics You Will Teach In Each Subject Area

This step takes a quite a bit of work. Not really.

For our state I am going to be sending in samples for 8 subject areas. Sounds daunting but wait till it’s broken down.

Three of those subject areas only require 1 sample each. It’s not to hard to plan 1 topic for those 3 subject areas: Physical Education, Health, and Fine Arts.

Down to 5 areas..

One subject area “Literature” only requires a list of 10 books the child has read or have been read to the child. Not too hard to plan 10 books over a period of 10 months.

Lastly, 4 areas require 4-6 samples each. This takes a bit more planning but still, I find that it’s not too hard to plan out 4 pieces of paper for each of these areas: Language Arts, Math, History, and Science.

How do I figure these all out?

I am going to take them one subject at a time and show you how I do it.

-Physical Education

What does my child like to do? Some ideas: ride bikes, play soccer, yoga, climb trees, or stretching exercise. I just need one sample so I know I can get a picture of him riding his bike so I make a note that I will be taking a picture of him bike riding for my portfolio sample. Done

-Health

What are some areas of health that are pretty easy? How about dental health, nutrition, heart health, or first aid kit. Well I do have a first aid kit and it would be a good thing for him to know how to use the items in it. So, I will use first aid  kit as my topic and my sample for my portfolio will be a drawing he makes of a first aid kit and a couple definitions of what a few of the items are used for. Done

-Fine Arts

What counts as fine arts? Some areas are music lessons, listening to music, drawing, craft projects, sewing, and painting. Now I know that he loves painting and will most likely paint something this year without me even asking him to. So, that will be my topic for this years Fine Arts area. Done

-Language Arts

I have some old standbys that I use each year. These include: spelling, vocabulary, handwriting, grammar, poetry, letter writing, reports, parts of speech, note taking, learning to read, phonics, composition, book reports, capitalization, and punctuation. There are more, but I only need 4-6 so I choose them from this list and then I am done picking my topics for this area.

-Math

I also have some regulars I have for this area but another way to do it would be to go online and look up math topics by grade and pick 4-6 of them to list. My favorites are: addition, decimals, subtraction, multiplication, division, mixed numbers, Roman numerals, fractions, percents, ratios, averages, area, volume, angles, perimeter, negative numbers, counting, measurement, metric conversion, and geometry. I have others but I just choose 4-6 of these  and then I am finished with the topics for math.

-History

What would you like to study this year? As for everything you should have this look different for each year so it shows improvement and academic growth. I do list map skills nearly every year though. Areas we use regularly are maps, map skills, geography, US history, Canada, continents, states and capitals, world history, economics, government, state history, basic geography terms, farms, citizenship, and world cultures. I pick 4-6 of these for my list of topics.

-Science

What would your child like to study this year? What did you study last year? It should be different this year. Some of my favorite areas of study are plants, botany, animals, invertebrates, rocks, minerals, volcanoes, earthquakes, air and water, pollution, human body, biology, chemistry, farm animals, birds, weather, aerodynamics, experiments, dissection, and disease and the immune system. I take 4-6 of these and I am all done with my topics for science.

-Literature

What is my child reading or what do I want to read to my child or what books on tape can we get from the library? I usually start with where my child is by grade level and look up online a list of books that would normally be read at this grade level. I find ones I know or feel would be okay to have my child read and make up a list. I also look online at my library’s books on tape list see if any of these books could be listened to in the car on our way around town. This has worked really well when I can find at least 5 of them as books on tape and 5 that I will read to the children or that a child will read himself. Done

What if I have curriculum I am using?

Of course if you have a set of books you are using for math or language arts or any subject, ¬†you could just take the first 4-6 chapters and use those topics for these topic lists. But if not then this information might be useful to you. I do have books for my children’s subjects but I don’t always use those chapters as my topic lists and I just list ones that are easier to document like the ones listed above.

Once I have all these picked out I list them in outline form so that I can use it as a check off list for during the year showing what I have done and have left to do.

Here is a sample:

  • Language Arts
    • Phonics
    • Beginning Spelling
    • Handling Books
    • Handwriting
  • Math
    • Counting
    • Beginning Addition and Subtraction Facts
    • Measurement
    • Money
  • History
    • Farm and Zoo
    • Basic Geography Terms
    • Making a Simple Map
    • Neighborhood Helpers
  • Physical Education
    • Bike Riding
  • Health
    • First Aid Kit
  • Science
    • Farm Animals
    • Birds
    • Plants
    • Weather
  • Fine Arts
    • Painting

I also organize my paperwork to more easily accomplish my goals for covering these topics during the year, but that’s for another post.

I hope this was helpful to you.

Homeschooling Portfolios: Planning 1

 

portfolios-1

In our state we have the option of sending in a portfolio for our end of the year assessment of what we have done for the year homeschooling.

Over the past 25 years I have kind of figured out what they really want to see. Here is how I plan my year around the end game of sending in a portfolio.

 

#1 Figure Out What Your State Requires for Samples

In our state I have found that they require:

  • 4 to 6 samples for each of these subjects: Language Arts, Math, Science, and History (also one of these history samples need to be state specific)
  • 1 sample for each of these subjects: Physical Education, Fine Arts, and Health
  • Finally they like a list of 10 books read for Literature
  • In the accumulation of this small bit of samples the state also likes to see 4 samples of written work of which the difficulty varies depending upon the age of the child. These are not in addition to the above samples but are included in the above numbers.

This information tells me that I will need to plan on about one sample a month for 6 months for each of these: Language Arts, Math, Science, and History.

BUT for Physical Education, Fine Arts, and Health I will only need to work on these for a single month.

The last thing this information tells me is that my child needs to read at least 1 book a month (or have me read it to him). This way I will have 10 books for a list in my portfolio.

#2 When Does Your Portfolio Need to Be Submitted?

I know our portfolios need to be in before Labor Day but anytime after March 1st is acceptable. So when doing my planning I work from the idea that I want to send it in as soon as possible and be done with all the required stuff. For me this has been kind of a game of getting everything done in order to get them sent in by April 1st which is a silly date anyway ūüôā

All my planning is done by months so knowing I have August through April to work with gives me the parameters I need to start my portfolio planning.

  • August –
  • September –
  • October –
  • November –
  • December –
  • January –
  • February –
  • March –
  • April –
  • May – I usually give myself the extra month just in case I need it

 

#3 Plan Out When You Will Do Each Sample

After I know the number of samples and the number of months I have to accomplish these samples I can break down what I will be doing each month. Here is the minimum of what I would do:

  1. August

    a. Language Arts: 1 sample
    b. Math: 1 sample
    c. Science: 1 sample (a report on a topic, 1st of the written samples)
    d. List of 2 books to read this month (only month with 2 books)
    e. Fine Arts: 1 sample  (done with Fine Arts for the year)

  2.  September

    a. Language Arts: 1 sample
    b. Math: 1 sample
    c. History: 1 sample (a report on a topic, 2nd of the written samples)
    d. 1 book to read this month
    e. Physical Education: 1 sample (done with Phys. Ed. for the year)

  3. October

    a. Science: 1 sample
    b. 1 book to read this month
    c. Health: 1 sample (done with Health for the year)

  4. November

    a. Language Arts: 1 sample (book report, 3rd of the written samples)
    b. Math: 1 sample
    c. History: 1 sample
    d. 1 book to read this month

  5. December

    a. Language Arts: 1 sample (create a poem, 4th and done the written samples for the year)
    b. Math: 1 sample
    c. Science: 1 sample
    d. 1 book to read this month

  6. January

    a. History: 1 sample
    b. 1 book to read this month

  7. February

    a. Language Arts: 1 sample
    b. Math: 1 sample
    c. Science: 1 sample (done with Science for the year)
    d. 1 book to read this month

  8. March

    a. Language Arts: 1 sample (done with LA for the year)
    b. Math: 1 sample (done with Math for the year)
    c. State History Topic: 1 sample (done with History for the year)
    d. 1 book to read this month

  9. April

    a. 1 book to read this month (done, you now have your 10 books for the book-list for the Literature section)

As you can see by this list there is not a huge workload in order to accomplish a portfolio of your students work.

Without a plan it does seem very daunting but taking a few minutes to figure this information out makes it look doable.

Personally I do a bit more work than this.

For the months from August till April we do a sample for each of these subjects: Language Arts, Math, History, and Science. Then at the end of the year I have 9 samples to choose from in each area.

We are always doing art projects so there is easily one a month for the younger crowd.

Physical education is way more than one with the kids doing soccer in the fall and spring, ice skating in the winter, and martial arts weekly, etc we have way more than one sample.

BUT in a tough year I know what the minimum I will need to accomplish in order to submit a thorough portfolio in April or even in July if it was a real tough year.

I am going to take you one step further and show you what I do at the beginning of the year to make sure my portfolio is educationally sound and looks like my kid did something and improved or at least did something different from last year.

BUT that’s for my next post. Hope this was helpful. Have a great weekend.

Here is a link to that post: Homeschool Portfolios: Planning 2