Homeschool Portfolios: Planning 2


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.