For many, now is the time to start wrapping up the homeschool year for a summer break. It's a time to take a close look at all the kids have accomplished and all that you've taught them.
Failing to acknowledge everyone’s successes is a mistake.
Kids and parents both need to recognize and create a clear record of their fruits of their labors!
A student portfolio is a perfect closing project to achieve that goal. It’s hands on, timely, and creative.
It's also something that can be included in the kids' school transcript files!
What’s a portfolio? It’s a sort of scrapbook made up of your kids’ most successful school work over the course of the year. It can be digital or not -- the display can take whatever form you wish. That’s up to you and the kids.
Here's how to get started:
As the teacher, set a few strict parameters to structure the project for your kids, but within that structure, give them free reign to make their own choices! This is key to any successful project.
You, as teacher, decide how many pieces and what subjects should be included. The portfolio making process includes four basic steps, and you decide how much time to allow for each step.
1) Collect a lot of pieces that could be included in the portfolio. Have kids collect as many pieces from the entire school year as they want for now, but don't let them linger over their choices. Right now only gather a large pool of possible work samples for the portfolio. Be sure to give them a minimum number of items to pick for each of the subject areas they've studied this year.
2) Select which pieces to actually include in the final portfolio. Give kids a criteria for selection of the final pieces of school work chosen. Which ones best demonstrate the skills they learned? Which demonstrate major challenges overcome or improvements made? Which are their favorites? You can set some of the criteria, and you can allow kids to set a few of them as well. Take some time with this step.
3) Reflect on the final choices. This is the critical thinking and writing part of the project. For each item selected to be in the portfolio, students must share a short explanation of the reasons the piece was included.
4) Design the layout and presentation of the entire the portfolio. Here, let the kids’ creativity reign! The only structure recommended in this step is to make sure it’s a design that can be completed within a reasonable amount of time and that all of the portfolio pieces are clearly displayed.