Homeschool portfolios can be a bit intimidating. Especially if you have never been required to keep one before. I keep a homeschool portfolio because it is a state requirement.
But, after a year of keeping a physical record in a three ring binder I realized that was not going to be sustainable for 18+ years.
My house could not store all of the binders long term not to mention the stress of having to keep them all safe. It was causing me some serious anxiety. That’s when I decided it was time to move to a digital record system for our homeschool portfolios.
Keeping a Homeschool Digital Portfolio Using OneNote
If you are not familiar with Microsoft OneNote think of it as a bookshelf. On the book shelf you can have multiple notebooks, within each notebook you can have sections, and within each section you can have individual notes.
I keep a notebook for every school year. So for example, I have a 2019-2020 Second Grade notebook. Within that notebook I have a records section, a weekly log section, and a samples section.
In the records section, is where I keep things like our goals for the year, curriculum and resources used, online classes taken, book logs, and work samples from the year.
In the weekly log section, is where I put all of the things that are not tangible. Because we are relaxed homeschooler a lot of our “academics” are not necessarily a worksheet.
In the samples section, is where I keep samples of the written work that Emily completes each year. It is recommended that you keep a few samples of each subject. The samples should be from the beginning, middle, and end of the year.
Recording Homeschool Lessons Throughout the School Year
I have a simple weekly layout that I use each week. I type a few quick, easy, simple sentences about what we did that week, list the shows we watched and the games we played, and include a few pictures.
For example, this is what a random week looks like in the weekly logs:
This week we took a field trip to Disney World to celebrate dad’s birthday.
• LEGO Master
• Dr. Pol
• Hero Kids
I set everything up at the beginning of the school year on my laptop and then only use the app on my phone for the rest of the year. It makes it easy to quickly type what we did each week and add photos I have taken from my phone.
Your Digital Homeschool Portfolio At the End of the Homeschool Year
For the book log, I use the GoodReads app to scan the books we have read throughout the year. Once the school year is over I just export the files and add that as my book log note.
For the samples, I just choose a handful of work samples from the year and either photograph or scan them and add them to the samples note.
Now our homeschool portfolio is done and I can just simply email the notebook to our evaluator. The best part is I don’t have to keep any of the papers, I can just recycle them.
See A Sample Digital Homeschool Portfolio
While I love keeping a digitally portfolio with Microsoft OneNote you could easily use other note taking platforms such as EverNote, Trello, Apple Notes, etc.
Maybe you are not a digital person at all. Thats okay too, this same process can work for a physical portfolio too.