What is a portfolio review? What should it include?

Question: I am a newbie. This was my first year, and now I’m worried about this portfolio evaluation. What exactly should I prepare for a homeschool portfolio review? What should I expect?

So you’re opting for the portfolio evaluation to wrap up your school year. If you are registered with your local school district, this is one way of meeting the Florida State Statue’s requirements.

You may be wondering exactly what a portfolio is, and how to prepare one. Simply put it is a recorded log of what you’re student completed during the school year, and examples of their work. It should reflect the the growth a student has made during the school year.

It does not mean that an evaluator needs to see every last piece of paper, or evidence of every assignment completed. Nope! In fact, don’t even try. It will drive you nuts, and an experienced evaluator will not be combing over thousands of work samples. 

Think about an artist student that curates a portfolio to show to the admissions board of a art  school. Do they give the admissions board every doodle they ever made? No! They make sure that they show the board their best work, in wide variety and range--essentially their portfolio says “Look at me, who I am, and what I can do!”

Your student’s portfolio should do the same--it should showcase your student’s growth over the year. By law, it needs to be kept for 2 years, and be available for inspection by the county within 15 days of being requested. Once a teacher or evaluator has signed off on it, keep it neat, keep it together, and keep it handy for two years.

A log of some kind should be kept throughout the school year. I have seen things as simple as composition notebooks written by hand that just state what a student did, to electronic notes stored on private cloud storage sites. Some parents have written plans, and just make the date something is completed and keep it as a log--they don’t actually create anything new or separate. It doesn't matter what method you use--just use one. It doesn’t need to be long, complicated or stressful. Make a list. Write down the page numbers covered in a book, or jot down the novel the student is reading.

A solid portfolio will have examples of student’s work in all subjects they spent a lot of time working in. It’s a very good idea to have material examples that span throughout the school year. This makes it easy to see how students have grown. Don’t think only written work has to go in there. Went on a field trip? Throw in some pictures. Kid’s took a painting class? Show off a creation. Took a trip to the theater? Save that ticket stub! Taught your student about plants or bugs while growing your backyard garden? Take pictures of your student in their garden! Did they earn an award or certificate? Yes, please up in a copy. Did they start a business? Throw in some proof of that. Remember, field trips count! Religious responsibilities that required reading, studying, research, speaking, or preforming? Please include that! Older student have a internship? Put a record sheet of that in your portfolio too! If your school year was more than worksheets--your portfolio should be too! 

U.S. National Archives’ Local Identifier: 412-DA-15766    Photographer: Haque, Abul

Just as an artist doesn't include every piece of art they have created in their portfolio, the homeschool portfolio does not need to maintain every piece of work a student produces.

IF your student used a program like Time4Learning, FLVS FLEX, of the Simple Revolution Solution (that's ours), print out the grades! Sites like MobyMax, IXL, and others have parent reports that show how a student has performed using their site over time. These are just a few a super easy way to continuity of work. 

Also, a portfolio review is not to see if your student is “on grade level” or to see if they made what the school system would consider “a year’s worth of growth”! Every child starts at different places, and grows at different rates. The portfolio review is to give proof to the county and state that the student is learning and making the growth possible based on their own abilities and circumstances.

Unschoolers or relaxed schoolers will not have a problem completing a portfolio review. Look for an evaluator who understands these educational approaches, and you’ll be just fine (if you're wondering, I love working with unschoolers and relaxed schoolers). 

IF this is your first year and you’re like “Oh crap, I didn’t keep anything! No one told me to keep a list”--breath! Once again, an experienced evaluator will help you by looking at what is there, and give you the reassurance you need to feel comfortable. You’ll find the method and evaluator that works for you and your family in time.

As a side note, it’s great if you can work with the same evaluator once your find your fit. This way you won’t have to explain your situation to someone new annually, or feel that you have to go to great lengths to demonstrate growth. and you can feel at ease. You should also have an ally there to help you at anytime throughout the school year if you need assistance. 

Remember, Florida law requires 180 days of school completed during the 365 span since their last evaluation (or when they registered). It could happen ANY day--even holidays, summer, or weekends. A log or records with dates, a examples that were produced over a course of the year is all that is required. It should not be a source of stress or anxiety for the home educator or student!



Questions? Want to schedule a portfolio evaluation with me? I can help you out! Just contact me

Homeschool transcript services and report cards now available!

homeschool transcript servicesWho knows what the future holds for you, or your student. You might find the need to have your student’s grades confirmed by a third party. You may need a transcript to apply to an academic program, school, or job. Or perhaps you just like to have a separate source of record keeping for your student’s academic progress. No matter the reason, Education Revolution has got your back! We now offer the option for report card and homeschool transcript services to students enrolled with us, all bundled into a simple and affordable solution!

 

So just what does it provide?
  • An electronic report card given once per quarter
  • Homeschool transcript services: Tracking, housing, and maintenance of grades across school years
  • One complementary official hard copy transcript per academic year available on request that can be mailed anywhere within the contiguous United States

 

What DOESN’T this service mean?
  • Education Revolution does not, and will never, require all students to use a certain curriculum. Home educators still have full control over what they use to educate their students.
  • Education Revolution does not give or dictate the grades. The home educator continues to tabulate the grades.
  • Education Revolution does not require this of enrolled families. Home educators can use any homeschool transcript services, or method they like to keep and to track of their student’s grades and progress.

 

Who might want this service?
  • If your student wants to attend college, or post secondary school, a transcript might be required.
  • If you might move out of the country, and official transcript might be helpful.
  • If you find yourself requested, for legal reasons, to show academic progress, report cards and transcripts can assist.
  • If you simply want a 3rd party to maintain your records, we can do that for you!

This service is $20 for the entire year! 

Not, it’s not a monthly fee. No, you don’t have to fidget with the transcript or report card template. Yes, it will provide an official record of your student’s grades. 

 

 

Frequently asked questions

How do I sign up?

When you submit your attendance, just click the button indicating that you are signing up for the homeschool transcript services. You’ll submit the grades and course descriptions. You’ll receive an invoice for the annual record keeping service within a few days of the end of the quarter.

 

Which grades is this service available for?

Any student enrolled in Education Revolution, form kindergarten through high school seniors, may request this service.

 

How do home educators report grades and classes taken?

This is done at the same time, on the same form, as attendance.

 

Can’t you just give the grades?

Unless your student is enrolled in the Simple Revolution Solution or one of our many classes, we simply aren’t in the best position to assess their work–and thus in no position to supply grades.

 

My kid is a senior, you backup their transcript through freshman year?

Yes–but under limited circumstance. While  we will create transcripts and report cards for students in any grade, we will only back date transcripts for high school years. Also, it must be requested and paid for the first time the student’s grades are reported. There is a flat fee of $20 per academic year that is back dated. If you need to back date a transcript, email us.

 

How provides the class or course description that goes on the transcript?

The home educator does. You can provide a copy of the course syllabus, class description from a catalogue, or write one yourself.

 

Can I use the service off and on?

You can use the service one year, and not the next. However, the service is charged annually–meaning $20 for an academic year. Also, unless your student is a high school student and you pay to back date your transcript for the time you did not select the service, there will be a gap during the time we were not maintaining the records.

 

Is this included in the Simple Revolution Solution?

No. The Simple Revolution Solution addresses streamlining curriculum and lessons for core content. These two products are not connected.

 

Can students enrolled in the Simple Revolution Solution use this service?

Yes. However, the grades and course descriptions will be provided for you from the course instructor… isn’t that simple?

 

https://pixabay.com/en/sad-child-boy-kid-crying-tears-217252/Feeling blue because our services aren’t available to you?

Have no fear! You can download a free editable transcript which you can maintain yourself, courtesy of Education Revolution!

Grab your free copy today!

Homeschool DURING an emergency situation, and why it’s a great idea

by- Yolanda Newton

     First I start with the preface that in no way am I saying that if you are facing and an emergency event you should  continue to homeschool “as normal”. The time before, during, and after an emergency event not normal. Always follow the advice of your local government and emergency personnel. If they tell you to prepare, prepare. If they tell you to evacuate, do it. However when you’re dealing with children there are other things you should consider beyond physical well-being. Young children may not understand possible dangers. Older children may become very frightened by imaging negative possibilities. Can you homeschool during an emergency?

 

     This is the time where you should embrace the fact that you homeschool. Unlike traditional brick-and-mortar schools where the learning stops if the doors close, homeschool students can be educated at anytime, in anyplace, and through any event or circumstance. If learning is occurring you should be counting these days toward your schooling. In fact using an emergency event as a teaching opportunity cannot not only extend to make what the student’s learning concrete in real life, it can also help the student maintain calm by continuing with part of their normal routine.

 

Here are just a three ways that you can homeschool during an emergency.

Math it up

So you have to go out to buy plywood to cover the windows. Exactly how much plywood will you need? How much will all of the plywood cost? Is your vehicle large enough to carry the plywood home? These are realistic life-based math problems that students can solve during emergency preparations. Let multiplication, algebra, and geometry leap off of the math page and into your student’s life by helping them find an immediate use for their knowledge.

If you homeschool during an emergency you can reenforce lessons and provide calm.
If you homeschool during an emergency you can reenforce lessons and provide calm.

Get your science on

Have you ever heard the term that knowledge is power? Most emergency events that might occur where you live are no mystery. There are entire sciences dedicated to the movement of storms, predicting weather patterns, understanding the behavior of fire, and even creating structures to withstand earthquakes. Some of your student’s fears can be alleviated if they understand the science behind the emergency event that faces you. So head to official government websites, as well as science sites, and other reputable sources of information about the emergency event that faces you and use it as an opportunity to understand the science behind it. Don’t use local news, as it’s intention is to inform, and not educate. Also, the constant repetition of results felt by others might have a agitating effect on some students. Remember you focus is the science behind the event. Empower your student to know exactly what is going on in the world and earth around them.

 

Be a survivor

Unfortunately common sense isn’t so common today. Have you talked to your student about avoiding downed power lines, and why it’s important? Do they know the safest place in your home to be if there happens to be an earthquake? What should they do in case there is a fire? Do they understand what every human needs in order to survive? Use the opportunity of creating an emergency kit, “go bags”, and family emergency planning to help teach your student the important things they need to know in order to survive.

 

These are just a few ideas that might help your family make use out of emergency days. Finding solace in your homeschool routine can help your student grow, stay calm, and be prepared. Do you have any other ideas for how to make use of a rough situation to teach your student?

 


The director of Education Revolution was classroom teacher, who has a passion for the creative flexibility that homeschool allows her own family, and the families that she works with. Learn more about Yolanda Newton.

Diploma versus GED: What’s the difference?

Question: I’m trying to figure out how to homeschool my daughter. Is there really any difference between a GED and a diploma? My child is most likely going to want to go to a trade school.

– Researching Mama

 

Hi Researching Mama,

 

No, there is essentially no difference. Understand that a few trade schools require an accredited high school diploma or GED. It shouldn’t really be a barrier for most trade schools, but if your daughter has a specific school in mind it might be wise to ask them if accreditation is required.

 

Dipolma or GED for home school student: does it make a difference?A big consideration is what grade level your daughter is in. If she is in elementary or middle school, this isn’t really a question that you need to answer right now; your decision now won’t really have an effect on if she receives a diploma, or what kind. And even if you decide to go through a route in high school the doesn’t lead to an accredited diploma, the GED option is always open down the road.

 

Also, know that “home schooling” in Florida is pretty easy and flexible, but it means different things–registering with an umbrella school, registering with the county, having a home private tutor, and online/virtual school are all often called “home school”, but they aren’t the same thing. For example, registering with your local county as a homeschool student won’t lead to a diploma. However, registering with Florida Virtual School full time will–however you are going to be required to fulfill almost all of the same requirements, including standardized annual tests, that high school students at a brick-and-mortar would have to.

 

There are a lot of great options, but you should consider what kind of home schooling your daugther will respond to, and which one fits what you want.

 

– Yolanda

Director, Education Revolution

 

Find out about the various legal options available for homeschooling in Florida on our General Information Page.

http://educationrevolt.org/general-information/

 

Have a question? Contact us! We’re here to help!

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