These homeschool portfolio checklists (free) can help you make sure you have what you need.
These free printables will help you get organized as you prepare and maintain your homeschool portfolios. Find out why and how I use these checklists for homeschool record keeping.
Plus, get my recommended resources and sites for keeping a homeschool portfolio for state requirements and to enjoy for years to come.
My Experience with Homeschool Portfolios for My 5 Boys
We got a later start to our homeschooling adventures.
My two older boys attended public school through third and first grades. When we made the decision to homeschool, I almost had a panic attack after reading our state's requirements.
I had no idea how I'd get a portfolio for each of my boys done by the end of the year! And what was meant by reading logs?!?
In Pennsylvania, we have a few hoops to jump through in order to legally homeschool. And one of those hoops is maintaining a homeschool portfolio every year for each eligible child. (As of the writing of this post, the legal age of requirement in PA is 8.)
Besides homeschooling high school science, creating homeschool portfolios almost made me forget about teaching my boys at home!
I read and reread the portfolio requirements and suggestions. For a busy pregnant mom with a toddler in tow, I felt like I was deciphering code or foreign language.
Luckily, a dear local friend reassured me that all would be well and I could do this homeschool portfolio thing. After studying her portfolio examples and scouring her list of recommended sites, portfolios didn't seem too bad.
Now, we're entering our eighth homeschool year. And every year we assemble a binder of required work for review by our homeschool evaluator.
Sometimes, we add a few extras because my boys want to share a special project or written paper. Often, we stick to the basics.
The boys and I have received praise every year for our homeschool portfolios. Our evaluator has been pleased with our thoroughness and creativity. Most importantly, these formal record-keeping systems are also wonderful ways to preserve the hard work and progress my boys have made in our homeschool.
Reasons You May Want to Make Homeschool Portfolios
Are you considering putting together homeschool portfolios for your kids? You might be like our family and find it's a necessary evil.
But, there are plenty of reasons to want to maintain a homeschool portfolio! It can seem like a big, scary thing as a homeschool parent.
Take it from me: it's not as hard as it seems. In fact, your homeschool portfolio can be a wonderful way to creatively document your work and save precious memories 🙂
- State requirement: If your state requires a portfolio, you just gotta do it. Don't try to go rogue and fly under the radar. Too much stress plus it's illegal. Make sure to include the required subject areas and other pertinent forms. Our state (PA) wants our portfolio reviewer to see academic progress
- Personal accountability: I tend to be a bit flaky and squirrel. Maintaining a homeschool portfolio keeps me focused. It helps me provide a quality education for my boys and greatly reduces my stress! (Although I do like to complain about it...)
- Record keeping: Do you struggle with keeping good homeschool records (like attendance record)? An organized portfolio can reduce decision fatigue and help you stay on track.
- Memory keeping: Save those art projects and special writing assignments. Jot down areas of growth. Add pictures of events like field trips, poetry teatimes, and homeschool fun days.
- Transcripts: Homeschool portfolios have been so helpful in putting together high school transcripts! Pennsylvania now permits homeschools to issue high school diplomas and I'm using our portfolios to document.
- Samples of work: Showcase your student's areas of interests. Highlight their hard work in extracurricular activities and studies. Assemble a portfolio to demonstrate their skills and talents in art, music, engineering, graphic design, and more!
- Organization/Declutter: Keep your student's "best" work and let go of guilt for throwing out other stuff. I have a tendency to want to keep all.the.things. Our homeschool portfolios help me sift through the boys' work and pick select samples to save (and feel better about getting rid of unnecessary papers!)
- Consider a digital portfolio. I am actively researching this approach for our upcoming evaluations.
Homeschool Portfolio Checklists: Recommended Resources & Sites
I have two go-to sites for compiling a homeschool portfolio to be proud of.
1. HSLDA (Home School Legal Defense Association)
Discover the homeschool laws for your state. Get tips on teaching your kids. The HSLDA site is full of helpful information for homeschoolers!
2. Ask Pauline
This site is a great resource and was created to help PA homeschoolers navigate the process of teaching kids at home. Although the site is a bit older, I have found it updated and relevant.
You'll find helpful forms (affidavits, evaulator forms, etc.), as well as portfolio examples.
Also, I highly recommend you follow this site's advice: Keep it as simple and basic as possible! Only show your evaluator minimum requirements with enough to show student progress. Don't stress yourself out and feel you have to do more. (I did way too much our first year and practically created an epic novel for each boy. Totally unnecessary!)
If you want to add extras to your homeschool portfolios, go for it! Just keep that version for yourself and do it because you want to 🙂
I've found the best way to get ready at the beginning of the school year is to determine what you need for that grade level. You can use an accordion folder, file folders, or 3-ring binder to stay organized. Find more homeschool portfolio hacks here!
What Do You NEED in Your Homeschool Portfolio? Tips & Tricks
I get asked ALL THE TIME for tips and tricks for putting together homeschool portfolios. Other homeschool moms really want to know what the first step is and what's a great way to record your child's progress.
Always consider your unique situation and homeschool journey when compiling your portfolio, in terms of how much work you want/need to show to meet your state's requirements. Do you have these considerations?
- Umbrella school
- Students who possibly want to go to college or other specialized schooling
- Legal (divorce, custody)
If you’re legally required to do homeschool portfolios, it's a good idea to check with your homeschool evaluator to find out what they look for. Ask about specific types of samples, how many samples per subject, number of pages, and if they prefer to have the subjects tabbed for easy access.
These free homeschool portfolio printables pack of checklists includes one page with the requirements and subjects for PA (which is a high regulated state). Our homeschool portfolios always include:
- Student Name
- Academic Year
- Attendance Records or Chart (We are legally required to homeschool 180 days. Some states require a specific number of hours.)
- Reading Log or Book Log (includes curriculum and list of books the boys have read over the year)
- Evaluator's Letter
- Subject Summaries
- Samples of student work to show progress
- Standardized Test Results (In our state, these test scoress are required for grades 3, 5, 8. We use the online CAT from Christian Liberty) included in the student portfolio
- Fire Safety
Required Subjects for Your Child's Homeschool Portfolio of Records (log of educational activities) in addition to requirements of your state:
- English and Language Arts
- Music and Art
- History and Social Studies
- Health and Physical Education
- Fire Safety (Some years, I include bike safety.)
- Field Trip Log
You don't have to include a title page or cover page. But, I like to have these homeschool portfolio pages to make it easier to organize my boys' binders et the end of the school year.
Get Your Free Homeschool Portfolio Checklists!
Want some help with organizing your homeschool portfolios? Use these free printable checklists to get started!
You'll find two versions: one complete with requirements and subjects and a blank copy for you to customize.
You can print out as many copies as you need as you need of this free homeschool portfolio printable pack of checklists. Please share the link to this post with them
When you join the Rock Your Homeschool community, you’ll receive these printables in a PDF download in an email, along with a super-secret password that opens the vault to all RYHS freebies. In addition to your freebies, you will be a weekly email with ways to rock your homeschool plus instant downloads to all new freebies.
(Psst! Current RYHS members just need to access the Subscriber Freebies page and enter the password in your welcome email. Or get the instant download in the email the week of this post.)
TAP HERE or on the image below to subscribe and get your FREE printable pack of Homeschool Portfolio Checklists!
Do you have questions about creating and maintaining homeschool portfolios?
Share your questions or experiences in the comments area below 🙂
Need more help with your homeschool portfolios? Check out these other free resources:
12 Smart Homeschool Portfolio Hacks to Get Organized & Keep It Up (more than just using a three-ring binder, file folders, or accordion file!)