It’s that time of year again. The time of year when we as home-educators begin thinking about next year. We are researching, attending (Affiliate Link) conventions, conferences, reading catalogs, buying and prepping curricula. We are considering our list carefully because we will soon be notifying our school districts and states that we will once again be choosing to home-educate our little ones.
Being an Ohio resident, I have 2 choices in moving forward. I can have my son go through standardized testing or I can have a portfolio of his work reviewed by a certified teacher. I choose the second option. It should be noted that every state has a different set of laws regarding home education. For Ohio, the requirements are simple. You can visit the Christian Home Educator’s of Ohio, CHEO, for all required forms and laws. Or, you can visit The National Center for Life and Liberty, NCLL, and their Homeschool Liberty page for laws by state, or vist other Homeschool Legal Organizations sites.
For Ohio the basic requirements are simple:
1. Send formal notification to the school district in which you reside of your intent to home-school, on or before the 1st day of school in the district. I send a formal letter stating intent, along with state issued documentation. (I send all documentation in one envelope, certified with return receipt).
2. With the formal notification, portfolio assessment form (which means the assessor signs a formal document which contains the written narrative, no secondary narrative is needed) or testing results form from the previous year must be sent.
3. With formal notification, (this part is found on the form) assurance of some basic requirements. (such as that “I assure that I will teach certain subjects, like math and reading and that I am or he will be taught by a high school graduate, assurance that there will be a minimum of 900 educational hours*). *You are not required to submit recorded hours.
4. With formal notification a listing of curricula and materials that are planned to be used in the coming year. Don’t over stress about this. Just simply list the curricula you plan to use along with any books that you will be using as well. (Although you are free to change those as the year progresses).
5. Once the school district has reviewed your notification, you will receive in the mail a letter of excused absence. KEEP this letter. In fact, I suggest make a mini-copy using your copier/printer, laminate the mini-copy, place in your purse. You can use it to get teacher and/or educator discounts at many retailers nationwide. You also can use it to get zoo, museum and field trip discounts. Keep the original in a safe place at home.
So I’m busy gathering Little Man’s work and reviewing his assignments. I will then weed through the stack and choose what will and will not make the cut.
|Gathering all of the work for the school year.|
I have to say, in years past I was not very good at this. In fact, I kind of thought, the more I show the better it will be. But the reality is I was mostly just trying to show what all we did, rather than show the progress made. The intent of a portfolio is to show that the child has made progress from the beginning of the school year to the time of the assessment. The assessor does not need to see the entire body of work in order for that to be the case.
A couple of months ago I came across a post on facebook that gave the perfect explanation of what a portfolio should look like. Since then, I’ve discovered that the person, Lisa Cox, who posted the explanation is an Ohio Certified Teacher and Home-school mom. She does assessments and has just started her own webpage School Solutions. You can see her example here: Homeschool Portfolio Example. (Please note: I have not used Lisa’s assessment services, but I have found this example to be the best portfolio example I have ever seen.)
So after learning what a proper portfolio should look like, I have been working to bring together a sampling of his work from throughout the year.
Portfolio divided by subject, with brief explanation on divider pages.
|Language Arts/divided into 3 categories.|
|Sample of Spelling Work.|
|Did NOT make the cut.|
By the way, I love Notebooking in our Homeschool and I’ve just discovered this great resource.