3 Rules of Keeping for Homeschool Portfolios

You Should Tell Your Friends!

What to Keep In Your Homeschool Portfolio

Ever wonder what to keep in your portfolio? I have and so have many of my friends. For years, actually, I have thought about this and tried to come up with a working formula to make this easier. Well, there’s no formula per se but I do have three rules that help me in my homeschool on a daily basis.

Note: This is the third and final post in a recent series on homeschool organization. To see the first post: Homeschool Organization…Not Your Typical Approach and 4 Step Homeschool Planning see these.

My crew of kids are all the time making masterpieces, projects, and special work that… well… melts me. It’s hard to determine what to keep and not keep. So here you have it folks, the 3 Rules of Keeping that will keep you sane, organized, and at peace with managing all your kids’ creations without renting a storage unit.science collage family LearningKeeper Homeschool Online Digital Portfolio Compliance Record Keeping Software 300x300 3 Rules of Keeping for Homeschool Portfolios

3 Rules of Keeping for Homeschool Portfolios

  1. Does this show progress over time?
  2. Does this show important prior learning?
  3. Does this show where we went, what we did, or what we learned in a meaningful way?

Progress Over Time

We all like to improve. If this writing sample or musical performance will encourage my student by showing growth over time, then it gets the green light. If it is a total bomb and the child is discouraged by his work, I usually don’t keep it. Your portfolio includes the highlights and other nuggets of success. The portfolio should communicate a positive message, no matter where he is on the learning continuum. Penmanship, artwork, character development, and math often meet this rule in my house.

Prior Learning

Whether I use these for review, launching a new unit, or just celebrating what we’ve done as a family, prior learning is SUPER important. Some current green light items in this category for my family include chapter summary notes for  our Child’s History of America reader, mid year math assessments, and photos from our recent trip to the caves. Each of this items are nuggets I want to pull out in the future when introducing new concepts. They give a quick reminder about what the child already knows and the discussion around them can show me gaps that I need to fill in before jumping into the next topic.

Learning is all about connections between what we already know and what is going to be learned.

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If you haven’t noticed, I use pictures.

Lots and LOTS of pictures, videos, and audio clips.

Meaningful Experiences

Meaningful experiences can include where you went, what you’ve done, and/or what you’ve learned in a meaningful way.

Field trips, cooking together, family milestones, and reaching individual goals are a few examples. Currently our family is trying a new project to learn about investments.  Each child has been given fake money and chosen select stocks in which to invest. Over time we are charting, graphing, researching, writing about, and making decisions about how our investments have fared. These are meaningful experiences. The weaving of life and learning together is a good indicator of a meaningful experience.

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Creating a Homeschool Portfolio

Make It Your Own

Your “green light” items will be different from mine. These 3 Rules of Keeping can guide you as you make choices about what work to keep and what to toss without feeling guilty. My LearningKeeper portfolio lets me add tons of items over the year so I don’t worry about needing to rent a storage unit. I attach the related photos, videos, and other files to the Achievement in our portfolios. Then, I often pitch the paper copies of the work samples since I have the electronic copy files securely stored in our family’s LearningKeeper portfolios.


~ By Alison Haley

More portfolio tips on Purpose and What to Include


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