Help! I Need a Portfolio Review This Year

But I’ve Never Done One Before!

With all the changes COVID-19 has brought to our lives, you may be wondering how to get your annual homeschool assessments done. If you usually test your students, this year you may find yourself considering a portfolio review instead. Here are some points to help you traverse this new territory.

First, several portfolio reviewers around the state are not only comfortable doing remote reviews but are willing to help parents who have never prepared an “official portfolio.”  You can find a list of reviewers at this link.

Second, since a portfolio is simply a gathering of samples, it can be done with less fanfare than you might think. This year most reviewers will not be able to review physical portfolios as they might have done in years past – so you’re not alone!  Therefore, portfolios needn’t necessarily be worksheet or paper-based entirely. Creative solutions might include having your child read over FaceTime or Facebook Messenger Video in order to demonstrate their grade-appropriate reading ability. Pictures of science projects or field trips can help substantiate active learning. And if you do need to show workbook pages or math problems, you can easily take a picture of various samples and text them to the reviewer. Everything must be a bit more creative this year. “Samples” of work can also be uploaded to Pinterest, Facebook, Dropbox, Google Drive, and many other options.

Last, think of your reviewer as a fellow homeschool mom! Most portfolio reviewers are (or have been) homeschool moms themselves. They have experienced the differences in individualized teaching at home versus classroom teaching. For example, this encouraging article is a classroom teacher’s comparison of her teaching in school versus her teaching at home. Don’t envision the reviewer as a teacher who is ready to find fault. Instead, view this as an opportunity to chat with another mom who has studied education and may have helpful pointers – or much-needed encouragement.

If you are leaning toward a portfolio review this year in lieu of testing, we encourage you to contact reviewers and chat with them about how they’d like to see your work. That first conversation could allay all your concerns. 

Finally, remember that the June 30th deadline applies only to students in 3rd, 5th, 8th and 11th grades. While ALL students must still be assessed this year, you have much more time for students in other grades. 

For more details about this year’s requirements, click here.

I always get to where I’m going by walking away from where I’ve been. 

– Winnie the Pooh 

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