MACHE Homeschool 101
How to Start Homeschooling
Tots to Tweens
Maryland Homeschool Law
Special Needs Students
Filing a Notice of Intent
Homeschooling through High School
Maintaining a Portfolio
Finding an Umbrella Group
Maintaining a Portfolio
One of the requirements for oversight of home education in the state of Maryland is that the parent maintain a portfolio which provides a reviewer with evidence of instruction. While this can seem like a daunting task, with a little planning and organization it is easily accomplished.
Portfolio review requirements will vary from County to County and Umbrella to Umbrella, but all must occur in compliance with the law at a mutually agreeable time and place. Families are expected to provide work samples that demonstrate regular and thorough instruction. These samples can include worksheets, workbooks, reading logs, tests, anecdotal summaries, writing samples, creative arts, etc. There is no requirement for number or type of samples as long as compliance with the law is demonstrated.
Many families keep a binder (one for each child) with tabs for each of the required subjects. As the year progresses, choose a few representative work samples and add them as you go. Did your child write a really great paper? Throw it in under English Language Arts. Did they ace a math assignment? Add that to your math tab. Worksheets and tests are easy opportunities for samples, but it’s also appropriate to add other types of evidence. Did you take a really great field trip to the Aquarium? Include your ticket and the brochure in the science section, or have your child write or draw a picture as a review of what they saw. Is he a bookworm? A list of books he checked out from the library can go under the reading tab. Is she a huge fan of Liberty Kids? List the episodes she watched, have her make a timeline with the events that most interest her, and file it under Social Studies. Documents can be used for more than one tab – a history paper can go under Social Studies and English Language Arts.
The most frequently asked portfolio questions tend to center around the Art/Music/PE/Health requirement. Most families do not use a formula curriculum to cover these subjects, so finding creative ways to document them can feel intimidating. Remember that home education allows you to incorporate “school” into everything you do. If your family attends a concert or watches a musical, make a note of it. Art museums make for really great field trips and portfolio material; and there are some great youtube art lessons that end in portfolio worthy products. Sports of all kinds count as PE as does any other kind of physical activity (biking, hiking, karate). You can provide a practice schedule, game schedule, and photos of your child participating. Health is part of your daily routine with your child, and a great time to use anecdotal summaries. A short recounting of a conversation about drug use, tooth brushing, or vaccinations all can be used to demonstrate Health education.
Whether you choose to bring a huge stack of workbooks or put together a video montage of your child’s activities, your portfolio can be a wonderful way to turn a requirement from the state into a tangible record of your unique and amazing homeschool journey.