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Portfolios and Records and Facilitators… Oh MY!

February 15, 2011
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For those of us who’ve been homeschooling for over a decade, the idea of meeting with a facilitator has become a regular part of our homeschool routine. For someone new to homeschooling, however, it can seem a bit daunting. Many homeschoolers in Canada don’t necessarily have a one-on-one facilitator or education assistant but still need to keep clear records of their child’s learning journey.

I hope to give you some encouragement as well as a few practical ideas for tracking your child’s learning throughout their homeschool years.

RECORD KEEPING

Keeping a record of your child’s education can be of huge importance later on in their life. Some kids like to see what they did years ago when they were little and for others it will be their ticket into post secondary education. It is especially critical to keep careful and accurate records during the high school years. Here are a few ideas for how to keep those records:

~ Use a pre-printed planner for record keeping. The “Well-Guided Highschooler” is my personal favourite as it includes dated pages for four years

A Four Year Highschool Plan

of highschool (Grades 9 – 12), room for pictures and personal journalling, planning worksheets, transcript pages, college planning, plus many encouraging articles on “how to put it all together”.  This spiral bound book is currently on SALE at CHER!!!  This same publisher also offers planners for “The Well-Planned Day” and “The Well-Grounded Middle Schooler” that you can order through us.

~ Use a software program to track subjects, materials, grades, activities, special events, community involvement, and volunteer activities. You can either purchase software for this specific purpose or you can just use a program like Word or Excel.

~ Print out planning sheets from the internet, or create your own, and place those in a special binder each year.

PORTFOLIOS

After using any of the above record-keeping methods, putting together a portfolio becomes an easy – even enjoyable – task.  Here are a few presentation ideas:

~ Video log. Record your student showing and explaining some of the projects and activities he has done throughout the year. Some video-editing software will allow you to add fun elements like music, still photos (be sure to include those field trip pics) and captions.

~ Digital scrapbook. There are now several companies who will help you create a beautiful keepsake of your child’s school year. I have done a few of these books and they are definitely worth every amount of effort and money.

~ Binder. Slide all those important documents into clear page protectors – add a few subject dividers – and you have a clean & simple presentation of your school year.

MEETINGS

Connecting face-to-face with your facilitator can be a really encouraging experience – especially if you have prepared ahead for your meeting. I always find this to be a time for the kids to “show & tell” what they’ve done which gives purpose and motivation for them to put more effort into their work throughout the year. Here are a few tips to make these meetings go smoothly:

~ Be positive and enthusiastic about the meeting so your kids look forward to it.

~ A few days before the meeting go through the schoolwork and pull out all the samples and items you’d like to show your facilitator. Let the kids help in this process as they may be excited to show a piece of handwriting that you might overlook. Remember to include “extra-curricular” events like swimming lessons, girl guides, or church activities.

~ Be sure to have your camera ready and take photos of the meeting (and add them to your portfolio for the year!).

~ This is a fantastic opportunity to teach your child about manners and being a good host.

I’d love to hear your ideas for Portfolios, Record-keeping, and Facilitator meetings so feel free to leave a comment and let others know what has worked for you.

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