PREPARING A HIGH SCHOOL HOMESCHOOL PORTFOLIO

PREPARING A HIGH SCHOOL HOMESCHOOL PORTFOLIO     B. McMillan  @, 2015

The homeschool portfolio should be a collection of samples of your student’s academic and creative endeavors during the school year, and should address both the diploma requirements and the richness of your unique homeschool program.  A 3-ring binder with thumb-tab dividers for each subject works well.  The portfolio can be put together on a weekly basis, and will be helpful to the student in the interview process for jobs, college, and scholarships. Under the 2014 PA Homeschool Law changes, only your evaluator (not the school district) reviews the log and portfolio so you should insist on a thorough subject-by-subject review and written evaluation report which you will turn into your school district

TITLE PAGE:  Student’s name, age, grade, school year, name of diploma program enrolled in.

COPY OF AFFIDAVIT which you submitted to your school district by August 1st of academic year.

CURRICULUM OBJECTIVES:  Short summary of learning goals in each subject, specify textbooks, key activities, lab experiences and supplementary resources. This is what you submitted to your school district at the beginning of the current school year.

EVALUATOR’S REPORT:  Subject-by-subject summary of evaluation of your student’s home-school program based on interview with student and review of portfolio and log; notes volunteer work, practical life skills, and how diploma requirements and academic credits were satisfied. Evaluator should date and sign.

TRANSCRIPT FOR GRADES 9 -12: A recognized diploma program issues an official transcript and you can pencil in grades, credits, course titles, etc. on copies of the transcript.  Your evaluator serves as your student’s academic advisor and works with student and parents to complete and sign the transcript yearly and to make sure the student is meeting graduation requirements.

READING LIST:  List of books read by student, authors, date completed, classics noted.

RESUME:  Student’s own summary of activities, honors, community service and leadership.

STANDARDIZED TEST SCORES:  Test reports for Grades 3,5 and 8 and PSATs, SATs or ACTs for Grades 9-12 recommended as part of the student portfolio, but not required.

SAMPLES OF WORK: Total of 15-20 samples in each subject per year, plus required compositions, research papers and speeches; each course subject divider should have a short title that describes the course topic (Academic English 10, Algebra I, General Science 9, etc.) plus a brief summary of major skills or concepts studied, projects, field trips, etc.

  • English: Literature, grammar and composition studies, including writing process; speech.
  • Math: computation, problem solving, geometry, algebra, trig/calculus, practical math.
  • Science: reports, study questions, drawings, lab write-ups, photos of field trips and labs.
  • Social Studies: reports of unit studies, maps, time lines, graphs, notes from textbook, vocabulary and study questions, brochures and photos from field trips.
  • Health/safety: summary paragraph, illustrations, photos and reports on unit studies  field trips; fire safety, drug and alcohol awareness, moral purity, driving safety.
  • Physical education: summary paragraph, certificates, photos of sports activities.
  • Electives (Art, Music, Foreign Language, Home Ec, Computer, Bible, academic electives): reports, study questions, tests, unit studies, field trips, readings, photos, performances.

LOG OF INSTRUCTIONAL ACTIVITIES:  Daily lesson plans for each student by subject, indicating text, topic, page and exercise numbers, or other learning activities related to your learning objectives.

HEALTH RECORDS:  Immunization records, and evidence of appropriate medical care in required years (date/name of physician/type of check-up). 

Reminder About Changes in PA Homeschool

In the Fall of 2014, PA House Bill 1013 simplified what is required of homeschoolers in Pennsylvania, but increased the burden of responsibility for evaluators. Please make sure your evaluator is aware of these changes, and be prepared to pay a bit more since your evaluator is now the only one ultimately responsible for declaring that an appropriate education has taken place for each student evaluated.

  • You no longer need to take your student’s portfolio to your public school superintendent or principal for the year-end review. Parents will still be required to keep documentation for health checkups, immunizations and achievement testing in Grades 3, 5 and 8, and have the student’s program evaluated by a qualified evaluator of the parent’s own choosing, but the superintendent must accept an evaluator’s written report that an appropriate education is occurring. You must get your evaluator’s written report to your school district by June 30.
  • The new law establishes an administrative procedure to resolve any claim by the superintendent that the parent has failed to comply with any aspect of the homeschool law. Under the old law, this procedure was only used to determine whether the student was receiving an appropriate education. This means that you must still keep thorough documentation, including the affidavit, copy of parent’s diploma, immunization records and learning objectives which you still submit to your school district when you start homeschooling each year.
  • High school diplomas issued by either the parent or an approved diploma-granting organization (like PHAA or ECHSA (Erie) must be given the same rights and privileges as other diplomas (e.g. public or private school diplomas) by the Commonwealth, including consideration for financial aid by the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency.  Before opting for a parent-issued diploma, please check with the requirements of potential colleges for admissions and scholarships.
  • The special requirements of the original law for Special Needs Students remain the same.