Thursday, April 28, 2011

Portfolio Review

When you homeschool your children, you are required by state law to keep a portfolio of each child's work. If you belong to an umbrella group (church or other group that oversees homeschoolers) they review your portfolio. If you homeschool independently, you have an annual review with a representative from your local board of education.

Mainly, the review is to ensure that you are instructing your children regularly and covering the subjects they would learn in public school. Pretty straightforward. It also gives the kids at least one day out of the the closet that you lock them in the rest of the year. (Sorry...homeschool joke...I really don't do that! Honest.) Lots of homeschoolers stress out about their portfolio reviews. It hits them in that tender spot called, "Am I giving my child a good education?" The nightmare scenario being something like, "Math? Oh no! I forgot to teach them math!" (This is akin to the more mainstream nightmare of showing up for a final exam or job interview without any clothes on, for you Freudians out there.)

What I enjoy about the portfolio review process is you get a wonderful sense of accomplishment seeing a year's worth of work collected all in one place. You see your child's handwriting go from chicken-scrawl to neat, legible printing. Pictures from field trips months-gone-by remind you of the moment when your child first donned safety glasses and "excavated" a dinosaur fossil at the Science Center. The sheer volume of the 3-ring binder testifies to the daily work, discipline, and accomplishment of your child (and her teacher). "We did this!" And, it was mostly fun.

After the review we celebrated by going out to lunch at a favorite Mexican restaurant. For dessert, it was donut time! Sweet. My daughter selected the seasonal donut called "Royal Wedding" because it looked like another of her favorites, the Marble Frosted, only better because it was heart-shaped. However, she was disappointed to discover that it was filled with jelly (not her personal favorite). The look on her face has been captured for history.

My son was happy with his donut choice and luckily we found another donut in the box that my daughter could eat, too.

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