At the end of each school year, I assemble a portfolio of my kids’ work and special memories from the year.  Even before we homeschooled, I began doing this.  It’s kind of like a scrapbook, kind of like a hoarder who can’t bear to part with any beautiful little piece of artwork made by her babies, and part practicality.  I have this image of sending my kids to college interviews with their years of portfolios tucked under their arms.  I know, I’m laughing at myself as well.  I don’t think any college, Ivy League or not, will want a sample of my child’s second grade penmanship, but they’re nice memories to look back on nonetheless.

How to Assemble a Portfolio

In a handy spot, I keep a labeled manilla file jacket for each of my kids.  Any time something worthy crosses my path throughout the year, I date it on the back, and stick it in there.  Drawings, little scrawled notes of love to Mommy or Daddy, tickets from movies/plays/museums, essays and stories they write, you get the picture.  Throughout the year, I take photos of large projects- artwork, tri-fold posters, science fair projects, and even them presenting their work, and include that as well.  If you’re using this as a memento more than for schooling purposes, this is a great place to put special birthday and holiday cards.  I use the end of school in June as a cutoff for what goes into that year’s portfolio, but it could also be done on your child’s birthday, if used as a memento.


Next I get a binder (a two or three inch works well) and sheet protectors (one for each subject).  I sort everything in the folder into topics—for schoolwork, I use the obvious divisions- ELA, math, science, social studies, art, technology.  I designate the first sleeve for the year’s IHIP, quarterly reports, and year-end report or testing results.  If your child goes to school, this is a great spot for report cards, certificates earned during the year, and so forth.  Next, each sleeve holds a subject.  There can be a miscellaneous sleeve for memorabilia—cards, special photos, movie tickets, etc., if desired.  Finally, I label each sleeve with a little sticky note (if you’re creative and into actual scrapbooking, this your chance to have some fun, but I stick with post-its, thank you very much!  The front pocket of the binder can hold anything oversized that doesn’t fit into a sheet protector.

In less than a half an hour, an entire year is preserved.  My kids love to flip through year’s past every once in a while, noting how much their handwriting has improved, their schoolwork has progressed, and reminisce about projects and events. It’s a neat collection of their accomplishments, and who knows, maybe it will be used at a school interview one day!