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!