Although scanners are often thought of as office equipment, if you're a homeschooling parent, you may be surprised at how helpful they can be in the home. In particular, if your state requires an annual performance review by a licensed teacher, you may find a scanner helpful in creating your portfolio. Here are some planning tips to help you not only create the perfect first portfolio, but also to use a scanner to simplify the process.
In the past, homeschool portfolios were often large binders filled with samples of the child's work from each core subject throughout the year. Over time, this can add up to a lot of paperwork. If you're looking to limit how much paper you're keeping on hand or you are scheduling a review with a teacher who isn't local, consider investing in a scanner to create a digital portfolio. With the scanner, you can produce digital copies of your child's worksheets, reports and presentations easily, preserving them for years to come.
Cover the Requirements
If you are in a state with attendance requirements, you'll have to keep an attendance log. For many homeschoolers, this is as simple as a printed monthly calendar that you mark to show the instructional days. You can even count zoo trips and other field trips as educational outings.
You'll also want to include a copy of your homeschool registration documents and your child's vaccination records. If you're required to have an annual physical, records of that should be in there as well. When you use a scanner to create a digital portfolio, consider putting each of these scanned documents into a single PDF file and labeling it as the administrative requirements. This makes it easy for the evaluator to identify each piece.
Highlight Academic Achievements
To produce a comprehensive portfolio, you'll need samples from each core subject. You're going to want examples taken from at least three points during the year. Choose three or four things from each subject that were done in the beginning of the year. Look for things that clearly show your child's performance level when the school year started. Scan them in and merge each subject's documents into a separate PDF file labeled with the subject and "start of year" or something similar.
Repeat this process with samples from the middle of the school year and the end. Include a book list that shows all of the books that your child completed during the year as well as pictures from any field trips or particularly successful projects. The goal is to clearly show your child's academic progress throughout the course of the year. The evaluator needs to see that your child is learning and progressing appropriately.