Over the last couple of months, I have been working on getting more organized and have come to one very dire conclusion – there is never enough space! Aside from up cycling shoe boxes for storing unit study supplies to filling up the top of the closet with leveled tiers to add more shelving, there simply isn’t enough room for all that we need to store. So how does one go about making room for 12 years of completed schoolwork, projects, assignments, lap-books, etc.?
Well, I had to get crafty. I had to get ready. And above all, I had to get realistic.
Getting realistic was the kicker for me. If you are a parent who cherishes your child, you probably have an area that resembles a mini-bomb exploding in a filing cabinet. Papers shoved in manila folders, with no chance of remembering when it happened, but “oh, look how well they wrote their name!” to that older child essay when they “really did grasp the concept of the author’s work”. Yes! Mom and dad, all their work is valuable to you because your children worked extremely hard to earn that grade. Truth be told, you worked just as hard teaching as they did learning. But the fact of the matter is, you do not need to keep all of their work. In fact, (unless your state requires an intensive portfolio), you will only want to keep some of their best and worst work. Why the best? Because it’s the best. Why the worst? Because it shows for comparison how far they’ve advanced their learning and understanding of the subject.
I thought about different ways of doing this and came to 2 logical conclusions: Paper & Digital or Digital ONLY.
Option 1 – The P & D (Paper & Digital)
A 3” 3-ring binder
12 tabbed divider inserts – one for each school year
4-8 GB Jump Drive
Graded assignments in which your child shows weaknesses and strengths. Include 5-7 assignments per subject per quarter and place them in the divider for that grade/year.
AND a Digital Jump Drive (Also called a thumb drive) to screenshot and save online work. You can purchase these at nearly any retail store that carries electronics.
Using a computer or laptop with a snipping tool, or a tablet with a screenshot feature, or even a cell phone camera, you can now capture those online grades after they have scored them and place them in a digital folder. You can also screenshot answered questions, online responses, etc. Additionally, you can save pictures of posters, lapbooks, projects, experiments, video of presentations, etc. and store them electronically.
Option 2* – Digital ONLY portfolio.
4-8 GB Jump Drive
*You will also need a scanner* or scanner app for this option.
Using a scanner or scanning app, you can save all work (digital and paper) to a jump drive and organize it according to grade/school year.
My system is pretty simple. A digital file folder for each child with that particular school year such as :
Childs Name – Grade – School Year
Then I create a digital file folder for each of his classes.
- Reading & Vocabulary
- Language & Grammar
- Social Studies
Because we can save them to the digital portfolio – we can save them with the info we need to know what they were from.
For example: the Mavis Beacon Typing Program screenshot below is from my oldest sons class. It shows how the image is saved as a photograph. We then give it the info we need to save it as. The one below is saved as: 9.16.15 – TY – G9Q1D46
9.16.15 is the date. TY is the class (typing). G9 is the grade (9th) Q1 is the quarter (1st quarter) and D46 is the day (Day 46).
The great thing about it – YOU can save it HOWEVER you want! This is my way. What works for me will not always work for others.
By using a digital portfolio, you get to save much more of their “busy work” to compare with their final work and I simply love the idea of this because it takes up virtually no space, allows for easy access and because you can create files on the jump drive – you can make a filing system that fits your style.
And because some of us parents simply cannot stand the idea of throwing away any of our children’s work, now we can save it and then throw it away! And they said we couldn’t have our cake and eat it to! There are many other ways that you could keep a portfolio, but the thing you must remember as a parent – keep what you must or it will be covered in dust.
I do sincerely hope that my overactive obsessive compulsive disorder did not make you run for the hills – please understand that what works for one family may not always work for another. That doesn’t mean that you can’t use any of it – simply take these ideas and cultivate your own method. After all, it is your homeschool; make it fit you!
Regardless of whether you choose paper or digital or both, you do not want to fill a binder full of all their work, but rather, you want to showcase how your child has grown intellectually!
Many thanks and be sure to check out our resources tab for free downloads. I never charge a penny for the items I host on my site and they are yours to download for free!
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