It's going to be a long day.
In Pennsylvania, there is no standard way of creating a portfolio. There are several mandatory components; a letter from the evaluator certifying that the student has received an 'appropriate' education, something indicating that the student has met the required 180 days or 900 hours of instruction, a log designating the titles of reading materials used, samples of work, and standardized test results for students in grades 3, 5, and 8. This simple set of guidelines really allows me to show their work in a wide variety of ways. My usual method is a combination of actual samples of their work, photographs of activities they have participated in during the school year, flyers from performances we have attended, written summaries of their work in hard to show subjects, like physical education, and a sample of their art work. For the art work sample, I typically take photos of each piece of work on a white background, load them into a photo printer and print a page or two of tiles showing the variety of work they have done.
Today I managed to complete the art work photos and printing. I spent a little time updating their reading logs to include their most recent books. Starting work on the summaries of subjects like physical education, art, and health, I ran into a road block. I realized I never wrote out the outline for our health unit this year. That particular unit had come together in a very fluid way. Even though we were learning new things about our eating habits through documentaries and websites, we never really had a definite direction to each day's work. After going back through the weekly lists I give each boy on Mondays, I had made a quick outline of what we had done. Then I remembered! I had written a blog post all about our healthy eating unit that would work perfectly for the portfolio! It looks like blogging has paid off for me this time.
Tomorrow I will need to make final decisions on what work samples to include. I will also need to scour my hard drive for good pictures of our adventures this year. Putting the portfolios together can sometimes feel like busy work for me. However, I realize going back and following our path through the year from beginning to end is a great way to appreciate where we have been and where we are headed for the future.