Portfolio F.A.Q.

  • Are you still doing evaluations?

    Yes! As of  [date today], I am still doing portfolio evaluations. Although my 2013 was more interesting than I’d prefer, God is gracious and I am continuing, and expanding, my educational support offerings.
  • Are evaluations even required anymore?

    Yes, evaluations (either portfolio or testing or “mutually agreeable”) are still required by New Hampshire law. Because you don’t need to turn in your evaluations, the July 1st deadline has been removed. Evaluations still need to be “annual”. “If I don’t have to turn them in, do I really need to get an evaluation?” YES. As always, please read the law for yourself. (The rules may or may not be updated.) HSLDA has a summary page as well. Of course, I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice : )
  • What about High School?

    I do evaluate high schoolers’ portfolios, however I do strongly suggest a completed portfolio plan form be included in all high school portfolios. Many parents panic in May, and I’m hoping this will help.
  • Is my portfolio good enough?

    I am not able to “pre-evaluate” portfolios. If you have concerns about specific materials, we can certainly chat, but I just can’t go over the details of your entire school year and the portfolio you’re hoping to create. Questions are great, but full walkthroughs of your portfolio, not so much. Rule of thumb: Does your portfolio evidence your child’s progress over the course of the school year?
  • When should I reschedule my evaluation?

    Straight shooting: You should call me and reschedule if:

    • You or any member of your family has had a fever in the past 18 hours, or you are actively sick. OR
    • You are running so late that there really won’t be time to do the evaluation anyway. OR
    • You’ve been so busy with family stuff that you don’t have any portfolio materials for me to evaluate.
  • What, specifically, are your expectations?

    I have really tried to avoid quantifying portfolio expectations. I’m a big believer in a student progressing as is appropriate for them. However, I have had to “not-pass” several students due to either an inadequate portfolio or an egregious lack of educational progress. (Please note: I’m not talking about “curriculum” progress or “formal” schooling, I’m referring to a lack of learning in general.) You can check out my Expectations page if you’re interested in more details.
  • When should I call you to schedule an evaluation?

    You can call any time of the year to schedule an evaluation…but February-April would be great! While I try to be as flexible as possible in scheduling, the reality is that there are only so many hours in the day. If you wait until you’re actually done schooling, in June, you may very well find that my first available appointment slots are in July or August–ouch! While you might not be ready to actually have your evaluation until the end of May or early June, please consider calling early in the spring to make the appointment. It’s so great to have an end in sight!
  • What if I’m an unschooler or just really relaxed about things?

    “Evaluation by Portfolio” is perfect for the relaxed homeschooler! It’s about showing your child’s progress over the course of the year. Perhaps photos, a journal, or video of some science experiments might sum things up best. Perhaps “before” and “after” reading level assessments, to show that your eager-reader improved his skills. Perhaps you just need a book list to highlight your family’s history studies. Portfolios are meant to be samples of real, applicable work done by your child. I talk to many parents who are panicked when there aren’t many “writing assignments”–but their children write to family members each week and have progressed beautifully. Include what you need to in order to show a year’s learning. Your child’s portfolio needs to show their academic progress. It can be harder to document more informal learning styles — but it’s worth it if you take the time. When in doubt, if you and your students each keep a daily journal, along with copies of related work, you should be fine. Please check out my Expectations page for more ideas.