A portfolio is a handy assessment option that doubles as a form of recordkeeping—it’s simply a curated compilation of your child’s schoolwork samples from the past year.

Portfolios are used in state-required end-of-year assessments in two ways:

  • Some states provide an assessment option in which parents turn in their child’s portfolio directly to the school district.
  • Some states have an evaluator option, and a portfolio is often required for this.

If you’ve checked your state law and your child doesn’t need a portfolio to comply with assessment requirements, you might still like the portfolio idea! It’s a fabulous way to document and hang onto work samples, school photos, certificates, and other precious homeschool memories.

Because portfolios include both important records and treasured memories, it’s a good idea to always keep your original portfolio for your own use—and simply provide a photocopy or digital copy if you do submit a portfolio for state-required assessment.

What to Put in Your Child’s Portfolio

The key items in a portfolio are chronological work samples—such as math tests and writing projects—organized by month or subject. But really, the sky’s the limit! Your child’s portfolio might also include:

If you’re creating a portfolio for a really young student (say preschool through around age 7) you can find some specific tips for documenting their early learning achievements and skills in Assessment Options for Young Children.

While three-ring binders are the go-to format for homeschool portfolios, families have found lots of other creative ways to showcase their kids’ work. See this article by a homeschool mom for portfolio ideas you might want to try.

Oh, and Mom (or Dad!), portfolios don’t have to be a solitary project! You can get your kids involved in designing and compiling their own portfolios throughout the year. It gives them a say in their year-end evaluation, channels their creativity, and encourages them to take pride in their learning and savor what they’ve accomplished!