Tuesday, April 21, 2009

In the Flow - Putting Together a Portfolio

Last week, I took Maxim to pick out the "hardware" to put his portfolio together. We chose a cloth-covered scrapbook with 12x12" sleeves and a variety of card stock. Max chose red -- theorists believe red suggests a combination of speed and confidence with a dash of danger -- which seems an accurate description of my boy, actually. Though I wasn't looking for a theme, Max chose some animal stickers and prints because Kipling's "Just So Stories" are his favorite.

In Massachusetts, we have the choice of submitting either standardized test results or a portfolio "that displays the student's progress in each subject" at the end of each school year. We chose the latter, believing we'll be able to tailor it to the Charlotte Mason approach we use, while providing us a meaningful look back at Max's first official year.

After finding out what my state required, I contacted the head of a local homeschool group, who is also our MassHOPE representative. Her biggest piece of advice was to not set the bar too high, stating a sample of work in each subject -- one from the beginning and one from the end -- would be plenty. Any more and the deputy superintendent might begin to request the same from others.

Max loves to storyboard so I plan to have him help design the layout of his portfolio in his storyboarding book. Pictured above are boards from his movie "The Popcorn Wars" - not his portfolio.

I have not found anything in Charlotte Mason's writings to suggest the use of a portfolio for evaluation. If any of you have, please do let me know. She does encourage us to free ourselves from the juggernaut of tests and graded exams, which Sonya Shafer recently discussed in When Grades Are Necessary. Reading is "tested by narration" or by writing on a passage. CM tells us in the preface of vol. 3 School Education that children taught under the thought "that education is an [atmosphere, life and science of relations] are remarkable for their keenness after knowledge, and do well afterwards in any examination..." Samples of examination work done in the Parents' Review School are found in the Appendices of vol. 3 and are also much discussed in A Philosophy of Education vol. 6.

Jeanne, from A Peaceful Day, sums up CM exams beautifully in AO1 Term Three Exams. I'll provide examples of how we incorporate them as well as other CM educational thought into an evaluation portfolio by subject. Meanwhile, I hope those of you with more experience will share via link or comment what you have done or are doing for a portfolio that reflects a CM education.


Laura Lou said...

I have yet to formally examine my kiddos. I too observe that this sort of testing is accomplished everyday through narration and such, but have thought more recently about having something for each year with which they can look back upon fondly, like a portfolio.

Cannot wait to see your future posts on this!!

Jeanne said...

I'll reply to your post in a little more detail when I'm not so rushed off my feet, but just wanted to say thanks for the link!

Would you like me to post my AO1 Terms 1 and 2 exam questions? Do you think they'd be useful?


Richele said...

Jeanne, I think all of your "examination" posts are helpful. When I started looking for examples of CM Portfolios I saw a good number of forum posts from people who had decided not to use CM because they thought they would have an empty portfolio. I'm really interested in seeing how this translates out to show a child's progress.

Laura, I just recently added exams to our education (thanks to Jeanne) and it has been a very good thing for us.

Cindy said...

We put together an end of the year portfolio, too. Although, ours isn't nearly as nicely done!

Richele said...

Cindy, I'd love to see your portfolio! I have never scrapbooked but when I saw those nice, over-sized sleeves I thought they would work well. We purchased everything (including adhesive and lots more cardstock) for about $30.

Lisa said...

I just wanted to say Hi! We are originally from Massachusetts but we live in Wisconsin right now. What part of MA. are you in? I'm thinking of starting portfolios too.

Becky said...

We live in MD, but we also have to keep a portfolio for county reviews twice a year.

I record narrations with a voice recorder and type them up, and for my third grader, I have him copy them in his own writing. Our portfolios are so full at the end of the year, I have to take material out to go to our review!

Good luck with yours, I am sure you will do wonderfully!

Marie said...

Those are nice books your son made. you may be interested in this http://memoriesthatbind.blogspot.co

When I lived in Florida someone told me the same thing about setting the bar too high with your submissions to the state. Thankfully here in Mt. we do not have to do that.

{ jamie } said...

We don't have to provide anything like that, but it would be a lovely thing to keep as a record. ♥

Makita said...

I wish we had the option to submit a portfolio in Oregon - rather than a series of standardized tests.