Portfolios and "Exams"

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  • mamajamiah

    I have two boys that are being homeschooled at the moment (two other enjoying their quiet growing times). Presently, the oldest two are going into “grade 4 and 2”. I know that I have seen articles and blogs on doing midterm testing and final exams. Does anyone out there do this and if so, how? Is there a list that Charlotte Mason gave to help with this?
    The other question I have is for those of you that do C.M. style homeschooling and need to report to your state or province, how do you show your work? Do you use portfolios? How do compile enough information to show when majority of their work under grade four is verbal, narrations, reading, etc.
    Thank you so much!


    Here in Ohio, we have a choice between standardized testing or having a portfolio evaluated by a state-certified teacher, and the teacher’s written statement that she has evaluated this and attests to the student making adequate progress for the year is sent to the local school superintendent.

    This process probably varies considerably from state to state here in the U.S. (and some states don’t use a portfolio review), but I can tell you that the teachers we’ve used for this were all homeschooling parents themselves. They were very understanding and supportive of me and my children.

    A porfolio typically consisted of a couple of samples from the beginning, middle, and end of the year per subject.  Where there were no written samples available, other items were submitted for review.  These items could be hands-on projects (or photographs of projects too large or cumbersome to transport), oral narrations that were dictated to the parent. or simply a list of books read by the child and/or read aloud by the parent.

    We also included artwork, a copy of a print used for picture study with comments about the piece that were made by the children, and lists of other activities such as music lessons, swimming lessons, ballet, martial arts, and the like.  If they received certificates for any of these types of things, I placed them in a sheet protector in the portfolio–most of which was contained in a 3-ring binder.  I prefaced each child’s binder with a brief, written narrative of my own that mentioned the high points and achievements during the school year.

    I hope this helps give you some idea of what our portfolios have looked like.  Yours can be relatively simple or more complex with more samples if that is what it seems is required by the laws of your location.  I’ve always thought our portfolios weren’t terribly “meaty,” but our teachers who were reviewing them have always commented on how thorough they were.  So now, I don’t stress out over putting together their portfolios.

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