Nice quote

"The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can." Neil Gaimon

Record-Keeping Ideas for Portfolio Reviews

Here are some ideas for record-keeping.  I especially love Pam Sorooshian's suggestions!  

Pam Sorooshian's idea for recordkeeping that she posted to a yahoo group in June 2012 - 
Recordkeeping for Unschoolers

IF you really want to keep records for some reason, it is better to keep
more "real" records than ones based on academic subject areas. So instead
of language arts, math, science, history, etc., use more descriptive

Use these headings as ticklers to remind yourself of what you might want to
record. Most activities could be put into multiple categories, but it
doesn't matter which category you happen to use.

It is much better to think in terms of the things your kids are really
doing, instead of thinking constantly about how what they are doing
translates into school subjects. Later, if you have a reason to
recategorize things into school subjects, you can do it all at once so you
don't have to think about it for long or often.

These are some suggested categories with tickler ideas for what might be
included in each category. You could put this into a word document, format
it to leave space for notes and print one for each day or week. Experiment
until you figure out what is most useful for you.

Books, magazines, newspapers, websites….Fiction, biography, nonfiction,
poetry, drama, essays, articles,…..

Cooking, swimming, dog training, babysitting, volunteering, working,
singing, acting, music, math, ……

Art, crafts, building, sewing, weaving, beadwork, ….

Journal, stories, letters, website, email, articles,…

TV, movies, videos, live theater, demonstrations, exhibits,…

Tapes, radio, music, stories, audio magazines, lectures,….

Speech, discussion, explaining, directing, instructing, debating,….

Museums, zoos, field trips,…..

Planning, analyzing, imagining, plotting, ….

Pretend play, dress-up, role-playing, board games, card games, toys, dolls, action figures, props...

Here is a chart you could make and add to over time (using Pam's list above and adding in a couple other ideas)

Name: ___________________  Date: ___________

Things most interested in: ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Pretend play, dress-up, role-playing, board games, party games, online games, hand-held games, card games, toys, dolls, action figures, props…

Cooking, swimming, dog training, babysitting, volunteering, working,
singing, acting, playing musical instruments, math, gardening, etc
Journal, stories, poems, songs, plays, letters, website, email, articles, etc
(Tapes, radio, music, stories, audio magazines, lectures, etc)
(Museums, farms, living history centers, botanical gardens, parks, zoos, field trips, etc)
Books, magazines, newspapers, websites, instructions….Fiction, biography, nonfiction,
poetry, drama, essays, articles, etc

Art, crafts, building, sewing, knitting,  weaving, beadwork,
carpentry, etc
TV, movies, videos, live theater, demonstrations, exhibits, etc.
(Speech, discussion, explaining, directing, instructing, debating, etc)
(Planning, analyzing, imagining, plotting, calculating, etc)

Here is a link to Sandra Dodd's site which has more links to other portfolio review suggestions, such as askpauline.

Here's an example of Noor's portfolio review.  They live in PA and need to do a lot of documenting.  Brie (Noor's mom) uses Evernote and EasyBib to help with documenting.

Brie (with Noor's help) created a tutorial on how to use Evernote and EasyBib.  It is on this page (scroll to bottom): 

Educationese for Beginners

Since many people have homeschooling requirements to fulfill, I thought this might be helpful. How do you explain what your children do they live...into educational terms? Some people call those educational terms "educationese." Some of the information in the first section is from this page


Examples of Daily or Homeschool Activities Translated into Educationese
Trip to the Library Research Instruction = Silent, Sustained Reading; Resource Identification

Shopping [depending on grocery, building supply, etc.] = Consumer Math; Health and Hygiene Instruction, Geography, Consumer Education, Time and Money

Homeschool Support Group Meeting = Socializational Development

Playing Outside = Low-Organized Physical Education

Interesting Family Outing [even if it's on the weekend, call it a school day] = Educational Field Trip;
Resource Field Trip in conjunction with _____(name of subject)

Arts & Crafts (in relation to any subject) = Manipulative Construction relating to ____ (name of subject)

Chores along with the family = Manual Arts; Home Economics; Time-on-Task development;
Values Education

Legos, K’nex or Blocks building = Building Critical Thinking; Small Motor Skills; Design

Gardening = Botanical Science

Child Learning to be brave = Quantitive, Contributive Sociological Development

Dentist visit = Health, Occupational Education

Kicking Around a Soccer Ball = PE, Angles, Critical Thinking, Large Motor Skills
  • There is a good story book about soccer from Charlesbridge Publishers ( that has to do with probability. 
    • "A Very Improbable Story" by Edward Einhorn (ISBN: 978-1-57091-871-1) - Book Summary: Ethan wakes up one morning with a talking cat on his head. The cat refuses to budge until Ethan wins a game of probability. Without looking, Ethan must pick out a dime from his coin collection or two matching socks from his dresser, or do something else improbable. 
Zoo Field Trip = Reading maps; PE – walking; reading and narrating (read and observe-tell about what you saw and read about); art (draw animals)

Nature Walk and collecting things along the way, identifying them from a book = PE, Reading and Science

Reading the Daily Paper = Social Studies, Current Events

Drawing = Art

4-H Activities = Social Studies, Science, Language Arts

Bicycling = PE

Talking with Grandma About Her Life and Experiences = History

Playing Monopoly = Math, Economics

TV Documentaries, Movies TLC, History Channel, National Geographic, Animal Planet, PBS, Health Channel, etc. = History, Geography, Science, Social Sciences

Another "Educationese" article I saved had much of the same plus this additional info:

Painting a room: Math and PE

Pet care: PE and Science

Volunteering at the Library: Language Arts

E-mailing friends/Writing a Pen Pal: Language Arts

Guitar/Piano lessons: Fine Arts

Volunteering with a community drama group: Fine Arts and English

Red Cross First Aid Class: Science

Travel: Geography, social studies

Field Trip to Store:{depending grocery,building supply,Walmart} Consumer Math; Health & Hygiene Instruction, Geography, Consumer Education, Time and Money

In 2005, an unschooling mom who did portfolio reviews in our area gave out this list of ideas/suggestions of what to keep (for a portfolio review):

Reading log -- include books, magazines, articles, etc. (if your child is not yet a reader, this can be a list of books etc. that you have read to her)

Travel log -- camping trips, field trips, travel anywhere (visits to relatives, etc.)

Video log -- includes movies, videos, educational (or not) TV shows

Technology log -- computer games played, topics researched, any use of digital media
(i.e., taking photos, using a computer drawing program like Kidpix)

Activity log -- classes taken, lessons, clubs, group activities (like open gyms), exhibits, museums, fairs, Open Farm Days, apple-picking, etc. (may overlap with travel log)

Project log -- things made or built, gardening, artwork, writing (especially good if you can include some photos or samples)

Daily Living Skills log -- includes things like going grocery shopping with mom or to the hardware or feed store with Dad, helping to cook or do laundry or paint the garage, caring for pets, etc.

Not every child will have everything on this list in his portfolio, of course, this is just an overview of what kinds of things you may want to include.

The portfolio can take any form you'd like. Some people use a three ring binder, others a box or waffle folder -- one person sent me the entire thing as an email attachment, complete with pictures.


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  2. It was very useful for me. Keep sharing such ideas in the future as well. This was actually what I was looking for, and I am glad to came here! Thanks for sharing the such information with us.

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