Well, today our 2007-2008 school year is Officially Over.
Did we just now finish with school work? Nope. That was May 30.
Did we just get our test scores back? Nope. That was weeks ago, too.
No, the one thing that officially closes out our year as far as I'm concerned, is my finishing our portfolios.
I don't know why I dread doing this, but it's the same every year. It only takes a couple of hours at the most, but it seems like such a chore in the build up!
All during the year, I toss all those papers, certificates, flyers from field trips, programs from piano recitals, debate ballots, and other "souvenirs" of our year in a basket in our school area. Then in June, I put them in a notebook to chronicle the year. Some folks have asked me if this is so I'll have "proof" in case any of those folks from our state's Dept of Non-Public Instruction ever come knocking. I guess, in the back of mind, that would be a yes :-)
But I also do it for myself, and for my kids. They like having a condensed version of their year that they can go back and look at, and I do too.
For instance, I went all year thinking my kids weren't doing enough writing. When I compiled it all together for the portfolio, I was pleasantly surprised to find that we had done more writing than I thought.
Besides, where else would I put all those certificates, ribbons, programs, and other goodies?
I use a 1/2" white binder for this. Years ago, I came up with a (not terribly attractive) logo for our school. I print this out, with my student's name, the year and the grade, to use for the cover.
Inside, I first put the reports I print from Homeschool Tracker. They include attendance records, the list of field trips, and resources used. (I know I'm not utilizing HST the way I should, but that's another post, I guess!)
I follow that with all 36 of those weekly checklists I filled out for my students throughout the year. This is really a great record of what we actually did. All extra classes and field trips are noted on these checklists, too.
Next comes the certificate section. Our local homeschool support group has a ceremony each spring in which the kids are presented with a certificate of completion of their current grade. We also have a talent show that same night. I put this certificate, along with the program showing that they performed in the show, in a page protector.
In more page protectors, I put any other certificates they might have (ie. piano, guitar, 4-H, speech & debate tournaments), ribbons from Gavel Club speeches, and ticket stubs or flyers from field trips.
Next I put samples of their work from the year. Because my kids did history scrapbooks the last several years, and a lot of their other work is in workbooks, this section is not as long as you might think. Mostly, it consists of copies of their writing assignments. If they have science papers (like lab reports, or drawings and graphs they did) I'll include those too.
In the front of the portfolio, I put an index card in the pocket. Here I list all of the curriculum I used for that year. This is mainly for my reference for My Girl. My Boy is two years ahead of her and I often forget what 7th grade looked like by the time she rolls around for her turn. These cards give me a handy reference to see if I'm forgetting anything.
I also put here a list of the co-op classes and other enrichment classes they have taken during the year.
That's it! Once I have all this in place, I can put those notebooks on the shelf with the others, and officially turn all my attention to planning for next year, guilt-free. My favorite part!