This series of blog entries is designed to answer the most common homeschooling question: What do I have to do in order to homeschool in NH?". For the basic requirements, please see the prior blog Homeschooling in NH 1, 2, & 3.
Today's blog focuses on the third requirement for homeschooling in NH: maintaining a portfolio for 2 years after the end of your homeschooling year.
Whether you choose to have a portfolio evaluation done as your evaluation method of choice or not, you need to maintain a portfolio of your child's work for 2 years after you finish the homeschool year. Since the public school year follows the schedule of September to June, many homeschoolers follow that same calendar for their own school year. If your homeschool year follows a different time frame, for example, January to December, simply use the end of the calendar as a good marking point to collect portfolio samples for storage. Along with the samples of the child's work, you need to maintain a reading list of all books the child has read, or that were read to the child. (NH RSA 193-A:6 paragraph I)
For younger children, a fun way to create a reading list is to cut circles of colored construction paper. Use one of the circles to make a "worm" face and post it on a bulletin board or refrigerator. Each time your child reads a book, take one of the circles and add the book's name and author to the circle and add the circle to the "worm". By the end of the year your "book worm" will contain all the books your child has read. Simply gather the circles, clip them together and add the stack to your portfolio. Reading list accomplished!
To maintain my portfolio requirements, I have 3 plastic storage boxes that are slightly larger than regular printer paper and can hold more than 2 reams of 8.5 x 11 inch paper. The first storage box is my portfolio for the school year before last. The second storage box is for last year's portfolio. The third box is for this year of school. As we finish each school section (unit study, school quarter, etc), I take a few papers for each subject and place them in the box along with any tests of major papers, or projects. When we do our standardized testing, my choice for evaluation, I put the results in the front of the storage box, so it provides a date reference for the box's school year. The plastic boxes are clear enough to see the test results page through the outside of the box. At the end of the school year, I clean out the first storage box. I may save the test results of projects that I feel will have value in the future, such as a photo essay about a field trip we took. These permanent record types of files go into another storage box along with similar items from previous years. This first storage box is now empty and ready to receive next year's papers.