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View Full Version : Question for those who have homschooled through the HS years



Busygoddess
07-22-2011, 10:53 PM
Ok, I have no concerns about our curriculum or my ability to get my kids through high school level courses. So, this isn't a 'how do plan' or 'how do you determine what to cover' question.

So far, none of the colleges we've looked at have stated that they expect or want a portfolio from applying homeschoolers. They all seem to want the same things they want from all other applicants - personal statement, letters of recommendation, transcript, SAT & ACT scores. I have heard some homeschoolers say that they put together portfolios for college application, though. So, I'm assuming that some colleges want portfolios.

Anyway, I decided to put together a portfolio for Dea's high school courses, just in case we need it. I would like info from any who have been through this process, though.

I bought a 7-pocket accordian file. I figured I would have 1 pocket for Science, 1 for Social Studies (Geography, History, Cultural Studies), 1 for Math, 1 for English, 1 for Foreign Languages, 1 for The Arts, and 1 for Electives (Computer Programming, Life Skills, etc.).

I'm not sure how much to keep in the portfolio, though. I know to keep a description of each course, including the basic curriculum used. I know to keep some examples of their work. Does 1-2 examples of their work, for each course, sound right? Do I need to have an example of their work for each topic covered in each subject (i.e. her Earth & Space Science textbook had 4 units, each on a different topic; is 1-2 examples fine, or should it be one from each unit)? Would pictures count as examples, or would they be extra? Do I list each Lab that she does for each Science course or should I put an estimated amount of Lab hours for each course?

I know that colleges don't want too much being sent in for any applicant, and that they are more likely to skip an application if it's accompanied by too many extras. So, I don't want to keep too much in it, but I want to make sure there's enough.

Her transcript is organized by subject, not year (part of the reason I'm organizing the portfolio by subject), since she's been earning HS credit since 6th grade. She's just started 8th & I really want to make sure I get everything in the portfolio for the courses she's already done.

Thanks in advance, for any advice, tips, etc.

mommykicksbutt
07-23-2011, 06:06 AM
Having already been through this once and going through it a second time I can attest that EVERY college is different in what they want from a homeschool applicant. Here's what we discovered:

Most want course descriptions.
Some want to know how the grade was determined (i.e. Tests 50% of grade, Quizzes 30% of grade, Mid-Term Research Report 20% of grade, ect.) Few want to see the actual scores though.
Some want a list of text/materials used for the course(s).
Some want a reading list.
Most want writing examples. This varied on the topic of the examples, some wanted general essays, others research reports, still others wanted book reports. One school wanted a essay type lab report.
Most want several writing examples. One school requested 4 essays from her senior year and 4 from her freshman year.
A few wanted actual tests in a given subject/course.
No school wanted pictures or photos. (but if she is a photographer and wished to take any photo courses i.e. photo journalism, then they may want to see photos)

We kept/keep each year in a its own file box (cardboard file/photo box from Ikea about 9x12x5 inches) sorted by course taken for that year. I keep all essays, all tests, all reports. I make a course description of each course (usually after the fact). I keep a list of all materials used for the course even if we start with it then change part way through the year to go with different materials (I copy the table of contents page, title page, and publisher's page for the records). I keep a reading list to include magazines and audio books. I keep a grading record for each course as well.

I can not recall if we were asked for something that I didn't already have in the file box.

A few months ago a came across a website of an author on just this topic. Her name is Lee Binz and she goes by the moniker The Home Scholar. google her website. I can't think of the name of the book for THIS topic but I think her book on making transcripts is called Keeping the Record Straight.

When applying to a college, send only what is required for the application. If they want more they will let you know and you send it then. In a couple of cases we did send more though. My daughter wanted to major in criminal justice (which she did) and sent a couple of copies of police reports she wrote for the police department she volunteered with as well as a course description of her homeschooled (she designed the course) police investigation procedures course.

Shoe
07-23-2011, 09:26 AM
Does 1-2 examples of their work, for each course, sound right? Do I need to have an example of their work for each topic covered in each subject (i.e. her Earth & Space Science textbook had 4 units, each on a different topic; is 1-2 examples fine, or should it be one from each unit)?
I've only begun to research on this, but one of the college admissions officers I talked to wanted to see examples of work that would show progress through the year(s)-so, a few examples from early in each school year, a few from the middle and a few from the end. He also said that a list of the books/resources used and a course description would be helpful, and he said that they used the SAT/ACT scores more than they would from public school students. He was also interested in evaluations done by non-parents, if any had been done.

speech mom
07-23-2011, 10:34 AM
I don't have any answers, but have a question for the OP. My oldest is going into 7th and I am trying to figure out what would be a high school class compared to what would be considered junior high. How did you make the determination?

Busygoddess
07-23-2011, 05:07 PM
I don't have any answers, but have a question for the OP. My oldest is going into 7th and I am trying to figure out what would be a high school class compared to what would be considered junior high. How did you make the determination?

The simple explanation: level of materials & amount of work done.

When dd was in 5th, we spent part of the year on Marine Biology. The materials we used as a spine were for 9th-12th grades. However, we didn't do all the labs & activities - some were too time consuming since we were only spending part of the year on that topic, and some were not feasible due to where we live. We did some of the labs & activities, plus extra reading, dvds, and research. I didn't feel that what we did would be enough for a high school credit, so I didn't count it, even though most of the materials we used were high school level and up. Had we spent the whole year on it (meaning more work done) or if we had done all the labs & activities, I would have counted it.

In 6th, she did Earth & Space Science. We used a high school level text, additional reading, writing assignments for each of the 4 main topics covered, a project for each main topic (like designing a lunar colony for 100 people, for 1 year), and various additional resources (dvds, internet research, software, etc.). That seems to be enough work to count as a high school course.

So, as long as she is using high school (or college) level materials & doing a heavy work load, I count it as high school. I require her to have a B or higher as a final grade for any high school level course, or I don't count it.

The only subject that I don't count both level & work load is Math. Algebra 1 & up is high school level, so she's gets credit for each levle she completes.

Busygoddess
07-23-2011, 05:09 PM
Thanks for the advice/info. It will definitely help with this process.

Staysee34
07-26-2011, 10:11 AM
Mommykicksbutt... this is awesome. Even though my children are too young to be overly concerned with high school or college, I am required to complete a portfolio at the end of the year. Your method combined with Farrars method should come in very handy. Thanks!

gidamom
07-30-2011, 11:23 PM
Staysee..where did Farrar post her method for portfolios?? I need to keep one as well and am unsure how to

Pefa
07-31-2011, 10:27 AM
I scan stuff into my computer and label it by date and subject. Makes it easier for me than trying to keep track of paper.