Tag Archive | Ohio written narratives

The Value of Portfolio Reviews

imagesRarely did I finish a school year when I thought I had done enough. There always seemed to be one area of math we could have studied more completely or a slew of experiments we didn’t quite get around to doing. I think each one of us feels the weightiness of responsibility of being the one who is providing the education our children are receiving.

I believe this is where having a portfolio review (written narrative) is so encouraging. Preparing work samples for an assessor to review causes you to review the year and see what you have accomplished. It provides perspective as you see what has been accomplished. You see the progress that has been made and can celebrate your child’s (and your) successes.

Here are just a few of the many benefits of having a portfolio review done for your student(s).

  • Children who are just beginning to read or need extra time to read. The test is timed and students need to read quickly in order to finish on time.
  • Your curriculum does not coincide with the what is being tested. You have the choice to determine what curriculum is taught and it may not be the same as what the students have been taught that year. For instance, you have decided to do ancient history while students at that particular grade are learning American history. There may be questions on the test that your child could not answer because they have not studied that.
  • If your child has test anxiety a portfolio review is a terrific option. No testing is given while doing a portfolio review.
  • A test is just a snapshot of a week in a child’s life. The test does not always give a true representation of your student’s ability. your son or daughter may not have slept well, could be distracted, or has not taken formal tests before. each of these factors and many more can determine the outcome of a test.
  • You would like guidance for the upcoming school year. Do you need someone who has taught students and has experience give you some ideas and suggestions for instructing your child? Do you have concerns about a certain subject area? That is where a licensed teacher doing a portfolio for your pupil can help.

Have a great week and if you are interested in having me do a portfolio review for your family, please contact me. I will be happy to serve you.


Portfolio Review Time!


You are almost finished with school! Yippee! Now what do you need to do to continue homeschooling next year? Here in Ohio you will need to have your child’s academic progress assessed. This can be done through a portfolio review (also known as a written narrative) or taking a standardized test. Since I have a portfolio review business, I am going to concentrate on this.

There are many advantages to portfolio reviews. I have listed what I think are the most common reasons.

  • If you have a child who is not yet reading or fluency and speed are being developed, a portfolio review is an excellent option to testing.
  • Perhaps you have a “Wiggly One” who has not been used to sitting for a long period of time, written narratives are perfect for them!
  • Many homeschool curricula doesn’t follow the typical public school academic courses and of study or Common Core so what your child has studied will not be tested that particular year.
  • The time is much shorter than testing. 30 minutes is all the time we need, while testing takes between 3-9 hours, depending upon the test.
  • You can use this form of assessment throughout all of your scholar’s academic career (senior high too).
  • It is affordable. My fees are $40.00 for each student. I will give you the state required form needed to continue homeschooling and I also send you an electronic feedback form that is for your own personal reference.
  • It is perfect for students who have special needs. I have tutored ASD students and I have also had several families come for reviews.
  • If you are an unschooler or don’t use textbooks, portfolio reviews (written narratives) allow you to showcase your academic year.
  • I only need to see and evaluate work samples, not your student, so there is no stress to your child being interviewed or quizzed.
  • I successfully homeschooled and graduated my own children. 🙂

If you are new to the portfolio review process and would like detailed information concerning this option please read the post, Understanding Portfolio Reviews under my Portfolio Review Tab that I believe will be especially helpful.

Please email me at schoolmarmohio@me.com to set up an appointment if you live in the Cincinnati area. I have some evening appointments if day appointments are not possible. I have a NEW Option for anyone who can’t come to my house or meet me at a nearby coffee shop because of distance or an extenuating circumstance. I am offering Skype appointments. If you are interested in this option please let me know when you email me.

I look forward to meeting with you,

~ Lisa

10 Portfolio Organization Ideas

images-1As you begin to collect work samples of your students work the question that may come to mind is, How should I best display the amazing work that my student has completed this year?” It really is a matter of personal choice, but I am listing some organizational ideas to help you.

  • Bring workboooks of the school year that has been completed. This is the most common form of displaying a student’s work if you are using traditional textbooks.
  • Binders are a great way to show looseleaf papers and other work that is not from a workbook. Tabs are helpful to use as headings for individual subjects if you combine them in a notebook. You could have one large binder for all work or several smaller binders for individual subjects.
  • Accordion pleated folders are helpful since you can place wok samples in each of the slots and label each separate subject. For example: Math, Reading, Handwriting, Social Studies, Health, etc.
  • A large box such as one that holds reams of paper works well if you have binders to bring or large items you’d like to show me. (artwork, models, etc.) I am only suggesting, and this is by no means a requirement! 🙂
  • Pictures on your phone are an easy and portable way to show activities and projects if you don’t want to bring them and run the risk of something happening. You may have had your student do a class that was on the computer and have no way of printing off the answers. You can take a picture of the screen with the scores for the year if you like.
  •  Voice recordings on your phone are helpful if you would like to ask questions about progress or want to show progress that is being made in reading.
  • Scrapbooks/yearbooks are a wonderful keepsake and a snapshot of things you have done over the year. They serve a dual role because they help me as an assessor to see what kind of activities you have done, but they are yours to show for years to come.
  • Descriptions of co-op classes your student was a part of help document classes that you did not teach at home. If a syllabus is available for a class you can include that too.
  • Program guides from ballets, music performances, or certificates of completion for a gym class or a babysitting course, etc. help to document what your student has done.
  • Badges from scout programs such as American Heritage Girls or Trail Life are great for showing topics of study that are more difficult to document such as fire safety or first aid.

I realize this is only scratching the surface on how you can organize your student’s portfolio, but I hope this gives you some ideas. As you can see from what I have listed above, there are a variety of ways to document and display work. Use whatever means works best for you and feel free to come up with other ideas.