Pauline Harding's Guide to Homeschooling

The Log Project:  PA Portfolio Descriptions by District

Pauline's Main Homeschooling Page

Pauline's Portfolios Page
(Includes lots of information about portfolios, including the law, suggestions for content, downloadable log & attendance forms, etc.)



PA Law on the Portfolio:

The portfolio shall consist of

a log,
made contemporaneously with the instruction,
which designates by title the reading materials used,

samples of any writings, worksheets, workbooks or creative materials used or developed by the student

and in grades three, five and eight results of nationally normed standardized achievement tests in reading/language arts and mathematics or the results of Statewide tests administered in these grade levels.

Read the rest of the law here.



Book Log vs. Daily Log

"a log,
made contemporaneously with the instruction,
which designates by title the reading materials used"

Some folks interpret the law to mean that they must keep a log of the reading materials they use, and that the log must be kept as they go throughout the year. This is commonly refered to as a "book log".
Usually, those who submit a book log also submit an attendance calendar.

Other folks interpret the law to mean that they must make a log entry for each day of instruction, and that the entry must list any reading materials used that day. This is commonly called a "daily log".



The PA DOE's Opinion on the Log:

Howard Richman, of PA Homeschoolers, said on his message board:

"According to an opinion issued on Sept. 28 by the Office of Chief Counsel at the PA Dept of Education:

“The log must identify specific dates of instruction and the materials used on each date, because a log by definition is a ‘day to day’ record, and is the only written documentation available to reviewers of the portfolio to confirm that a home education program has provided an appropriate number of instructional days or hours and that the student has made appropriate ‘educational progress’ in the program, as required by law.”

The Chief Counsel's name is Linda Barrett."

Note from Pauline: Most folks who use a "book log" interpretation also include attendance records to show that they have completed 180 days or 900/990 hours of instruction. In addition, they include samples of student work to show educational progress.


HSLDA's Opinion on the Log:

Dee Black, of HSLDA, said in an email to me dated 8/5/02:

"The statute says there must be "a log, made contemporaneously with the instruction, which designates by title the reading materials used...." We understand this to mean that the instructor must keep a record to indicate the title of the text book, etc. used each time instruction is given.  Otherwise, the log would not be being made contemporaneously. We do not think it is sufficient to just turn in a list of text books or other reading materials used throughout the year.  We believe the statute requires the parent to record what was used each day of instruction, i.e. contemporaneously.  To avoid this being so cumbersome, we suggest that parents make a list of these reading materials and number them.  For example, if Saxon Math is used for Algebra I, then this book could be numbered 1.  Then each time instruction is given from this book, the log entry would be "1."  There is no need to write the title of the book over and over in the log. 



Would You LIke To Contribute To This Page?

If you have turned in a portfolio that was accepted by your district (that is, they did not ask for additional information), please send a brief description of what you included. I am particularly interested in your log, attendance records, and number/type of samples of work.

I will also need the name of your district and the county.

 Please put "PORTFOLIO INFO" in the subject line of your email. Note that it may take me a while to add your info.

If your district asked you for more than you initially submitted, that information may also be useful to others. If you feel comfortable sharing your story, please give a complete description of what you originally included and what more the district wanted to see.

I will not use names on this site, nor will I keep track of who sent what. I will date each entry.

 



Homeschoolers have a lot of choices available to them. Please take the information you find useful from these pages and ignore the rest.

This page is not designed to be used as legal advice. Please double-check legal information with appropriate sources!



If you have any questions or concerns about this site, please contact me directly.

Pauline Harding, hardingpj@yahoo.com



This Web Page by Pauline Harding for Art Nurk, hardingpj@yahoo.com.
Contents may be copied if credit is given.

On this page I have collected descriptions of the portfolios submitted by homeschoolers to various school districts. I think it can be helpful for PA homeschoolers to see what others in their district have submitted.

Please keep in mind that different families have different children and different approaches to home schooling. What is a good approach for one family may not be a good fit for another.

Please note that district practices can vary from year to year, from grade to grade, from homeschooler to homeschooler. In addition, please note that there are several interpretations of the law regarding portfolios (see sidebar).

The information presented here was collected through an informal e-mail survey, and was not independently verified. It may be unwise to generalize based on the information presented here. If you choose to submit a fairly minimal portfolio, I strongly suggest that you keep back-up records, "just in case".

The statistics shown are as reported by the PDE.  “Inappropriate programs” is the number of home education programs deemed inappropriate by either the evaluator or the superintendent.  Statewide, in 2001-2002, there were 23,903 home educated students.  95 programs were deemed inappropriate by the evaluator, and 292 were deemed inappropriate by the superintendent.

To find your district, click on your county below.  This page is in its infancy, and currently has few entries. I will continue to build the page as I receive contributions. So far, most of the entries are in Delaware and Chester Counties, but I will be happy to add information for any of the 501 districts.

If you would like to contribute to this page, please click here for guidelines.

Chester County     Clarion County     Delaware County

Chester County

Coatesville

v      “I'm in the Coatesville School district.  I submitted a portfolio containing 6 samples (one math, one Latin, and four essays that cover various subjects) for my 12 year old.  My book log listed the textbooks we used that year (both completed and partial) with no dates.  My daughter logged her own free reading by date as she finished it.  We did not include a "daily log" nor did we include an attendance sheet of any kind. 
I sent a cover letter which explained:  Our homeschooling lifestyle ensures life and learning are inextricable and as such I state that we have completed more than the minimum 180 days of learning this year.  The paperwork was accepted.”     (added 9/03)

 

v      “We are in the Coatesville, Chester County District.  Our district requires that we submit a portfolio and log at years end, along with an evaluation.  After sweating this out my first year, I realized that they don't read the logs, and I would doubt they even look through much of the log/portfolio.  I can't say what they are looking for, maybe they just require us to do this so we don't allow ourselves to slack off!!
Anyway, I use my daily lesson plans as the log, counting those days on each page.  I also include a separate list of books we used for texts/class work, and a list of books my son read for enjoyment or supplements through the year.  I also have a list for field trips, and service type projects.
For the portfolio part, we include samples from the beginning/middle/end of the year.  I don't go too crazy over this, partly because we never remember to set aside the pages at the time, and I have to look back through all the work at years end and select.  Again, after I realized that they don't seem to look through all of this, I stopped stressing myself out over it.”     (added 9/03)

 

Downingtown

v      We are in the Downingtown school district, and they do not look at portfolios.  They accept the letter from the evaluator as evidence of compliance.  The woman in the office last year told me that they used to look at portfolios, but that they have so many homeschoolers they can't keep up with it, and so they don't at this point.
We still maintain the portfolio, both for evaluation purposes and for record keeping to aid in college applications (and to keep the general level of paper debris down).  Because it is for our own purposes, we keep a very complete portfolio, with lots of paperwork included. …So, although we maintain a very comprehensive portfolio, it doesn't actually go to the school district.     (added 9/03)

Phoenixville

v      I do not submit a 180-day log or daily log to the SD. I do provide a one-page calendar, with our school days numbered, to our evaluator only; her letter states that we are in compliance.
To the SD, I submit an undated monthly reading log, eval letters (and test results if needed) and samples.  This year I submitted a little less than one sample for each subject required by law.  For instance, I didn't submit a writing sample because the history was written.  Similarly, I only provided one sample for health and science.
My portfolio consisted of the family section, with info on some (not all) field trips or activities that we did and wanted to include.  Then each of my two students had a section.  My 1-inch binder had plenty of room left.
I know that Mr. ---- uses a checklist based upon the law to see if you've shown that you've studied the required subjects.  However, I think that he realizes that not every subject needs to be done every year (though some do) because he's never questioned us.  The SD has always "accepted" our portfolios without question. 
Mr. ---- gives families the option of coming in for the portfolio evaluation, but families are not pressured to participate.     (added 9/03)

 

West Chester

  • "West Chester Area School District, at least for the 2001-2002 school year, sent us a letter asking us not to hand in a portfolio - just the evaluation."     (added 8/02)
  • 193 total home ed students, 0 inappropriate programs (eval), 0 inappropriate programs (superintendent), 0 hearings held.  (2001-2002)
  • Curricular participation:  No
    Extracurricular participation:  Yes (2001-2002)

 

Delaware County

Chester Upland

  • "I only ever submit a portfolio, with a list of books my children have read in the front of the portfolio. I also include an attendance sheet. No one has ever questioned this, although my district does have a check sheet they use when you get there...it lists the "daily log", but they have never asked me for one. I never mention it to them. My evaluator never looks at a log, but DOES look for the attendance sheet and BOOK LIST. I am in the Chester Upland School district." 8/02
  • 55 total home ed students, 2 inappropriate programs (eval), 0 inappropriate programs (superintendent), 0 hearings held.  (2001-2002)
  • Curricular participation:  No
    Extracurricular participation:  Yes (2001-2002)

 

Chichester

  •  34 total home ed students, 0 inappropriate programs (eval), 0 inappropriate programs (superintendent), 0 hearings held.  (2001-2002)
  • Curricular participation:  Yes
    Extracurricular participation:  Yes (2001-2002)

 

Garnet Valley

  • Book Logs accepted (by conversation with GV residents - will get details later).  
  • 28 total home ed students, 0 inappropriate programs (eval), 0 inappropriate programs (superintendent), 0 hearings held.  (2001-2002)
  • Curricular participation:  No
    Extracurricular participation:  Yes (2001-2002)

 

Haverford Township

  • "I'm in Haverford Twp.  I've never turned in a log or portfolio or list of any kind.  My evaluator does see a reading list and list of any texts we've used, list of trips--but that's about all in the list/log department...All the district wants is the letter from the evaluator stating, simply, that she/he has reviewed the portfolio, lists, logs, whatever, has met w/ the child, and that adequate education is occurring.  That's all." 8/02
  • 87 total home ed students, 0 inappropriate programs (eval), 0 inappropriate programs (superintendent), 0 hearings held.  (2001-2002)
  • Curricular participation:  Yes
    Extracurricular participation:  Yes (2001-2002)

 

Interboro

  • 28 total home ed students, 0 inappropriate programs (eval), 0 inappropriate programs (superintendent), 0 hearings held.  (2001-2002)
  • Curricular participation:  Yes
    Extracurricular participation:  Yes (2001-2002)

 

Marple Newtown

  •  55 total home ed students, 0 inappropriate programs (eval), 0 inappropriate programs (superintendent), 0 hearings held.  (2001-2002)
  • Curricular participation:  Yes
    Extracurricular participation:  Yes (2001-2002)

 

Penn Delco

  • "For 2000-2001, I turned in a list of books used during the year (undated, I think), and a one-page calendar with 180 days checked off, along with samples and/or descriptions of work in each subject. It was a testing year, so I also included (good) test scores."
  • 42 total home ed students, 0 inappropriate programs (eval), 0 inappropriate programs (superintendent), 0 hearings held.  (2001-2002)
  • Curricular participation:  No
    Extracurricular participation:  No (2001-2002)

    (This is as reported to the PDE.  While there is no policy forbidding participation, there is no policy encouraging it either.)

 

Radnor Township

  •  17 total home ed students, 0 inappropriate programs (eval), 0 inappropriate programs (superintendent), 0 hearings held.  (2001-2002)
  • Curricular participation:  Yes
    Extracurricular participation:  Yes (2001-2002)

 

Ridley

  •  43 total home ed students, 1 inappropriate programs (eval), 3 inappropriate programs (superintendent), 0 hearings held.  (2001-2002)
  • Curricular participation:  Yes
    Extracurricular participation:  Yes (2001-2002)

 

Rose Tree Media

  • "…Rose-Tree Media accepted my "book logs". I provided three lists: books read to [student], books read by [student], and books used as "texts". I also provided just two photocopied weeks of my daily log noting on them that my complete daily log is available upon request. They did not question nor complain about anything." 8/02
  • 30 total home ed students, 0 inappropriate programs (eval), 0 inappropriate programs (superintendent), 0 hearings held.  (2001-2002)
  • Curricular participation:  Yes
    Extracurricular participation:  Yes (2001-2002)

 

Southeast Delco

  • "I have not turned in my log at Southeast Delco, but have included a note that it is available upon request. They have never requested it. I hand in no attendance record. I have my evaluator’s report, which lists the number or hours or days and also states that she saw my log. I do have reading lists included. Other than that it is just samples of their work." 8/02
  • 47 total home ed students, 0 inappropriate programs (eval), 0 inappropriate programs (superintendent), 0 hearings held.  (2001-2002)
  • Curricular participation:  No
    Extracurricular participation:  Yes (2001-2002)

 

Springfield

  • 24 total home ed students, 0 inappropriate programs (eval), 0 inappropriate programs (superintendent), 0 hearings held.  (2001-2002)
  • Curricular participation:  Yes
    Extracurricular participation:  Yes (2001-2002)

 

Upper Darby

  • "I kept a list of the books we used in each subject as we used them, but no dates attached, just a list like a catalog would use to describe briefly what the book was about. I put the printout at the beginning of that subject's section, and then pictures or other projects that went with that section. I did not keep a daily log of what books were used each day. I also printed a July to June calendar, and circled each day we did school in red, and added the days up. I received a letter stating that an appropriate education took place." 8/02
  • 87 total home ed students, 0 inappropriate programs (eval), 0 inappropriate programs (superintendent), 0 hearings held.  (2001-2002)
  • Curricular participation:  No
    Extracurricular participation:  Yes (2001-2002)

 

Wallingford-Swarthmore

  • 19 total home ed students, 0 inappropriate programs (eval), 0 inappropriate programs (superintendent), 0 hearings held.  (2001-2002)
  • Curricular participation:  Yes
    Extracurricular participation:  Yes (2001-2002)

 

William Penn

  • "A letter went out to homeschoolers in our district apprising them of the new policy - no portfolio review." 8/02
  • 91 total home ed students, 0 inappropriate programs (eval), 0 inappropriate programs (superintendent), 0 hearings held.  (2001-2002)
  • Curricular participation:  No
    Extracurricular participation:  Yes (2001-2002)

 

Clarion County

Red Bank Valley

  • This is what I turned in last year.  It was accepted by the super. 
    --Book log – List of books and things we used broken down into subjects.  Never listed a date anywhere.
    --Sheet of 180 – (here) – Checked off each day until we got to 180.
    --A very small folder with 5 samples in it.  2LA, 1 math, piece of music from piano lessons, copy of certificate from swimming class and a few brochures. 
    --I received a call that everything was just fine (sent copies so I didn’t have to go back and pick up anything) except that I needed to submit a copy of my high school diploma in order to keep homeschooling.  I sent a copy of the PDE letter with my following year’s affidavit and never heard from him again.”  (3/04)
  • 17 total home ed students, 0 inappropriate programs (eval), 0 inappropriate programs (superintendent), 0 hearings held.  (2001-2002)
  • Curricular participation:  No
    Extracurricular participation:  No (2001-2002)