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Examples of Portfolio Summaries, Transcripts, and Logs
On this page I've collected assorted examples of various documents (summaries/transcripts/logs) that Pennsylvania home educators have included in their portfolios. Writing a summary or transcript is not required by law, and some homeschooling families do not need or use them. The law does require a "log ... of reading materials". Some families find that a summary is a convenient way to show that they've covered the required subjects without having to include a ton of portfolio fodder. In addition, especially for older kids, summaries/transcripts can come in handy when applying to summer programs, colleges, etc.
You might like to browse these to get an idea of how to write your own log/summary/transcript, or just to get an idea of what a home educated student's life can look like.
I hope this gives you some ideas and encouragement. I wanted to include lots of different examples; keep in mind that your child's summary will reflect their own interests/activities/abilities - you will have a different mix of things than anyone else. Do NOT get caught up in comparing what your child is doing to what other kids are doing. OK?
In each of these summaries, names, places, etc. have been changed/edited somewhat for privacy concerns, and the format has sometimes been altered to make it fit on fewer pages. You do NOT have permission to copy these, distribute them, or post them elsewhere, but you can certainly use them for inspiration if you are writing your own. You may also link to this page from your own web site.
I suggest that you read the law for yourself, so that you understand what is and what is not required, and so that you can decide how to meet the requirements without compromising the way you homeschool.
If you have a summary you'd be willing to share, please contact me. I will be happy to edit it to remove names and places to protect your privacy.
Homeschoolers have a lot of choices available. Please take the information you find useful from these pages and ignore the rest.
Many people, including me, will give opinions on the PA homeschooling law. I believe that everyone should read the law for themselves, read a few opinions about it, and decide for themselves what approach makes sense for their family.
I might be wrong! I am not a lawyer! Your circumstances may be different! This page, and others on this site, are not intended as legal advice. School districts vary considerably in their interpretation of the home education law. Please double-check legal information with appropriate sources. In particular, the PA Dept. of Ed. may be helpful.
This web page by Pauline Harding for Art Nurk.
~ B's Kindergarten log - A log of reading materials, by title. (Kindergarten children are usually not of reporting age, but I thought this was interesting to list regardless.) (At the Home's Cool blog.)
~ H's summary - 1st grade - This summary was submited along with a log (an Excel spreadsheet listing the hundreds of library books checked out that year), and samples of work. Mom writes "I did include work samples, an attendance calendar, snippets from the law and test scores (though we weren't in a testing year) with the summary. This was all only to the evaluator, though, who had never done an evaluation before (and I explained that the test scores were not something that was required). I am fortunate enough to live in a district that only wants the evaluator's letter, though, so that's all they saw--the portfolio was not turned in to the district."
~ T's unschooling 3rd grade summary/log - A great example of a relaxed/unschooling approach. Mom writes "I've always used a subject summary to put our activities into "school jargon". I don't turn in a separate list of reading materials, just what is listed in the summary. I don't turn in an attendance record. My evaluator's letter attests to the number of days and required progress. So that, the summaries and a few samples are what the school district receives (plus WRAT test scores on the required years). I've never had any complaints."
~ K's 3rd grade summary/log - A very positive, enthusiastic narrative from an eclectic/unschooling family. Sets a great tone for viewing the rest of the portfolio.
~ Alice's summary/log - 3rd grade - This summary includes both the log of reading materials and a summary of work in the required subjects. It was submitted with an attendance calendar, test scores, and samples of work.
~ S.'s summary/log - elementary - This summary includes both the log of reading materials and a summary of work in the required subjects. It was submitted with a cover letter (like this or this) , a summary of the law, an attendance calendar, test scores, and samples of work. Only copies were submitted. Mom writes "I wanted to create a "disposable portfolio", so I didn't want to use a binder but I didn't have a stapler, so, with what I had at hand, I chose a Japanese method of binding. The pages were bound by sewing with heavy thread through five holes made with a needle along the edge of each page." (See here for Japanese stab binding instructions, and here for some great examples. You could also use an inexpensive binder or folder, staples, binding clips, brads, or a GBC comb binder.)
~ I's 4th grade unschooling log/summary - A log of books, games, sports, classes, field trips, etc. for a 4th grade unschooler. A statement of attendance and samples of work were also included in the portfolio.
~ A's 4th grade log - A log of reading materials, by title. Submitted with A's 4th grade summary. At the Home's Cool blog. Mom reports "I [start] a wordpad document each year, and as we read a book, I open up the document, add the title, and save. At the end, I have it ready to print out. I do also tend to provide a log of "classes" and "field trips" that we participate in to round things out. Sometimes I include a short list of some educational websites we use."
~ J's 6th grade textbook-based summary - This student's program of study used textbooks for the major subjects, and a homeschool enrichment program for the arts.
~ A's 6th grade unschooling summary, and A's 7th grade unschooling summary - These were each submitted with a separate resource list including books, periodicals, videos, and software, which served as the log, as well as samples of work.
~ C's 7th grade summary - This student took classes in most of his major subjects at a local co-op. The summary is brief but effective. A log of reading materials, an attendance calendar, and samples of work were also included in the portfolio.
~ B's unschooling log/summary - secondary - A log of books, classes, field trips, community activities, etc. for an unschooled young teen. A statement of attendance and samples of work were also included in the portfolio.
~ L's 11th grade summary (includes high school credit hours) - This was submitted with a separate book list (the log). The student's work is arranged into "courses", each of which is awarded credit hours. This approach can be used when applying to college.
~ Geography Class summary (text only) - This is an example of a summary of the activities of a group of homeschooled kids who studied geography together. This kind of group page is handy - a copy can be made for each kid to slip into their portfolio. The actual page included graphics and looked quite fun!
~ Phys Ed and Safety summaries - Several examples of these from one family, showing how they can be adapted for different children and/or different years.