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Old 04-02-2013, 02:07 PM   #11
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Re: Worried we aren't doing enough after having a new baby...

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I wouldn't keep a calendar for your portfolio. In MD we will have to keep a portfolio too and from what I have been told by other parents, they want examples of work, that show progress rather than we did this on this day and this on that day type stuff.

After our break at Christmas and then starting back, DS was taking forever to do stuff, but we just lengthened the time each day until we were back to where we were before break, and now he is doing even more work each day than he was before because he wants to do more. I just follow his lead on a lot of stuff, and on bad days I don't push it. It is much better, for us, if I go easy on his rough days and then when he has a good day do a bit more, than to push/fight him on the rough days and spend 3 times the amount of time because he is just NOT going to do it that day.

Is there any other homeschool families around you that you can get in touch with to see what their portfolio reviews are like?
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Old 04-02-2013, 02:08 PM   #12
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Re: Worried we aren't doing enough after having a new baby...

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Originally Posted by foggierbard9 View Post
I wouldn't keep a calendar for your portfolio. In MD we will have to keep a portfolio too and from what I have been told by other parents, they want examples of work, that show progress rather than we did this on this day and this on that day type stuff.

After our break at Christmas and then starting back, DS was taking forever to do stuff, but we just lengthened the time each day until we were back to where we were before break, and now he is doing even more work each day than he was before because he wants to do more. I just follow his lead on a lot of stuff, and on bad days I don't push it. It is much better, for us, if I go easy on his rough days and then when he has a good day do a bit more, than to push/fight him on the rough days and spend 3 times the amount of time because he is just NOT going to do it that day.

Is there any other homeschool families around you that you can get in touch with to see what their portfolio reviews are like?
Yes, we are part of a HSing group. We joined in February and I had my baby in March, so I've only met with them a couple of times. I am going to try to go to the park day this week and I will try to remember to ask about that.

I write on the calendar what we do each day and I also keep a binder of for each subject and in the binders I have the lessons all printed out and behind each lesson, I put the finished work for that lesson.

So, we have the calendar and the work for the entire year.

I did talk to a teacher who has done portfolio evaluations before, and she told me to keep VERY VERY VERY good records b/c she failed a number of kids for not being able to show that they had been consistently working all year long. Which is what made me try to be so detailed with our records/portfolio.
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Old 04-02-2013, 02:46 PM   #13
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Re: Worried we aren't doing enough after having a new baby...

Find out exactly what they require, the state, not what that teacher said she wanted. What state do you live in?
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Old 04-02-2013, 07:31 PM   #14
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Re: Worried we aren't doing enough after having a new baby...

Can you hire your own evaluator? In Iowa, we can choose to have a portfolio evaluated by a licensed teacher. The school will assign one but you also have the option of hiring your own, they simply have to have a license in the state. I'd also look deeper into the laws to see what's actually required, that teacher sounds like a nut.
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Old 04-03-2013, 08:11 AM   #15
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Re: Worried we aren't doing enough after having a new baby...

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Originally Posted by foggierbard9 View Post
Find out exactly what they require, the state, not what that teacher said she wanted. What state do you live in?
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Originally Posted by ~Laura~ View Post
Can you hire your own evaluator? In Iowa, we can choose to have a portfolio evaluated by a licensed teacher. The school will assign one but you also have the option of hiring your own, they simply have to have a license in the state. I'd also look deeper into the laws to see what's actually required, that teacher sounds like a nut.
I'm in FL.

Here is a blurb about the requirements:


Quote:
2. The parent must meet the following requirements:

c. Maintain a portfolio of records and materials consisting of a log of educational activities made contemporaneously with the instruction and designating by title any reading materials used and samples of any writings, worksheets, workbooks, or creative materials used or developed by the student. The portfolio must be preserved for two years and made available for inspection by the superintendent upon 15 days written notice, but the school district has no authority to enter the home. Nothing in this section shall require the superintendent to inspect the portfolio.

d. Comply with standardized tests requirements. Each year, the following requirements must be met:
1) take any nationally normed student achievement test administered by any certified teacher,
2) or the child must take a "state student assessment test used by the school district and administered by a certified teacher, at a location and under testing condition approved by the school district,"
3) or be evaluated by a Florida certified teacher,
4) or be evaluated by a licensed psychologist,
5) or be "evaluated by any other valid measurement tool as mutually agreed upon." The parent must file a copy of the evaluation with the local school superintendent annually. There is no specific statutory deadline. "The school superintendent shall review and accept the results of the annual evaluation…. If the pupil does not demonstrate educational progress at a level commensurate with his ability, the superintendent shall notify the parent in writing...." The parent shall have one year to provide "remedial instruction" to the pupil. At the end of the "one year probationary period" the student shall be reevaluated to determine if he has progressed "commensurate with his ability." (1002.41(2))
(bolding is mine, obviously)

So what I get from that is:

I need to keep a running record of what we are doing each day as we are doing it.

My student's portfolio needs to contain samples of work done.

The evaluation has to be completed annually (so for us, that would be in December, which is when we are planning to have our evaluation and start the following year's curriculum - it can be done before December but I would prefer not to do it that way)

When they do the evaluation, they are looking to see if the student is "progressing" according to their "ability" -- which essentially means "are they being challenged enough?"

I've already researched all of this, and I've been in touch with the homeschool contact lady at the Dept. of Education, who also explained all of this to me as well. I think I have a pretty clear grasp on the requirements.

The teacher I spoke to was a friend of mine who used to teach Public School, then transitioned to doing portfolio evals for HSing families for a while and now no longer does that either. It is certainly possible she was very strict with her expectations, but given the requirements above (which say that we need a running log of our activities) I am not sure.

I'll ask around the HSing families I know in the area to get more details, and ask about who they use for their evals and how their evals have been. But overall, I do understand the process, I think.

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Old 04-03-2013, 09:12 AM   #16
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Re: Worried we aren't doing enough after having a new baby...

Do you get to pick the person who does your evaluation?

I think there is a lot left open to interpretation with what is deemed "educational activities" and such. You can list household things as educational, helping with the baby, helping around the house, etc. I would not worry about the 2 week break though. You are schooling year round, so activities in June/July/August will more than make up for taking 2 weeks after the baby was born.
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Old 04-03-2013, 09:34 AM   #17
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Re: Worried we aren't doing enough after having a new baby...

Yes we get to pick the person.

I agree it is very open to interpretation. Which is why I think the suggestion to record time caring for the baby or helping with meals and such is a great idea!
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Old 04-03-2013, 09:43 AM   #18
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No worries!! Just relax and have fun. I was in almost the same exact situation last year. I have four kids ages 0,2,4,6 and homeschooled k/1st (a mix) last year for my oldest. Life became so hard at one point that I didn't homeschool for 8 whole weeks and felt so guilty about it. I decided to put her in a parttime school this year for first grade and she has been at the top of her class and even in 2 nd grade work this year! The teachers are amazed and I thought I was a failure last year!! So please, take it from me, no worries! Things we did were play tons of games! We played card games, dice games, went outside as much as possible. Grocery shopping was for skip counting. We'd chant 5-10-15-20 all the way to 100 up and down aisles, then by 2's, 10's, 100's. Then I'd explain 1000's. I'd get her a candy at the end sometimes if she did really well. I'd show her prices and sales at the store and discuss money. We could never sit and do workbooks so I did most everything orally and on the go!! I'd play kiddie cd's in the car and we'd memorize the songs. We went to the library and she picked any book she liked and we'd read them at bedtime. I found lots of educational movies there too about animals, farms, zoos, weather, construction vehicles, even Spanish. She watched them while I worked in the house. I did buy a little workbook from the dollar store about different things- one on clocks, money, calendar basics, seasons. Id do just one (same theme) all week- like a unit study. That method seemed to really help her learn it well. Like I said, I got maybe 3 hours a week in of seat work and workbooks and she was far ahead of her private school peers. I have to also thank God because I think he helped me. I prayed so much that year that my daughters education wouldn't suffer from all that was happening, so maybe God just blessed our efforts. We played with tangrams shapes, cuisinaire rods, geoboards, puzzles, paints, seemed like we were always just playing and having fun but it worked! Good luck and breathe easy. Kids learn better when they are happy and relaxed and interested. Look into learning computer games too like Jumpstart in case that clicks with him.
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Old 04-05-2013, 09:17 PM   #19
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Re: Worried we aren't doing enough after having a new baby...

For a 6 yr old, don't stress!
Write up baby care, instead of workbooks, watch some science documentaries, play some computer games or iPad apps, listen to audio books...all educational. Get creative in your write ups of what she's doing when not doing book work, I bet she's learning all the time. Building with Legos= spatial reasoning, puzzles ditto, dress up play= drama, audio stories= ELA.
Many homeschooling families, even in Fl, don't use any book work curriculum and still meet all the state requirements.
You might want to look for an unschooling friendly evaluator, who will be used to looking at outside the box learning activities.
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