When considering homeschooling many people overlook the middle school years. The contrast from elementary to middle school is much more subtle than the transition to high school. You don’t need to change your homeschooling methods for this stage (stick with what works!!!), but this is a great time to start transitioning to a more professional homeschool portfolio.
An elementary homeschool portfolio is created to achieve one goal: to show your child’s progression from ages 5-11. The middle school portfolio should absolutely show educational progression, but it should also showcase your child’s progression into adulthood. These years are critical in development, this is the stage in which your children are starting to form independent opinions and consider what they want to do with their lives. This is a stage of great exploration, and your child’s middle school homeschool portfolio should reflect that!
The first step is to offer your child new experiences. Career exploration, household management, job shadowing, volunteering, working, electives…all of these are great ways to introduce your child to the skills they’ll need as an adult.
What can I include in my middle schooler’s homeschool portfolio that will set it apart from their elementary portfolios?
My general suggestion is to create a portfolio just like you did for the elementary years, with relevant additions to showcase their new interests.
If your child volunteers include an hours log and copies of any letters of recognition received.
If your child has a job, even babysitting, ask their employer to write a letter of recommendation.
Children who take classes outside of homeschooling can add photographs from their events and classes.
Include photos from any middle school-specific events your child attends.
Highlight your child’s interests and career aspirations.
Perhaps consider adding a letter written by you to sum up your year and lay out goals for the next year. You can even take it one step further and ask your child to write a letter.
Highlight the things your child is doing that will eventually help them narrow down a career.
Creating a middle school portfolio should be fun! Get your child involved and leave plenty of time to do it before your annual evaluation.
Meg Grooms is a long-time homeschooling mother of 6 children, ranging in age from preschool to married with kids of their own. Always a vagabond at heart, Meg and her family have embraced a slow travel lifestyle and currently call Southern California home. Your guess is as good as hers as to where they’ll end up next.
Meg blogs about secular homeschooling and gameschooling at Homeschool Gameschool.