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Organizing Your Homeschool

Essential Elements of a Homeschool Portfolio

By | Organizing Your Homeschool | No Comments

Surely you can last a few years without putting your student’s work together. When we first start homeschooling, we either keep everything or keep nothing at all. What exactly do you need to document what your children have done all year? If you don’t know where to start, these essential elements of a homeschool portfolio can provide you with a basis of what each student needs.

For all the new homeschoolers out there, you may have heard the words “homeschool portfolio” thrown around here and there. Just the idea of it may seem intimidating.

What exactly is a homeschool portfolio? What should be included in a homeschool portfolio? How do I organize my homeschool portfolio? You are not alone if you have had these questions.

What is a homeschool portfolio?

In homeschooling, a homeschool portfolio provides a means for families to document their children’s progress in their educational journey.

Some states have specific requirements for what they require homeschoolers to document to prove are actually homeschooling. For some states, a portfolio and yearly evaluation are required to stay eligible for an education program at your home. Families are required to be evaluated by an objective third party educational professional is required.

Whether your state requires a portfolio or nothing at all, it is good to note that most colleges require homeschoolers to submit a homeschool portfolio.

Keeping yearly portfolios make it easier to write transcripts when your child is ready to graduate.

How do I organize my homeschool portfolio?

There are a few ways you can organize your homeschool portfolio. Some portfolio styles homeschooling families use are:

  • 3 ring binders
  • Accordion folders
  • File folders
  • Scanned documents on your computer or saved to a cloud drive

What should be included in a homeschool portfolio?

Here are some essential elements of a homeschool portfolio:

  • Lesson Plans
  • A log of educational activities
  • Reading Log
  • Samplings of student’s work (written work, Bible scriptures memorized, tests and scores for each subject, photos of experiments, etc.)
  • Grades
  • Artwork/art projects
  • Extracurricular activities (document sports, music, weaving, etc.)
  • Community service hours
  • Term attendance records

Using Homeschool Planet makes homeschool record keeping extremely simple. The number one essential element of a homeschool portfolio is explicitly laid out for you in Homeschool Planet’s homeschool planner online. Homeschool Planet Lesson Plans can be customized to your schedule.

Homeschool Planet features fit perfectly for the essential elements of your homeschool portfolios.

You don’t have to stress about capturing your student essential elements for a portfolio when they are all embedded within an online planner.

Here are some features in Homeschool Planet that will make homeschool record keeping super easy:

  • customizable grading categories
  • customizable Report Cards and Transcripts
  • reports to help you manage grades, attendance, activities
  • professionally designed lesson plans
  • automatic attendance records

Is there anything else you would put in a homeschool portfolio? What else would you consider an essential element of a homeschool portfolio? Leave some tips in the comments section for our Homeschool Planet community.

Check out Homeschool Planet for yourself with a 30-day FREE trial. No credit card information is necessary to give it a try!

At last — an easy, flexible, full-featured online planner that doesn’t require hours to learn. Just launch, click on the calendar, and start adding classes, assignments, and appointments!

With Homeschool Planet lesson plans, homeschooling has never been easier!

Easy Homeschool Portfolios with Homeschool Planet

By | Homeschool Planet Features, Organizing Your Homeschool | No Comments

I am so grateful we still have the right to homeschool in every state in America (and in other countries like Canada and Australia).  Although we can freely homeschool, there are some parameters we need to adhere to that vary from state to state or country to country for that matter. No matter what state or country in which you live, an amazing tool to capture your child’s education is a homeschool portfolio. You can easily create an all-encompassing homeschool portfolio for each of your children with Homeschool Planet’s digital homeschool planner online.

If you are in the U.S., each state has developed its own legal structure for home education. One state’s homeschooling requirements and laws may look completely different from another. It would be beneficial for you to take a glance over at the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) website for insight and laws for each state. Some states don’t even have reporting requirements which is amazing! Yet it leaves you with a decision of whether to keep a homeschool portfolio or not.

If you ask most veteran homeschoolers, they would tell you that keeping stacks of documents and physical files containing your child’s work over the years is just not efficient. It is, however, wise to keep a digital homeschool portfolio of your child’s work in the event you ever need proof of progress — for whatever reason. Even some youth sports teams require a record of progress to be allowed to play or participate.

What do you do, as a homeschool family, if you have nothing to show in regards to your child’s academic progress? It isn’t hard to do, but Homeschool Planet makes it even easier. Whether your state has strict reporting laws or doesn’t have any at all, Homeschool Planet provides an easy portfolio with everything you need in one place.

Let’s start with a few items that need to be included in most reportable homeschool portfolios:

• Transcripts of grades
• Photos and videos taken
• Reading Logs
• Field Trip Logs (and written documents of kids after field trip)
• Lesson Plans
• Attendance records
• Artwork
• Assignments
• Community Service hours
• Curriculum used
• Work samples

Having to keep a record of all this can be truly overwhelming. Yet, Homeschool Planet has a means to gather all this information, all in one place, all throughout the year. Homeschool Planet has the power of the computer with the convenience of paper. Homeschool Planet is intrinsically designed to make homeschool organization and accountability easy, mobile, and flexible for the whole family.

Homeschool Planet is a household organization and homeschool management tool that truly can fit any homeschool approach your family follows (i.e. Montessori, Charlotte Mason, strict curriculum based, etc.). Even if you take a more naturalistic or organic approach to homeschooling, keeping a homeschool portfolio through Homeschool Planet is a perfect way to log in all your children has learned to fulfill your state requirements no matter what your teaching style.

Homeschool Planet has the ability to produce all the following criteria easily for a portfolio to use either for your own use of record management or to satisfy any state requirement record.

Here are some Homeschool Planet features that can go into your homeschool portfolio or will help make your homeschool portfolio complete:

  • Printable daily or weekly assignment and activity checklist
  • Customizable, professional Report Cards and Transcripts to print or save to a PDF
    Note: Transcripts are fully customizable with spots for activities, honors, and standardized test scores. Enter previous information for a complete picture and choose the scales and weights for your GPA.
  • Printable completed or uncompleted assignment and activity lists
  • Printable professional reports of Class hours for both Core and non-Core subjects
  • Color and black & white economy printing
  • Extensive reports to help you manage grades, attendance, activities, and more
  • A filter system to create reports that include exactly what you need, and only what you need with Homeschool
  • Planet’s comprehensive and customizable reporting capabilities
  • Grade Reports (summary or detail)
  • Capability to compile all Class Notes
  • Tracking your books and resources
  • Track and report class hours (includes a convenient clock icon that lets you see exactly which items you are tracking)
  • Automatically computes percentages of grade entries
  • Group individual classes together for a single grade. For example group Spelling, Literature, and Grammar classes together for a single Language Arts grade.

If your state requires you to have a portfolio evaluation, Homeschool Planet takes the fear completely out of that process. You can print all the documents you need right out of Homeschool Planet, should you need hard copies for your evaluation. The print-outs all fit nicely into a 3-ring binder, file box, or accordion folder. You truly do not have to worry about putting together a portfolio last minute, since Homeschool Planet keeps all you need in one place for you. Even if you need a portfolio right where you are in the homeschool year, it is no problem to have one readily available right in Homeschool Planet with just a few clicks.

Some states give parents a form to fill out and submit. However, in many areas, portfolios are recommended and often even requested for college admission. Homeschool Planet’s online homeschool planner delivers all you need to easily make a homeschool portfolio for one or all of your children in no time at all.

 

Check out Homeschool Planet for yourself with a 30-day FREE trial. No credit card information is necessary to give it a try!

At last — an easy, flexible, full-featured online planner that doesn’t require hours to learn. Just launch, click on the calendar, and start adding classes, assignments, and appointments!

With Homeschool Planet lesson plans, homeschooling has never been easier!

Organizing Your Family Schedules all in One Place

By | Organizing Your Homeschool | No Comments

I think that moms should get a degree in juggling. We juggle home life, mom life, being a wife, and for some of us working from home; we should be considered part of a circus juggling act. Do you ever wonder how we manage to do it? Sometimes it’s just too much and we let a ball drop, or two. Keeping track of all your family members, especially as the kids get older, can seem like a winless battle. Wouldn’t it be nice to organize your family schedules all in one place?

As an adult, I have always been really organized. Order in my life brought me joy. Things were always so crazy around me that I liked to come home to peace and cleanliness—and enjoyed a neat desk. Once I finally was able to work from home and homeschool, things pretty much were flipped upside down. It was a shocker for me. Why weren’t things perfect like I imagined they would be?

I thought things would be amazing once I was able to stay home with my kids, but staying home opened up the door to more responsibility and more time to do more. It was tough. People came out of the woodworks asking if I could take them places or babysit their kids, we had doctor’s appointments, chores, grocery shopping, co-op, and I was torn in all different types of directions.

Keeping our family’s schedule straight can feel impossible at times, it seemed that way for me for a while. We, as busy families, could use a tool that has everything we need, when we need it and all in one place. I found one that works perfectly for my family and I know it can do the same for yours.

Homeschool Planet’s online planner can manage your home, school, and work schedules and—it’s also available 24/7/365. Once I discovered all I could do with Homeschool Planet to organize my day, weeks, month, and year, I was hooked.  I use a paper planner for meeting notes and to jot down ideas for my freelance business, but Homeschool Planet’s planner online is what I use to schedule my work appointments, deadlines, homeschool assignments, and everything else with my home.

You can access Homeschool Planet from any smart device, making it easily accessible and adjustable for busy days. At the beginning of the year you can schedule the whole framework for your next 365 days, then adjust it for your children’s classes, assignments, chores, field trips, sports practice, doctor appointments, and music classes all in ONE convenient location.

Although Homeschool Planet’s online planner can be accessed all online, each family member has a separate login where you choose what they can view and edit. We often use the Mobile Version on our phones to know our plans for the day and we can easily organize our day to ensure we accomplish everything.

After I have chosen my curriculum for the year and done research on what I want my kids to learn, I can easily create our school calendar year in only minutes.

Homeschool Planet’s Ultimate Calendaring System can hold your entire family’s activities while letting you view all your kid’s calendars simultaneously. You can also select to see only a couple schedules at a time or one student schedule at a time. The flexibility of Homeschool Planet’s calendaring system allows you to efficiently organize your students’ schedule, have an overview of what it looks like in the week (day or month as well)  in order to plan life accordingly.

I now know that if I try to keep on top of everyone’s schedule, I will fail at some point or I will stress myself out in the process. That is why I rely heavily on Homeschool Planet’s ability to communicate and share information between our family members. Each child can be sent assignment reminders by email or text to independently keep on track of their learning. You can even message your kids or husband reminders of chores or items they can pick up from the grocery store right from the Homeschool Planet’s platform.

Homeschool Planet changed our lives in such a functioning and productive way.

I thought I was going to lose it for a moment a few years back, but Homeschool Planet was able to keep my head above water and save me so much time to focus on work and homemaking.

I no longer have to follow up with my children on not doing their required assignments. They clearly know what is due and when it is due. Homeschool Planet helped my life get back into order and operating in an organized manner. I love that my Google Calendar syncs to my Homeschool Planet calendar since sometimes my appointments may coincide with co-op or my scheduled chore days. I can easily adjust and reschedule directly from the site.

Organizing my life on Homeschool Planet has been a game changer for my family in work, school, and home. I am able to see what our schedules look like as a whole, schedule in time for cleaning (for everyone), and get the flow of working at home and homeschooling in order once and for all. I am back in my happy place of some type of order in the home.

Life still isn’t perfect, in fact, it still can get slightly chaotic, but we have an organizing system that never lets us steer too far off the path. Organizing our whole family’s schedules all in one place has brought us closer together and more connected. Homeschool Planet’s organizational systems can help you do the same.

Check out Homeschool Planet for yourself with a 30-day FREE trial. No credit card information is necessary to give it a try!

At last — an easy, flexible, full-featured online planner that doesn’t require hours to learn. Just launch, click on the calendar, and start adding classes, assignments, and appointments!

With Homeschool Planet lesson plans, homeschooling has never been easier!

Why an Online Planner Can Be a Lifesaver

By | Organizing Your Homeschool | No Comments

Without an online planner to keep me organized, my life could quite possibly be in complete disarray. If you are like me, then keeping organized may be the only thing that is keeping your head above water. Finding an online planner that worked for my family wasn’t easy, but when I found one that actually worked it was truly a lifesaver.

Flying by the seat of your pants when trying to keep your home “together”, just doesn’t seem to work in the long haul.  Even the most organized person can easily fall into a hay ball of chaos throughout the month and wonder where time has gone.

I remember a time in life when my homeschool and home life was literally a blur. My memory of those days was like a cloud of chaos; like when cartoon characters get into a scuffle and all you can see are hands and feet popping out of a cloud of smoke. I know that seems like an exaggeration, but in the midst of my unorganized life, it truly felt like that.  I wonder how I was able to even function.

If this sounds familiar, then maybe this is the year you let an online planner be your lifesaver as well. Anytime is a good time to start using an online planner, but why not start today?! Once you get started you will wonder why you didn’t start a long time ago. When I learned all about Homeschool Planet’s multi-purpose online planner, and there was no turning back.

Check out these reasons why Homeschool Planet was a lifesaver for my family and why it will do the same for you.

  1. I am forgetful

It is easy to find yourself wrapped up in a super busy week, and let your to-do list pile up with not a thing to checked off.  My online planner helps me to remember what is due and when, what my deadlines are, and what I need to do next in my housework, work, and family. Reminders can be sent to each family member individually. My kids even send me reminders. “Mom, don’t forget about our movie date!” They keep me on my toes. Plans change and an online planner helps us roll with those changes seamlessly.

  1. I need flexibility

How many times have you been out and about running errands or at a doctor’s appointment, when you need to write something down, set-up a reminder, or even learn you have missed a deadline? An online planner follows us anywhere that has an internet connection to update and edit as many times as we’d like.

  1. I couldn’t do it all

I decided to start a work-at-home business. As if my life wasn’t complicated enough! My family needed an extra income and I knew I was able to help provide it. Yet, how would I homeschool, run my household, AND work from home? I was using the best homeschool planner online ever already with my kids. It kept them on schedule and sent them reminders on when their assignments were due. I soon found that I could organize my home schedule of appointments, set daily chore schedules, and all while using the online planner for work deadlines and tasks. This online planner literally kept me in line, when I needed it the most.

  1. Setting goals

I go through times when I just don’t believe in myself. I deter myself from moving to the next level in my business or I get discouraged when trying to homeschool my kids. I doubt I am good enough to handle it all, and on my own, I couldn’t handle it all. Yet, my online planner helps me to stay focused and reach my goals. I am able to take notes on spur of the moment ideas, make reminders to research how to grow my business, and when to make time for fun with my kids. I needed something to keep me on track and to motivate me not to give up. Homeschool Planet’s planner online helped me to send messages to my kids for encouragement and to tell them I love them a few extra times throughout the day.

  1. I needed ME time

I honestly was running on empty. Every day felt as if time was getting shorter and shorter. Until I was able to get my life in order, it seemed as though time was literally slipping away. Homeschool Planet’s planner online was able to keep me on target for daily routines, homeschool, and now my work. The last piece of the puzzle was making time for self-care. Moms tend to put themselves on the back burner. Yet, when mom is stressed, everything in the home is affected. Homeschool Planet’s customizable planner has allowed me to schedule in some much needed ME time and my family sees the difference it has mad. It is healthy to set time aside to take care of the earthly temple given to us.

Organization brings me joy. Even in a life full of trials and struggles, being able to have order in my home really helps me feel at ease. I am so grateful to have found an online organization tool to help keep my life together. I honestly don’t know how I could have made it without it.

Homeschool Planet was exactly what I needed to keep my head above water. Do you need a lifesaver in your home too? Homeschool Planet’s Lesson Market Place and homeschool planner online can help!

Check out Homeschool Planet for yourself with a 30-day FREE trial. No credit card information is necessary to give it a try!

At last — an easy, flexible, full-featured online planner that doesn’t require hours to learn. Just launch, click on the calendar, and start adding classes, assignments, and appointments!

With Homeschool Planet lesson plans, homeschooling has never been easier!

Start Fresh in 2019 by Getting Organized

By | Organizing Your Homeschool | No Comments

There is something hopeful about a New Year. It feels as though there is something ingrained in us to want to improve, want to do better, or want to try something new. No matter how the year turned out for us, we have hope that things will either excel from last year’s success or turnaround for the better from last year’s woes.

New Year’s make perfect times to recharge and give a little motivation for being more efficient in your home, work, and life. The key to making a fresh start in the New Year is to organize your surroundings for smooth sailing. There are three things a mom can do to organize and make a fresh new start. I am sure there are a billion other things to help you, but these have helped me first hand.

Prioritize (All else will stem from this)

It is certainly common to hear people say that we should put God first in all we do. However, what does that look like in our lives? Deuteronomy 6: 5 says we should love the Lord our God with all our heart. with all our soul and with all our might. He surely doesn’t command that we do that for any other thing in this whole world, including our kids and husband. It is hard for us to hear that sometimes when we put so much of who we are into our kids and spouse.

It is easy to get consumed with our children’s needs, with our husband’s attention, but nothing will work as it should without God being our #1 priority. The truth is, if we make reading His good Word and being in His presence through prayer and supplication, we will only then fully understand who He truly is. That includes Him being a God of order.

God was the perfect planner and commanded order! He, in 6 consecutive days, planned the whole of creation. He could have made it all exist, all at once but He didn’t. He even scheduled a specific time for rest. We can learn to be intentional in getting organized as the Lord has exemplified. Putting Him FIRST will really put the rest into perspective.

Self-care (Take care of you)

This admittedly was the hardest for me last year; if you have been accustomed to putting yourself on the backburner, then I know you can relate. I feel guilty to take care of me. Do you ever feel that way? My sister-in-law gave me a gift certificate to get a massage for my birthday one year (January). It expired on the 11th of August. Guess what day I scheduled my appointment? August 11th.  I felt guilty about making an appointment for a FREE massage! That is “momlife” sometimes.

There are some common “momlife” challenges that can really drain us physically and spiritually. Regardless of how draining these things can be, we can’t forget that fact that God’s Word tells us to deny ourselves (Luke 9:23). We memorize verses like this and Philippians 2:3-4 and inevitably want to put others before ourselves. I get it, trust me.

Sometimes when I feel drained; it feels as though there is a weight on my body and arms like an X-Ray vest. I can’t help but think that God would have us to find ways to replenish ourselves to keep going. To try and get this weight off of ourselves.

Being a mom is a selfless commission and we do it willingly.  We don’t get vacations, we don’t have lunch breaks, we don’t have sick days, or get off early. We must remember that Jesus clearly has told us to go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest a while (Mark 6:31). He understands us fully. At the time he said this, many people were coming and going. So much so, that Jesus and his apostles didn’t even have time to eat. Sound familiar?

Think about this for a moment. We encourage our kids to have healthy godly friendships, do we work on any friendships of our own? We make our kids go to bed at a decent hour (because it is healthy), but do we do the same for ourselves? We have bible study with our kids, read God’s Word and pray with them, but how much time do we spend one-on-one with the Creator—our comforter (Jehovah Nacham)?

What can you think of to do to take care of you this year and give yourself some rest?

Digitize your planner (Organize your homeschool, work, and life all in one place)

I am sure you have heard the saying ”If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail.” Planning is not sufficient within itself. We can plan all day long, then not follow through with what we have set out for ourselves to accomplish.

I don’t know about you but my mind is just not working like it used to. I recently started working online on top of homeschooling. I praise God that I was able to get one job after the other when I started, but somehow I thought I could keep it all together… in my brain. After a missed video conference, I knew I had to get organized somehow.

I needed something to use while I was working, but I didn’t want to use yet another platform to log into. If you are like me, you have zillions (OK, not zillions, but A LOT) of tabs open at once. We need to simplify, not add another one. I was already using Homeschool Planet and looked through its capabilities to find that I didn’t have to use it only for homeschool.

Homeschool Planet allows families to access every family member’s schedule. I have added my chore charts for the family to it as well. I know that I needed to look no further for something to organize my homeschool, life, and now work. I am completely satisfied with how Homeschool Planet keeps my life in order. It brings me joy to know that I have a computer-based system to plan and organize all my needs and in ONE place.

Homeschool Planet may be exactly what you need to make a fresh start this New Year, to organize, and to schedule in some time to take care of yourself.

Putting God first, spending time alone with Him, and efficiently planning my schedule helped me over the years to organize and make a fresh start every year. What will you do to start fresh this New Year?

Check out Homeschool Planet for yourself with a 30-day FREE trial. No credit card information is necessary to give it a try!

At last — an easy, flexible, full-featured online planner that doesn’t require hours to learn. Just launch, click on the calendar, and start adding classes, assignments, and appointments!

With Homeschool Planet lesson plans, homeschooling has never been easier!

How Planning Homeschool and Life in One Place Can Calm the Chaos

By | Organizing Your Homeschool | No Comments

There were times a couple of years’ back that I just wanted to cry—a lot. I don’t know if any of you out there have ever been there. I am not (nor was I ever) the run of the mill soccer game drop off, gooey cookie making, hot-yoga meditating mom. Most of the time, I was a mess. I still don’t usually get up and put my face on or sip a cup of tea, and read God’s Word before the children wake up. I am a shower, brush my teeth, make breakfast, clean while hearing the Bible on audio, work-at-home, and do it all over again the next day type of mom.

I felt as if someone could have (I am sure you have been there too) looked up the word chaotic in the dictionary and my photo would be there. Messy hair, different color socks, my son reading me his book out loud, my daughter playing her ukulele or complaining about her little brother, cooking breakfast while the teapot is steaming, and tripping over the books on the floor. My life =chaos.

When it came to homeschooling, I knew that I couldn’t handle one more thing. It is that one more thing that can tip us over. I remember one day not being able to find my keys. We had to go to our co-op, things just kept going wrong in that morning, and lo and behold– I couldn’t find my keys. I just sat down on the porch and cried. My kids just stared at me thinking, “What in the world is wrong with mom?”  I really hope no one else has had a “just plop on a chair and cry moment”. However, if you have, know you are not alone. I am with you.

Things get better, life gets better. These moments pass. Yet to prepare, you have to put steps into place. That is what I did. I couldn’t take having a life where that “one more thing” would put me over the edge.

When I was in the corporate world, I thrived on organization and order. I was known for my attention to detail and timeliness. Why couldn’t I seem to get it together at home? I knew that order and organization actually brought me joy. I came to realize that when I had my chaotic days like the one I mentioned above, I most likely can trace it back to not planning well, sleeping later than I should have, or skipping a routine here and there.

I needed order in my life, and in my homeschool life. I had to admit that not having structure was affecting my daily life and my homeschooling. My best friend mentioned that she had started using an online planner for her homeschool. I decided to check it out, but it actually blew me away when I realized that I could actually use it for…my life. Yes, I wanted to get my children on a regular schedule. I wanted a place to organize their lessons and remind them about assignments, but before that—mama needed some organization of her own. Organizing my life and homeschooling has completely calmed my chaos. I really work well, with life in order and in balance. The best part is, if something in life throws us off course, we know exactly what we need to make up or catch up on.

It is totally “OK” to get off course because Homeschool Planet can get us back on track.

You can read more here on how others were able to calm their chaos with Homeschool Planet. Above all else, it is important to understand that God also is order. He is a steady foundation when life throws us to and fro. The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust . . . —Psalm 18:2 We don’t have to accept chaos in our lives as normal.

We have the life of Christ as an example of obedience and self-sacrificial love as a guide. We truly can rest in Him. Yes, we have seasons when our lives seem out of control. Oh, how I wished instead on plopping to the floor and crying, I would have dropped to my knees in prayer. We can go off course, yet God meets us exactly where we are, messy hair or not.

If you know you need some order in your homeschool and life, know that there is a tool you can use to help keep things together… and there is a God out there that holds it all in the palm of His hand.

Check out Homeschool Planet to help you calm the chaos with a 30-day FREE trial. No credit card information is necessary to give it a try!

At last — an easy, flexible, full-featured online planner that doesn’t require hours to learn. Just launch, click on the calendar, and start adding classes, assignments, and appointments!

With Homeschool Planet lesson plans, homeschooling has never been easier!