Wednesday, February 28, 2007


Maritza was concerned because she had plenty of things to include in her
portfolio for all of the subects except science, history, and bible. First
of all, I wouldn't worry too much about documenting bible - as your
district won't give a hoot if you did it or not - and YOU will know in your
heart the benefits that your children have received (in their hearts)
without having to document and "prove" it in writing. For those of you
implementing the WTM notebooking approach - or for those required by law to
present a portfolio of work - here are a couple of ideas:

Have your children each write down the books they have read (for each
subject separately) - and if you want to impress the district rep.- have it
done neatly and in bibliographic format - in your own child's handwriting
or typing (if age and ability level permit). Have children write brief
summaries of selected books read - and illustrate with appropriate
drawings/paintings that apply to each book. For younger students - use
narration to incorporate their summaries - they can add the illustrations.

Include a list of vocabulary words from each topic (compiled by your
children). Many - if not MOST of the non-fiction books you read each day
include a glossary that would be VERY easy to draw these terms from - and
it would provide reinforcement for your children in each of the topics.

Remember - in a unit study - so much of the work overlaps, that it is
difficult to ''separate" it into subjects. If they require you to do this
- and you have an abundance of writing and language arts papers already
(which you probably will have) - you can place some of those into other
categories. For example, the assignment on writing about living in ancient
Rome normally falls under Language Arts - but it also fits PERFECTLY into
the history section - so include it there if you want to have more in the
history category. The key-wording writing assignment on smoking being
dangerous to the lungs can be placed just as easily in the science category
as it could in the language arts category. Start thinking about which
assignments can "cross-over" into another subject very naturally. Same
thing with the Joseph writing assignments - you could include them in the
bible section if you have plenty of language arts stuff already. When I
include an assignment, such as in the Middle Ages unit about researching
London Bridge, include a summary in the history category instead of in the
Study Skills/Language Arts category.

Include any maps, illustrations, charts, or graphs your children have drawn
to go along with each of the units.

Include timelines of each period - and if your child has done one on the
wall, have them make one that can be placed in a portfolio by creating one
of their own based on the ones we include in AWOA for each unit. Or -
include a photo of each appropriate section of your wall timeline for each
unit, and include photos of the kids making and adding to it.

Include summaries of each experiment, activity, or projects - preferably
done by the child.

Include any nature journaling done by your child in the science category -
if you are Charlotte Mason fans you should have some good stuff to include
here. If you aren't already doing this, you can apply it to each unit by
(for example - having your children draw examples of desert life/reptiles
for the Egypt Unit - or plants and flowers in their backyard or at the park
for the Middle Ages Unit - or different rock samples and types for the Rome
Unit - or ocean scenes and sea-life if you live by the coast - or if you
can get to an aquarium easily for the Explorers Unit.)

ALWAYS keep a camera handy! Keep a wonderful pictorial record of your
school days - working on assignments, projects, plays, and activities -
cooking together and the finished products - your family unit celebrations
- costumes created . . . all of this is GREAT stuff for including in a
portfolio. Think - "SCRAPBOOK" - and have your kids add summaries and
descriptions under each photo as a part of the documentation. Date all
photos and entries for further credibility. Make sure you get a photo
record of any field trips and include summaries of each by your kids. If
you take LOTS of photos - you can separate them into different subjects as
well. For example, the photos of the Passover celebration apply to history
and bible - so create a document for both subjects - using different
pictures for each as they apply best to each subject.

Include any notes or outlines your children have compiled from non-fiction
books read. Those of you doing keyword outlining on anything - include
them topically - not under language arts (for writing) exclusively.

Make use of any extra pages you have printed out from the internet on
related topics - I have seen literally hundreds of web sites shared among
this group - there has to be LOTS of good stuff you could add to your
portfolios - just make sure you have covered it with your kids and are not
just printing it out to "pad" your portfolio!

Can you include audio and video tapes in a portfolio? If so - have tapes
of children reciting memory work, performing plays, carrying out projects
and celebrations - cooking unit foods, etc.

Does the assessment take place in your home? If so, can you have your
children work together to make a favorite dish from a particular unit - or
have them re-create the platter of Egyptian fruits to serve? Would this be
considered "bribery" or could it not be considered a "simple offering"
presented with a servant's heart from some enthusiastic learners? Each of
you will have a different situation, but this might add a personal touch -
if it is allowed!

Lastly, if any of you want to include a scope and sequence of A World of
Adventure in your portfolio, there are three versions available to those of
you who have already paid for the book:

1.) The complete scope and sequence is over 30 pages long and includes a
DETAILED summary of each day of the year (with all spelling and vocabulary
words listed). It is in a daily format.
2.) The condensed scope and sequence is about half the size of the
complete version and is broken down by unit and then further by subject (a
PERFECT addition to your portfolio - by the way). It, too, includes
spelling and vocabulary words covered in each unit.
3.) The ultra condensed scope and sequence is a 2-page brief of the year.
It is broken down by subject and includes general skills and concepts
covered, but does not include individual vocabulary and spelling words.

(This third ultra-condensed version is available to anyone on this group,
regardless of whether you have paid for the book or not. It will give you
a good idea of what is covered in AWOA if you are still deciding if this is
the right curriculum for you.)
If you are interested in us e-mailing you one of these scope and sequence
documents, just (and he's gonna really love me for this) let John know and
he will take care of it for you.

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