My first homeschool review was scheduled in early January. For those of you who don’t know the homeschooling rules in Maryland, we have the choice of either being “reviewed” by someone from the county we reside in or we can join a homeschooling “umbrella group” where the group reviews the instruction of your children(there are various methods for this). Essentially it is like choosing public school over private school; you have more freedom in how you choose to school your children with the second option, but you pay for it and you need to research your umbrella group well to make sure they will be supportive of your methods.
I chose to complete my review through the county I am living in now. I believed I could demonstrate my methods were providing instruction as required by the state of Maryland, without compromising my own homeschooling goals.
The state requires parents to demonstrate instruction in English/Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, Health Education, Physical Education, Fine Arts (Art, Music) and Other (Technology, World Language). Parents can show the instruction through:
- text(s) or equivalent
- reading materials/list
- writing samples
- creative materials
- field trips
I chose to create a document for each girl where I could enter in our activities to show our reviewer what we had done. Below you can see Ari’s and Abby’s charts.
I made a list of all of our field trips, the dates and which child participated.
I had pictures of many of our activities, assignments and field trips so I organized these into subject areas and also into Unit studies, as Ari has been completing most of her work through various units.
A lot of Abby’s Language Arts work was done in a spiral 11×14 sketchbook, so I brought that along.
Finally, I had a 3-ring notebook for each girl. Abby’s was divided into subjects and assignments; she has a tab for math, letter practice, number practice, assessments and awards and one for writings and stories. Ari’s notebook is divided into math and then a tab for each unit.
All of this preparation not only made the review easy and a positive experience, but it really helped me to reflect on what we had done so far this year. I am happy with what we have accomplished and the learning and growth I have seen in both girls. We were given a paper that showed we had “Clear Evidence of instruction throughout” our portfolio and we will return again at the end of the year.