Sunday, March 02, 2014

Guest Post: Allison Haley LearningKeepers.com



 Today's guest blog post is by Allison Haley.  Allison and her sister-in-law have created a portfolio system called Learning Keepers. It is a way to organize all of your portfolio information.  Read on to find out more. 

Why Portfolios Always Troubled Me
First, we had some great times and I wanted to enjoy looking back at those with my kids. Secondly, after years of homeschooling multiple kids, I practically needed a storage unit. It was always a struggle to compile the necessary papers for my year end review.  Now, my assessor simply logs in and does my review online. Finally, and most importantly, it pained me about what it really communicated about education. When a learning activity is done, you never look back. There was no connecting what we are currently learning with what we have done previously. Why work hard on beautiful projects and writing when they get the same treatment as clothes you outgrew five years ago? My heart knew it was not communicating the value that I really felt their education deserved. 

How I Document
I live in Ohio, so fortunately portfolios are one of the three options we have to document progress for our children. Even if it weren't, I would do exactly what I do today. To document our learning, I use LearningKeeper.com's ePortfolio platform. Frankly, I believe in portfolios and the power they have for the homeschooling family so much so that I partnered with my family to build an electronic portfolio system. It was professionally built here in the United States for homeschoolers just like my family. My portfolio is the hub around which my entire homeschool functions.
LearningKeeper was built with the busy mom in mind. It is mobile friendly and will work on your computer or mobile device. You can set up your whole family in three to five minutes. LearningKeeper lets you add information for one or more students at a time. 
http://www.learningkeeper.com/

What I Document
Each of my kids are different and my portfolio gives me the freedom and flexibility to show his or her individual progress as the story of his life unfolds. Since I can upload photos, videos, audio files, URLs, and anything else you can think of, I document things like:
  • Music Education and Plays
  • Sports Activities
  • Oral retellings and Authentic Assessment
  • Field Trips and Family Vacations
  • Service Opportunities
  • Hands On, Active Learning
  • Projects and Self Directed Learning
  • Science Experiments in Action
  • Role Playing and History Brought to Life
I use the reading log to track what my kids read for school and pleasure along with any projects related to each book. The Learning Log lets me journal quick notes about what we've done in certain subjects and with the ability to create my own subjects, I can custom fit it for what each part of my family is studying. Tracking grades is easy since the Grade Book lets me link each grade to the actual item the child has completed. While tracking attendance isn't required in Ohio, I do use it to keep track of when we've done school and when we've taken vacation days from regular work (although we all know the learning never stops!). 

Where I Document
When you really believe education goes beyond what is learned at a desk, it is clear to see why LearningKeeper is loved by so many families. I have the freedom to scan in papers or take photos of them with my mobile device. I can directly upload them to my child's portfolio. I love being able to document the learning when and where it happens. Where ever learning goes, so does my portfolio because I can add notes or files where ever life takes us!
Homeschool is about people; we’re real people too. 
Please e-mail us at smiles@learningkeeper.com or call us at 740-314-0032 to learn more about this new and exciting way to portfolio!
Alison Haley

Allison is a homeschool mom of four.  She has an MS in Education with a  specialization in Math and Reading.  The opinions shared are entirely her own.





 

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