Friday, May 19, 2017

Q & A on the Written Narrative/Portfolio Review.

A written narrative is an option for an assessment report.  You have a certified Ohio teacher review work samples of your student's work to determine if your child has made progress in accordance with his/her ability last year.  The assessor then signs a form verifying that your student has  made progress, and you send that form to your school's superintendent along with your intent to homeschool the coming  year.

I am a homeschool mom who is also a certified Ohio teacher.  I am able to review your child's work samples, send you some encouraging notes, and send you the forms you need to send to your school district with your intent to home educate.    I enjoy reviewing work samples and love getting a chance to see the many different ways people home educate their children.  The following are a few common questions I hear in regards to narratives.

What are your notes?  
I simply write some encouraging thoughts for you and your student about the main subjects.  You do not send these to your district.   My notes are optional, and  I will stop writing them after July 15, 2017 for this year.  I started this as a way to give feedback to families.  Some families love them, and some others are fine either way.  You will not hurt my feelings if you say no to the notes.  :-)  I go much faster without notes if you need a quicker turnaround.

What if my student  is not reading?
You may send me a list of books you have read aloud  to your student, maybe the progress they have made in a phonics program,  and/or how many sight words that they know now as compared to the beginning of the year. 

What if I do not have physical samples that are easy to send to you?
You are welcome to take a picture,send me a link to a YouTube video, or write up what your student learned in that area.  I have enjoyed power point presentations, pictures of field trips and community gardens, and wonderfully written explanations about unit studies and cooking projects.  If you have questions on how to communicate what your student accomplished, please contact me.

What are you looking for?
I am looking for progress. I like to see that your student is completing  more complex math problems than he/she did at the  beginning of the year, I look at handwriting and writing samples to observe growth, and learn a great deal about your student from looking at the books they are reading now as compared to the ones they read in beginning of the year. I look at how your student has changed.   I do not look to see if you completely finished your history text book, made at least one salt relief map of a continent, and/or  if your bookshelves are organized by the Dewey Decimal system.  I am looking  for progress in your student by viewing his/her work samples.    (But, if your bookshelves are organized that way I would love to see a picture and know how you did it. )

 Would you rather I send you my material by email or postal mail?

It makes absolutely no difference to me.  Really. ☺  Do whatever is easiest for your family.  I am happy to accommodate you either way. 

 What digital files can you read?

I am able to open PDF, Word, and JPEG files.  If you have a Macintosh computer your best bet is PDF.  I do have trouble when people send me zipped Mac files.  I also can NOT read Works files. 

How should I send digital files to you?

First, you should group them by subject.   I need all the math together, writing together, etc.  You can send them by email, you can upload them to Dropbox, you can share a Google file with me, and you can share with me on Google Plus privately (so only I can read it).  You can send me a disk/USB with your files on it as well.  There are many options.

How many samples do you need and what kind?  

I do not need hundreds or even 50.  Really.  I need samples from the beginning, middle and end of the year.  1-3 in each area is all I need.   Daily work samples are great.  If you have review pages or cumulative tests in math or other subject that is helpful.  Anything your child has written will work as a writing sample.  Sometimes unedited writing samples are more helpful than finished products.  But I do not need to see everything you did.  I only need a sampling. 

 Can you help me figure out how to home educate or fill out the Letter of Intent?

At this time I am not helping my families home educate or fill out Letters of Intent.  I only review portfolio assessments.  My blog is filled with helpful tips, and I have a post on filing out the Letter of Intent to Home Educate.

I want to support you on your  home education journey.  I greatly enjoy helping other homeschool families. Let me know if I can help you this year!  Click here for how to get started.

Becky Boerner
Mom to 7 home educated children,  M Ed. in Reading Education.

Another  post  I have written dealt with standardized testing vs. a written narrative.  You may enjoy reading  if you are still pondering on what you would like to do for this year.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Guest Post: 7 Ways to Raise Kids Who Love Books by Becky Wade

I was thrilled  when one of my favorite authors, Becky Wade, agreed to write a post for Ohio Homeschool.  I love her books and  just finished her newest book True to You  Today she is sharing how her mom influenced her love of reading in honor of Mother's Day.  Please give a warm welcome to Becky Wade.

 7 Ways to Raise Kids Who Love Books by Becky Wade


Abraham Lincoln once said, "All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother."  If you were fortunate enough to have been raised by a wonderful mother, as I was, then you know how true that statement is!  It would be impossible to define or explain all the ways that my own "angel mother" influenced me, so I've decided to pinpoint just one in this post.

            My mom instilled a love of reading in me. 

            As a girl, I was an avid reader.  Later, after I married, my deep enjoyment of reading led me to become an author.

            So how did my mom do it?  How did she raise all three of her daughters to love books?  Here's how:

            1.  Before I could read, she read aloud to me.  Daily, she took the time to read.  And not just board books or picture books.  She began reading chapter books to me when I was small.  Those detailed stories filled my fledgling imagination with adventure, times long past, love, danger, honor.  I determined at a very, very young age that books were the best form of entertainment.

            2.  Even after I could read, she continued to read to me at bedtime.  Reading was a treat, a reward, a quiet time just for the two of us. "I'm going to have to take away a chapter at bedtime," may have been a punishment in our house but, "Go read for 20 minutes!" never was.

            3.  She took me to the library.  At every other stop on our list of errands (the grocery store, the department store, the post office) she'd say no to the million things I asked for.  But at the library, her answer was always an unqualified, "Yes."  I'd leave with a stack of books and a big grin.

            4.  I had plenty of unscheduled, electronics-free time in my day.  Hours of it.  If I told mom I was bored, she'd supply a few ideas.  "You can make paper dolls."  "Go knock on Allison's door and ask if she's free to play."  "Read."  Then she'd go about her business and let me figure out my own solutions.  I read.  A lot.

            5. My travel accessory was a book.  Whenever we took a road trip or a plane trip, my book was my entertainment device.  After all, books are portable, inexpensive, difficult to break, and don't need to be charged. 

            6.  She shared her books with me.  Starting in my late middle school years, when my reading tastes caught up with my mom's, she began passing the books she'd finished to me.  To this day, we talk about books and authors!  When I visit her house, I take a few of her recommendations home with me.  And vise versa when she visits me.

            7.  She modeled reading for pleasure.  My mom has always read for her own enjoyment.  Stop by her house on any ordinary week night and you'll find my dad watching sports.  You'll find my mom sitting on the end of the sofa near the lamp, reading.  It's easy for us moms to let our busy schedules squeeze our hobbies out of our lives.  But my mom protected her reading time.  And her daughters are the better for it.

Did your mom instill a love of reading in you?  Happy Mother's Day, moms!

True to You
Thank you Becky Wade for stopping by!  Becky has  a contest for her new book.    You may enter here. 

 Becky’s a California native who attended Baylor University, met and married a Texan, and settled in Dallas.  She published historical romances for the general market before putting her career on hold for several years to care for her three children.  When God called her back to writing, Becky knew He meant for her to turn her attention to Christian fiction.  She loves writing funny, modern, and inspirational contemporary romance!  She’s the Carol Award, INSPY Award, and Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award winning author of My Stubborn Heart, the Porter Family series, and the Bradford Sisters Romance series. 

Connect with Becky through her web site and social media.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Narrative Assessments for Ohio Homeschoolers

For the 2016-2017 School year I will begin accepting portfolios, sending you the form you need for your district, and writing up encouraging notes from March 7, 2017- July 15, 2017.  After that I will gladly accept your portfolio and send you the form you need for your district.  Please know I accept portfolios year round and am happy to accept your portfolio at any time!  

I complete narrative assessments for Ohio homeschoolers.  The Assessments are portfolio reviews by myself, a certified teacher, that fulfill the Ohio Home Education requirement for 3301-34-04 Academic Assessment Report Option #2.  
If you would like to begin the process start by downloading the forms for the Freestyle Assessment for unschoolers, the Self Reflection Assessment for K-8th grade, or the Self Reflection Assessment for High School for those who follow a subject curriculum. You fill out the forms, prepare the documentation, and sign them. Please email me for an instruction sheet that tells you where to mail them and answers some other questions. If you have trouble with the downloads, please email and I will email them to you.  Below are links  in Google Documents.   I am happy to help you so please contact me with any questions.

Becky Boerner

Freestyle Assessment in Google Documents
Self Reflection for K-8 in Google Documents
Self Reflection for High School in Google Documents.

Once you get there you need to do the following. 
If you click on the arrow button on the left hand side of the page you can download the file.
If you click on the print button you can print it out.

PS: If you can not access these files, try the links above in the document.  If you still can not access the documents, please email me and I will send you the files.  I am happy to do that! 

I also accept PayPal, Check, or Money Orders (Contact me for more information.  Many families send me checks or money orders through the mail. )

My portfolio pricing for 2017  is (1 portfolio) $35; (2 portfolios) $65; (3 portfolios) $95;  (4 portfolios ) $120; (5 or more portfolios) $150

Click on the arrow for pricing for 2 or more reviews.


Portfolio Review

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Hello Stars by By Alena Pitts with Wynter Pitts

Lena Daniels never thought she’d get the chance star in a movie. Headstrong and determined, she has her life planned out to the minute. But when her best friends, Savannah and Emma, tell her about an audition, she knows there’s nothing else in the world she’d rather do. And now that she’s gotten her wish, Lena finds that being in the spotlight is harder than it sounds. She got everything she never wanted! Her face turns up everywhere she goes, and everything in her life is flipped upside down. Lena wonders if this is a dream come true or a horrible nightmare. Even a visit from her best friends during filming turns into a disaster

Hello Stars By Alena Pitts with Wynter Pitts is a great book for girls 8-12 years old.  When the main character Lena Daniels finds out she can audition to get into a movie and to meet her favorite singer, Mallory Winston, she jumps at the chance.  But, then she isn't sure if she is right for the part. 

After my eleven year old daughter read this book she excitedly told me there was another one in the series which she couldn't  wait to read!  ( it come out in September 2017)  She loved the black and white illustrations and the fun clothes the girls were wearing.   I liked that the girls were dressed modestly.  Hello Stars is written from Lena's perspective and it also includes sweet journal entries she addresses to God.  

The author, Alena Pitts, is a twelve year old girl.  It was wonderful for my daughter to have a positive role model her age.  Overall, I think this is a great book for tweens.  It is hard to find books that my daughter wants to read and I approve of.  This is one of those books.  I highly recommend it.

Here is a sweet video about the book.  


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Friday, April 28, 2017

The Joy of Journaling

Writing. . . it can be almost be a bad word among home educators.  It is easy to feel you are not doing enough, and it can be a struggle with our students.   I want to share about the benefits of your student keeping a journal.  It is an old idea that might be a great fit for your student. 

First, there are some universal truths about writing and writers. 

1.  Few people are born great writers.  Really.  Most writers work very hard to develop their craft over time.  It is a tedious process.  To do this. . .

2.  Writers must write.  You can not become a writer by thinking about writing, dreaming about writing, or even reading others writing.  Though any of those things may help, you must write to become a writer. 

3.  Many famous writers have kept a journal or diary.  For instance, Franz Kafka, C.S. Lewis, Ray Bradbury, Mark Twain, Virginia Wolf, George Lucas, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Isaac Newton, Anne Frank, Madeleine L'Engle. . . 

“You want to write, you need to keep an honest, unpublishable journal that nobody reads, nobody but you,” 

~Madeleine L'Engle

Having your student keep a journal is an excellent strategy to improve their writing.  A simple notebook or word processor is all you need to get started.  For most students I would simply set a timer for 15 minutes and tell them to write until it buzzed. 

Decide ahead of time whether this will be a journal that is only for the student, if it is one they plan to share with others, and if they want you to give feedback.  My daughter and I wrote back and forth in a journal to each other for many years.  My feedback kept her writing.  It also deepened our friendship

So whether you grab a loose-leaf notebook and fill it with paper, a composition book or a fancy journal, having your student keep a journal is a valuable way to encourage them to write.  

P.S.  Below I have included some fun ones I found on Amazon.  Just for fun.