Tuesday, November 03, 2020

Work Samples for Your Student's Portfolio.

This is a great time of year to set aside your students' work samples.  I often get questions on how to organize student work samples.  Any work you do now pays great dividends later.  

The simplest thing to do is to either make a copy or put the original of a writing sample,  math sample, or other student work sample in a file folder and put it somewhere safe where you can find it later.  (I added the safe place as a reminder to myself. )  I would also grab a piece of paper to begin to write down books your student has read for a booklist.   You continue to do this a couple more times and your portfolio is ready to share with me in 2021. Many families mail the finished portfolio to me, they scan their documents to me, or they upload to the Ohio Homeschool online system.  

There is also the digital option.  You can take a picture of your student's work using your phone, or scan it with your computer scanner.  Make sure they are relatively high resolution so I can read them. Another key piece  is how you store the files.  You probably want to store them off your phone or computer.   A phone or computer crash would destroy all of your work samples.  You could upload to Google Drive, Google Photos; some type of cloud storage; iCloud; an external drive or thumb drive.  Later you can upload those files to my online portfolio system or email them to me.  

You can also put an app on your phone to scan items to PDF.  Here is an example for Android.  Here is another list that shares some Android apps.   Here are some tips from Apple support, and an app to scan.  

You also may want to take  pictures throughout the year of projects or field trips.  You can store those in some type of cloud storage as well.   The other option is to open up a separate Instagram account.  You can add your pictures all year.  You are able to keep the account private and just share with me if you would like.  Here is more information on setting up a second Instagram account just for your  student's portfolio.

Hopefully this is helpful to get you started.  If you have any other ideas please put them in the comments.  We are all in this together.  

Sunday, October 04, 2020

Repost. . Changing Questions. . .

I still remember when I decided to home educate.  It was a well thought through decision.  My husband and I talked about it extensively.  We extensively looked at  curriculum, we thoughtfully made sure our children had outside activities, and we made sure they had responsibilities at home.  We spent hours making things work.  But, the questions came.

Are you sure you can handle this?

I mean you were a teacher, but all the kids will be in different places?  

What about socialization?  Aren't you worried?

Don't you think your kids will hate it?  

What about high school?  How are you going to complete labs?  

They will never get into college or get a scholarship.  

So we answered these questions over and over again.

Are you sure you can handle this?  I am pretty sure.  I have been handling having  them since they arrived.  I think this is a great choice for them.  We have really thought through this.

I mean you were a teacher, but all the kids will be in different places?    Well, yes they will all be in different places.  Just like when I taught, and all the kids were in different places academically.  They will learn to be independent learners.  We feel like they will be OK. 

What about socialization?  Aren't you worried?  Yes, we are worried about socialization that is why we are home educating.  :-)  We believe that life is lived with people of all ages and that is why we are home educating to give our kids that opportunity.  We believe parents are great role models.

Don't you think your kids will hate it?  Right now they are pretty excited, and we will take it a year at a time.

What about high school?  How are you going to complete labs?    Well, we are going to take it a year at a time, but there are online classes, co-op classes, and distance courses.  About labs, well there are co-ops and online labs.  You can also buy lab materials for home use.  (you would be surprised what you can buy online)  We have dissected a cow's eyeball, a cow's heart, a pig, a frog, and we have our own microscope.  We have beakers, a fire blanket, and all sorts of chemistry items.  Our kids have completed most of their labs successfully in our kitchen.  We are good.

Well I guess. . it just sounds so risky. Plus you know. . . 

They will never get into college or get scholarships.    Well. . .that one I can finally answer. (Brag Alert)   Well our son got into University of Cincinnati, Ohio State, Duke, Vanderbilt, Georgia Tech,  and MIT with scholarships and aid.  Plus scholarships from the Elks, Coca-Cola, Samsung American Legion, P & G, National Merit, and other organizations.  He was also one of 116 a Presidential Scholars for the United States, one of 3 for Ohio.  I feel like he did alright.

So I thought the questions had pretty much stopped. But, then I talked to my neighbor.

 I saw my neighbor and we were talking about graduation I told him our son was going to MIT and we had  homeschooled him.    The only question I got was. . . Can I send my kid down to your house to homeschool with you?   

As we graduate our students from high school I feel like I have some different things to talk about on the blog.  Let me know if there is something you would like to hear about.  

Since then our oldest with Autism has a job and our 3rd oldest received a full honors scholarship to Cincinnati State and continues with great grades and is the top of her class.  So we are  still doing well.    

Friday, October 02, 2020

Narrative Assessments for Ohio Homeschoolers

This post is updated for the 2021-2022 School Year!  

Welcome! 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.

Please sign up for a day to have your portfolio to me for review   I will release dates for February 1- March 31 after January 10, 20222.  In the spring I will release dates for later in the year. Please check this link to see what is available. https://ohiohomeschoolassessments.as.me/  Please note I am only using a sign-up system this year, and you must sign up for a review. 

Please also note that there are more home educators this year, so please sign-up as soon as possible to guarantee a spot. You may get it to me earlier then your sign-up date.  I would recommend this  especially if mailing.  

Your next step is to  download the Freestyle for unschoolers, the Self Reflection for K-8th grade, OR the Self Reflection for High School for families who follow a subject curriculum. Anyone is welcome to use the Freestyle if it works better for their family.  I ask that you fill out the documents, prepare the documentation, and sign them.   Please send copies of work samples as I do not return work samples if sending by postal mail. Please email me for an instruction sheet ohiohomeschool@gmail.com that tells you where to mail your documents, tells how to send the documents electronically, and answers other questions. I also have online guides.  Please email me for more information. 

Please note the Freestyle and Self-Reflection  are a simply guides to help you through the process.  I developed them to help families create portfolios.  If you have a way you love to present a portfolio let's talk. 

 If you have trouble with the downloads, please email ohiohomeschool@gmail.com 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 in Google Documents
Self Reflection for K-8 in Google Documents
Self Reflection for High School in Google Documents.
After Clicking and getting 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.

If you can not access these files please email me and I will send you the files. I am happy to do that! 
I also have an online form.  Please write me for a link. 

The pricing for 2022 portfolios (1) $42, (2) $72, (3) $102, (4) $122, (5 or more) $150.

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

I am having trouble with my PayPal button at times.  If it does not work try this link to pay

Click on the down arrow for 2 or more

Saturday, July 04, 2020

Repost: You could have done more. . . .

As we reflect on the 2019-2020 school year and get ready for the 2020-2021 year, it is good to rejoice in what we have accomplished.  This is post from earlier this year, but I thought it might be nice to read again.  

If there is one thing I hear over and over again from families is "I really could have done more this year."  Sometimes they say this to me before they send in their portfolio, after I complement them on all they have accomplished, or just when they see me out at the Greenhills library.

I have started responding, "Well you know, you could have done less."  Usually that gets me a sort of head tilting confused look. I then say, "Really, you could have done less.  You could have read less books to your kids,  you could have completed fewer math pages, you could have participated in not as many field trips, or had fewer learning conversations."  I tell families, you did have a lot of great learning experiences with your students this year, and you worked hard.

I often joke that I have to have very high self-esteem to look at so many portfolios each year.  I am always fascinated at all families accomplish, and the progress their students make.  I see families who take amazing educational trips to places I have never heard of, utilize community resources in unique ways, read great literature, integrate learning into their lives in so many novel ways, find apps and web sites that are incredible, and find resources I had no idea existed.

What I have learned through the years is that everyone is good at something, but probably not good at everything. You are good at something with your students.  There is something that you can do that someone around you admires you for and wonders how you do it. Are there things you could improve on. . well of course. . we all could. We are all people on a homeschooling journey who are constantly trying to improve, and that is fabulous.  No one wants to be stagnant.  It is good to set realistic goals to improve your home education, but still rejoice in what you have accomplished.

I think it is important to remember what you are good at and what you bring to your homeschooling world.  Celebrate your student's accomplishments, celebrate your accomplishments and maybe even ask your students what you do well.  I am willing to bet their answers will surprise you.

And  please remember as doubt creeps in. . You truly could have done less.   So celebrate what you did do!

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Planning for Next Year. . Homeschool Planet

When two of my friends who quite honestly are vastly different told me that they used Homeschool Planet I thought that was interesting.  I should have stopped right at the moment and realized that this was something I needed to take notice of.  Instead, I foolishly delayed looking into it.

But luckily, I am no longer foolish.  This spring I took the plunge and did a free trial of Homschool Planet.   Within 3 days I purchased a year subscription which they added on to my 30 day trial.  It changed my life. Truly!

The Homeschool Planet is an online planning, calendar, and scheduler.  It is a way for you to post the lessons that your students need to complete AND more importantly at my house, know whether people have actually completed them!

I love this!  I pull up my view and say things like. . . Why is math not completed?  I am confused as to why you have not done that for two days?  Hmm, it looks like you will be doing math on Saturday.   I also say things like, WOW!  You completed all your work today. Look at how close we are to the end!  I am so proud of you!

The other part that has been powerful for my students is that it has the feature of moving all the assignments forward.  My students began to understand that not doing something adds it on to the end of the year.  It was a good visual reminder.

You can also add music practice, track grades, put your vacations in, send your students an email with their assignments, and much more.

So this would be a great time to try a free trial

Try the World’s Best Homeschool Planner for FREE!

Monday, May 18, 2020

Upcoming Give-Away for Newsletter Subscribers Only!


I would like to have a give-away in the next few weeks.  Hopefully an Amazon card or two.  But, I am mixing things up this time and will only provide the link to newsletter subscribers.  If you have not signed up for the Ohio Homeschool Assessment newsletter. . this is your moment!

I have included an embedded sign-up form below.  I only send out newsletters 3-4 times per year.  But, they are important as they tell you about the the January portfolio review give-away happening, , other give-aways, and other homeschool information.

So please sign up and look for a newsletter in the next two weeks. It could be your lucky day. 
Becky Boerner


* indicates required

Email Format

Saturday, May 09, 2020

Repost. . . . .Happy Mother's Day or How I became a Mother on Mother's Day.

This is a re-post from several years ago.  It is one of my favorite stories.   My oldest son has now turned 21 and lives on his own.    This mothers day I am missing my son Jonathan on earth.  But thankful he will always be my son, I will always be his mom, and I will see him again.     

On Mother's Day 1999 we arrived in Majuro, Republic of the Marshall Islands.  The Marshall Islands consists of 29 atolls and 5 isolated islands.  This was the view from my plane window of Majuro.
I wondered how the 747 jet I was on was going to land on this atoll.

  My husband and I had desired to be parents for a long time.  We arrived at our hotel and waited.  I went down to grab something to eat at the Mother's Day buffet.  A lovely woman pushed a flower wut on my head and said, "Happy Mother's Day." 
Wearing the wut a few moments before I became a mom.
We waited in our room for them to bring our son.   We were in the middle of a tropical paradise, but I could only think of holding our new son.
Amazing view from our hotel room.  Atolls have ocean on one side and a lagoon on the other.  You are looking at the lagoon and can see the other side of the island.  The water was amazing shades of blue.
Finally there was a knock on the door and their our guide and birthmom stood holding one of the most adorable little boys I had ever seen.  I  remember trying to act casual and calm.  We invited them in and his birth mom asked me if I wanted to hold him?  I remember sitting there and being so overcome with emotion.
First time in my arms.

First Family Picture

Mother's Day had been a sad day for me in the past as I longed for children.  Now it really is my favorite holiday as it reminds me of how our family began.  I never dreamed I would be privileged enough to have 7 kids.

Happy Mother's Day!  
Becky proud mom of 7

Easter 2014

July 2019  

Friday, May 01, 2020

Update on our lives and Portfolios for 2020.

Dear Friends,

I wanted to update you on our lives and my plans for the the 2020 portfolio season. My son Jonathan transitioned to heaven on April 3, 2020 after his battle with Ewings Sarcoma Stage 4 for three years. We miss him terribly.

 I wanted to let everyone know what that means for Ohio Homeschool Assessments.  I have been thinking through what makes this doable for me to continue.   At this moment, I am able to work and will continue to.  I enjoy what I do serving families.  My work is important to our family and our budget.  But, I need to make some changes to keep going.  I am now accepting portfolios for the 19/20 school year.  Please click here for more information. 

I am going to stop my periodic blog postings.  I am not at a good place to write.  I may do some re-posting of old posts.  There are 10 years of posts on the blog to read.  My hope is to Blog again in the future.    I will still post sporadically on Instagram and Facebook.  Click to follow.

I can not thank you enough for being so kind to me and our family over the last few years.  The support I receive from my families touches my heart so deeply.  Thank you.  Please know I am happy to work with you, and see what you have accomplished this year.

Becky Boerner

Sunday, February 02, 2020

Repost: Homeschooling on a Budget: The Library Part Two

Last week I talked about the library and many of the wonderful resources there.  But I did not get a chance to share about the wonderful relationship I have cultivated with our librarian, and she has helped us to home educate.

My wonderful Children's Librarian is Amy.  Amy is so nice and helpful.  Like most librarians, she helps us find books, she helps me search shelves for books I say have been returned and are still on my card, and is always excited to see my children.  I also find her an excellent resource on all things library.  She helps me use databases from the library, tells me of resources in the library, and is generally interested in my kids' learning.  She has shown me a library resource to help students prepare for the PSAT, ACT, SAT, and AP tests.  Things that would have taken me much longer to find on my own if I even found them.

But the best thing is the awesome homeschool programs she now plans.  Our library has many programs and they were usually scheduled around school kids schedules.  One day I asked Amy if she would be willing to schedule library programs during the day for homeschoolers.  She was like "during the day?"   I said yes I think they would come. . . if you program they will come!  She decided to give it a try and it worked.  The best part was she asked me what kind of presentations I would like and she goes about finding them.  She has had a coin collector come and talk about history, a park ranger with animals from the park, science programs, recycling programs, chemistry programs, the Japanese society, and one on internet safety.  She is open to anything.  So many wonderful free opportunities for my students.  I suggest things and she does the leg work.  I advertise to our local group and most people are excited to come.  What is there not to like about a free library program?  I am glad I reached out to her and asked.

How has your librarian helped you?  What unusual resources have you discovered at you library?
I believe every home educator should make the librarian their best friend.


Saturday, January 25, 2020

Repost: Homeschooling on a Budget: The Library! Part One

Repost. . one I love. 

Homeschooling on a budget is a topic I'm going to be exploring for the next year. One of my favorite places to visit is the library.  I sometimes go just to be with the books.  Really.  I know my librarians by name, and they know me.  What I did not realize until I started homeschooling was how the library truly is one of the most money saving places for home educators. I wanted to share some things I have learned from the library.

I think if there is one area where home educators can say they really spend money is books.  Let's be honest, most of us could be in a 12 step group for book addicts. . . Hello my name is Becky Boerner and I love to buy books. . . .  Getting books from the library can be a huge money saver.  Here are some ways I use the library.

1.  Most libraries offer an educator card for home educators.  What does this mean?  Where I live in Hamilton County it means that my lovely librarians renew my books for me, there are no fines, and I can lose 3-4 books each year and not be charged for them! This saves me so much time and money each year.  (Of course my children do not loose the wonderful physics books or history books they check out. They always loose something quality like "Pinaklicious Bad Hair Day". . . but I digress.)

2.  As a resident of Ohio you can get a library card at any library in the state of Ohio if you show residency.  You can visit any library in the state and check out books!

3. The single best thing about Ohio libraries in my opinion is SearchOhio. With SearchOhio you can search for a book at any library in the state of Ohio.  If your library is a SearchOhio member you can order it and pick it up at your library.  This service is free at my library.  I am guessing it is at yours as well.  I have ordered so many books this way, and they even come within a week.  (I am beginning to wonder if I have an affinity for the people of Akron as many of the books I want are there)

4. The other amazing thing about the library is that you can request a book, and they will often buy it.  I have requested over 81 digital titles in the last few years and they have purchased 79. What a huge savings for our family!  My understanding is they are able to buy books year round, so request away! 

I would love to hear any library tips that you have.  Please add them to the comments.

And. . . see you at the library!

Thursday, January 09, 2020

Portfolio Assessment Give-Away 2020!

Happy New Year!
I wanted to start the year off by giving away two FREE assessments (valued at $40.00 each). These are the Assessments that I complete for Ohio Homeschoolers to fulfill requirement 3301-34-04 Academic Assessment Report Option #2. You may redeem your prize anytime between February 3, 2020 and July 15, 2020.

Use the Rafflecopter entry form below to enter.  Please hurry the contest ends January 15, 2020 at midnight. 

Please know I verify all winning entries. If you need help, email me: ohiohomeschool@gmail.com
How to become a Public Follower.
To become a follower, look under: "I would love it if you would follow my blog publicly, Please click on "Follow" below."  After clicking on that button follow the steps. You may use a Google Account, Twitter Account or Yahoo Account to follow. Click on one and follow the steps. In order for your entry to count you must follow publicly.

If you are on a mobile phone... go to the end of this post and click on the words "View web version" (It is under a HOME button) It will take you to a page where if you look in the top right corner you will see the FOLLOW button. Click on that and Follow Publicly.

Please know that I verify the winning entry. If you need help with a step please email me. ohiohomeschool@gmail.com

a Rafflecopter giveaway