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UPDATE! As of October 31, 2014, the home education law has changed and homeschoolers in PA are no longer required to submit a portfolio to the superintendent of their school district at the end of the school year! This pretty much renders this whole "summary" idea invalid/irrelevant. I'll leave the page up anyway, but see here regarding updates to the law on "portfolios..."


Sometimes, when you want to submit a more minimalist Portfolio to your school district at the end of the year, one consisting of only a handful of samples, it could be a good idea to also include a "Summary." This is pretty much what it sounds like- you summarize what you did for each of the "required subjects" and submit it with your samples and the rest of your portfolio.

Pauline has some great examples of different types of Summaries on her website (www.askpauline.com).

Here is the one I ended up submitting with Alexa's fourth grade portfolio. This one is more detailed than the one I submitted for third grade. My district had complained about the number of samples I submitted that first year. So, the second year, I submitted the same number of samples, as I considered it a perfectly reasonable amount, but I gave them a bit more information in the Summary in the hopes that it would keep them off my back. Maybe it worked, they didn't complain about how many samples I submitted that year. :)

This, of course, is assuming you live in an area where you have to submit samples and a portfolio to begin with!

FOR ALEXA (LAST NAME), 2009 - 2010

“At the elementary school level, the following courses shall be taught: English, to include spelling, reading and writing; arithmetic; science; geography; history of the United States and Pennsylvania; civics; safety education, including regular and continuous instruction in the dangers and prevention of fires; health and physiology; physical education; music; and art." --PA Home Education Law


Alexa was given fourth-grade level spelling words, obtained from the Oak Meadow Fourth Grade Syllabus, on a weekly basis. She reviewed them in various ways, and took weekly quizzes on them.


Alexa is an enthusiastic reader who makes regular visits to the public library and who owns many books. She reads silently on her own, we read aloud together, and I read aloud to her, both fiction and nonfiction. She also reads aloud to her younger brother. Some books were assigned, many were read just for fun. See reading material log, included.


Alexa completed the language arts curriculum in the Oak Meadow School Fourth Grade Syllabus, which included nouns and verbs, adjectives and adverbs, common and proper nouns, prepositions, conjunctions, pronouns, subjects and predicates, contractions, interjections, freestyle poetry, plural nouns, quotation marks and dialogue writing, beginning a personal dictionary, paragraphs, possessive nouns, and grammar.

She kept a daily journal this year, in which I encouraged proper grammar, writing skills and proofreading.

She wrote several book reports, as well as a few topic reports.

She did some creative writing pieces, several of which were published in "Secular Homeschooling Magazine."

She participated in a 2009 Summer Poetry Workshop and a Spring 2010 Young Writer’s Club with our homeschool group.

She writes letters and emails to family and friends, and has written letters to our State representatives. One such letter earned her an invitation for an in-person meeting with Senator Argall.

She began a penpal correspondence (via regular mail, not email) with two girls her age who live in Poland, who she “met” through the “Flat Stanley” project we did over the summer.

She also completed a 4th Grade Cursive Success Workbook.


Alexa completed the work in the Oak Meadow Fourth Grade Math Syllabus. It included addition and subtraction, skip counting, math games, place values, times tables, telling time, simple division, geometric shapes, regrouping, odd and even, greater than, less than and equal to, roman numerals, multiplication, two and three digit multipliers, rounding and estimating, customary measurements, bar graphs, beginning fractions, adding and subtracting common denominators, mixed numbers with common denominators, improper fractions and mixed numbers with common denominators, renaming (reducing/expanding) fractions, exploring equivalent fractions, reducing and expanding fractions, money, story problems, long division, adding and subtracting mixed numbers with common denominators, borrowing with fractions, averages, and customary weights and measures.

She used math in practical situations such as during shopping and cooking.

We played math operations board games, card games and computer games and used flash cards for further multiplication tables practice.


Alexa followed the science curriculum as described in the Oak Meadow Fourth Grade Syllabus. It included geometry in nature, a seed collection, seed sprouting, seeds and transportation, nutrition, animal study, state geology, astronomy, altitude, longitude and latitude, and cardinal directions.

She also did various kid-friendly science experiments and participated in some science-related homeschool co-op classes.

We visited several science museums and a planetarium as well as zoos, aquariums, gardens and other nature areas and habitats.

We ordered a praying mantis live egg case and hatched the praying mantis nymphs. Alexa also helps care for family pets- saltwater aquarium fish, betta fish, a parakeet, a gecko, and turtles.


Alexa systematically learned each of the states and their capitals in alphabetical order with the help of "The State Sticker Book," and a book called "Exploring The 50 States," each of which included some pertinent information and history of each state, as well as via maps, books, conversation and outings.

We play map games, seeing who can find the U.S. states on the map first, and she’s done a puzzle of the United States map.

She also has the “Great States” board game and has played geography games online.


Alexa followed the social studies curriculum laid out in the Oak Meadow Fourth Grade Syllabus. Quite a bit of it focused on learning more about our home state via books, Internet, maps, field trips, making landscape models and more. The curriculum included: local topography (observation and collection of samples), native plants, building a landscape model, permanent and migrating animals of our state, models of wildlife of our state, research on Native Americans from our area, Norse myths, state geography and maps, study of student’s state, landforms, state history, frontier, establishment of settlements, squatters and settlers, covered wagons and pioneer recipes, the gold rush, stage coaches, The Pony Express, the railroad, and a time capsule.

Over the summer, when we have more time to dedicate to it, Alexa continues to learn chronological world history through "The Story Of The World," continuing with "Volume One, Ancient Times." We also use the accompanying Activity Book and "The Usborne Book of World History" for this study.

Alexa has also read many books, both fiction and nonfiction, pertaining to historical events, as well as watching occasional shows or documentaries recorded from The History Channel or rented via Netflix.


Alexa was invited to meet Senator Argall in person this year because of a letter she wrote to him pertaining to library budget cuts.

She has accompanied her mother and grandmother when we went to vote.

We have age appropriate conversations when relevant and when they come up, often centered around holidays and other topics.


Alexa takes swimming lessons every summer for water safety.

Alexa did various fire safety worksheets. We went to visit a fire department, where the kids in our meetup group got to see and climb in and explore the fire trucks, see all the equipment, try on the safety clothing and ask any questions they may have of the fireman who was there. We have discussions pertaining to fire safety and fire escape plans in our home.

At a science museum we like to visit, they have "phones" where you can listen in on examples of how to conduct a 911 phone call in an emergency and then practice it on another "phone" and Alexa did that on a couple of occasions. We also went to the 911 Center for a tour and talk, including how 911 works and how children should not be afraid to call it if they think they need to.

We met with an EMT/Paramedic with our homeschool group, and he talked to the kids about basic first aid in conjunction with a slideshow video, as well as showing them how to take a pulse and showing them the ambulances and equipment in the garage.

We met with someone from the Red Cross for a Disaster & Preparedness Class with a focus on putting together our own disaster kits.

We have regular, age appropriate discussions about stranger safety, outdoor/street safety and safety in the home.


We used “The Care & Keeping Of You, The Body Book For Girls” and “The Feelings Book, The Care & Keeping Of Your Emotions” for our Health curriculum this year.

We discuss the importance of proper nutrition and food groups (we also did a study on Nutrition as part of our Science curriculum this year and around that same time, our homeschool group met with a dietician at a local hospital). We also participated in a “Healthy Eating Tour” at Giant Supermarket.

We discuss the importance of getting enough rest and fresh air and exercise, brushing teeth and other personal hygiene, and we have age appropriate conversations on the dangers of cigarette, alcohol and drug use.

Alexa sees her medical doctor, eye doctor and dentist regularly.


Alexa borrows exercise and dance videos from the library and does them (or ones we own) at home.

Some of the videos she has done included:

Little Kicks Fitness Workout
The Ballet Workout
Walk Away The Pounds
Shape Up Youth Fitness: Plain, Simple And Fun
Chicken Fat, The Youth Fitness Video

She takes swimming lessons each summer.

She participated in a Homeschool Bowling League over the winter/spring.

She runs and plays outside, rides her bike or scooter, goes to playgrounds and indoor play places, etc.

She plays games on the Wii and Wii Fit.

Our homeschool group had a 10 week Spring Walking Club where we met at various walking and bike paths for exercise. The moms would walk and the kids would bring bikes and/or scooters.


Alexa’s Music Curriculum is based on reading a mini bio on a different composer each week via the website makingmusicfun.net and then listening to a sample of that composer’s music on Youtube. In this manner, she has read about and listened to the music of Bach, Handel, Pachelbel, Vivaldi, Beethoven, Haydn, Mozart, Brahms, Chopin, Dvorak, Greig, Mussorgsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Rossini, Saint-Saens, Tchaikovsky, Bernstein, Copland, Gershwin, Joplin, Kabalevsky, Prokofiev, Shostakovich and Williams.

Alexa also:

Sang patriotic songs accompanied by guitar at our 4th of July co-op class.
Makes up her own songs and writes them down and sings them to us.
Listens to CDs, puts the Kid Tunes station on TV, & looks up songs she likes on Youtube.
Had a short guitar lesson at a festival and was able to play along with the instructor.
Attended a live theater/fundraising event called "Lil Bits Of Broadway."
Went to see marching bands perform.
Has a bin full of various musical instruments, some store bought and some homemade.
Watched her college-aged cousin's band play at a cancer benefit day at a nearby park.
Attended "The Nutcracker" Ballet.
Attended a Christmas Show that involved music and dancing.
Attended a Groundhog Day celebration that featured live Pennsylvania Dutch music and songs.
Plays Rock Band and DJ Hero games.
Attended the musical/play “Jack & The Giant” at Sovereign Majestic Theater.


Alexa’s Art Curriculum is included in the Oak Meadow Fourth Grade Syllabus. It covered:

Tonal Drawing; Surface Law of Perspective; Size Law of Perspective; Foreshortened Circles; Foreshortened Squares; Drawing Spheres; Surface Lines; Overlapping; Density Law of Perspective; Wet on Wet Watercolor Painting; 3-D Spheres with Watercolors; Solar System Poster; Tonal Shapes; Elongated Circles; Drawing Humans; Visiting Galleries.

In addition:

Alexa attended a two week drawing and painting art class.
She has many, varied arts and crafts supplies, which she makes regular use of.
She attends Lowe's Build & Grow Clinics, where she gets to make things out of wood.
She attends various craft days with our homeschool group.
She utilizes “How To Draw” type books on her own.




Shawn - 40, Husband, Dad, Tattoo Artist, Body Piercer, Business Owner, Saltwater Aquarium Enthusiast, Cook, Mr. Fix-It.

Nance - 41, Wife, Homeschooling Mom, Bookworm, Writer, Field Tripper, List Maker, Planner, Chauffeur.

Melissa - 22, Special Needs. Is in a sheltered workshop/life skills day program. Likes music, movies, shopping, and reading.

Alexa - 14, Left public school in March of 2009 and has been home since, happily homeschooling with Oak Meadow and an eclectic mix of other things. Currently in 8th grade. Enjoys reading, writing, art, singing and music, theater/performing, doing her nails, and sleepovers with friends.

Ben - 9, Has never been to any outside school. Currently doing 3rd grade at home. Enjoys computer, video and board games, especially Minecraft and shooter games, silly jokes, soccer, rough-housing, and occasional cuddling and reading.

Adelaide - 15 months and my little ray of sunshine. :) Enjoys pointing at things, chasing the cat, trying to pull all the books off my bookshelves, eating, playing, and snuggling.

We are a relaxed/eclectic, secular homeschooling family living in Pennsylvania and thoroughly enjoying Life Without School!


Alexa is using: Oak Meadow 8 Civics; Oak Meadow 8 English; Oak Meadow Basic Physical Science; Story of the World Middle Ages; and Teaching Textbooks Math Pre-Algebra.

Ben is loosely using the Oak Meadow 3rd Grade curriculum (minus the math), Teaching Textbooks Math 3, and Reading Eggspress.

I've always been a fairly relaxed homeschooler. While I've buckled down more this year with my 8th grader, in general we do school around life, not life around school. We use mainly a fun, hands on curriculum that isn't overly time consuming and isn't dry or textbookish, and we're always willing to drop it for the time being if something fun, interesting, or educational comes up outside the house. Living is learning!


Welcome To My Blog!


The ABCs Of Relaxed Homeschooling

A Perfect Day

Affidavits, Objectives & Samples, Oh My!

A Kindergarten Dropout

Homeschooling, A Year Later

Preschool Or Not?

I Wouldn't Have It Any Other Way

A Day In The Life Of A New Homeschooler

Homeschool Poem

What Does A Homeschooler Do Every Day?

What Does A Homeschooler Do Every Day Part 2

What About Socialization?

Why Homeschool?!

Dear Judy Molland

What I Really Mean When I Say I Homeschool


Funnix Beginning Reading Program Review

Getting Started With Spanish Review

Growing, Growing Strong Review

Insect Lore Negative Review

Life of Fred Math Review

Little Passports Review

Meet The Masters Review

Movie Review: Snowmen

Oak Meadow Review

Sentence Composing For Elementary School Review

Story Of The World Review

Teaching Textbooks Math Review

Times Tales Review

Typing Instructor For Kids Platinum Review


Alexa's Third Grade Book Log

Alexa's Fourth Grade Book Log

Alexa's Fifth Grade Book Log

Alexa's Sixth Grade Book Log, Year 1

Alexa's Sixth Grade Book Log, Year 2

Alexa's Seventh Grade Book Log

Alexa's Eighth Grade Book Log

Ben's Pre-K Book Log

Ben's Kindergarten Book Log

Ben's First Grade Book Log

Ben's Second Grade Book Log

Ben's Third Grade Book Log


Oak Meadow Kindergarten Schedule Sample, With Pics

Oak Meadow 4th Grade Schedule Sample, With Pics

Oak Meadow 5th Grade Schedule Sample, With Pics

Our 6th Grade Stretched Over Two Years Plan

Some Of Our Most Fun/Interesting Projects & Activities, Oak Meadow 5th Grade


Homeschool Affidavit

Homeschool Objectives, Elementary and Secondary Level

Homeschool Portfolio, UPDATED

Summary, To Include With Portfolio, Example 1

Summary, To Include With Portfolio, Example 2

Standardized Test Results


Books Featuring Homeschooled Characters, Titles A-I

Books Featuring Homeschooled Characters, Titles J-R

Books Featuring Homeschooled Characters, Titles S-Z

52 Books In 52 Weeks, Mom & Daughter Style, 2011

Homeschooling Quotes & Funnies

Our Fresh Air Fund Experience

Funny Things Alexa Has Said

Funny Things Ben Has Said

My Favorite Links

How I Got Alexa's Eczema Under Control!

My TTC, Pregnancy, and Miscarriage Saga, PART 1

My TTC, Pregnancy, and Miscarriage Saga, PART 2

My TTC, Pregnancy, and Miscarriage Saga, Part 3

The Family Who Wouldn't Change The Toilet Paper


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