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Sam’s Dad started this blog for her when she was but days old. We’ve decided to use it now as an online portfolio of her home education–a blogfolio, if you will. The idea is that this is a central place where we can keep track of her activities, friends and family can see what Sam is up to, and we can comment on her work. We expect that one day–perhaps sooner than we think–Sam will be in charge of updating it. (Unless of course blogs are deemed “too uncool” or passé by then and there’s some new social tech media that everyone is into.)

Hey, for all I know blogs are already passé… but at least this is a step up from my previous and ancient method of organizing Sam’s work (ye old manilla folder crammed with papers).

Here’s how it works: you can see Sam’s recent work in history, for example, by clicking on the history category in the right hand sidebar. Because I sometimes update the blogfolio in bursts, dates can be deceiving. The date at the top will be the date I posted the entry, not necessarily the date that the project or lesson was executed. I also include pictures from classes and other out-of-home activities that Sam is involved in. Yes, it’s called home schooling, but really only a small portion of it happens inside the home. And this blogfolio represents only a small portion of what Sam is learning and doing. I’m cataloguing some of the physical evidence, but there’s a ton that I’m leaving out. No math exercises. No scans of her spelling workbook. No detailed documentation of her imaginative free play, which I think is just as important as the other stuff.

Gotta draw the line somewhere with obsessive documentation…

But hopefully one day this obsessive documentation will be useful not only to us and to Sam, but also to other homeschoolers as an example of how one family is directing the education of their child.

A note on method: we are loosely following the classical method suggested by Jessie Wise and Susan Wise Bauer in The Well-Trained Mind. The WTM emphasizes the verbal over the visual and instructs parents to use narration as a way to check student comprehension of new material. It’s also designed to teach the child how to summarize information. The parent reads a page of history, science, etc. to the student. Then the student narrates back what he or she remembers, what was interesting, etc. In later years, the student would write a paragraph narration, but in the early elementary years, the student dictates the narration to the parent.

For Sam’s first grade year we decided to try it for history and science. I think it worked pretty well. I enjoyed hearing what made an impression on her and how she decided to relay the information. I have put Sam’s narrations in blockquotes. She liked the idea that she was writing her own history or science book, and that one day others would read it. And so now, voilà.

Sammy Mammy
7 August 2012