While homeschoolers don’t have to fulfill the state’s High School and Beyond requirement, the more I’ve looked at it, it appears to be a good process to guide students through if they haven’t expressed a solid career goal. The process is designed to begin in 8th grade and be revised/updated every year until graduation.
According to the state Board of Education, high-quality HSBPs include the following elements:
How these components are put together depends on the school. Many schools and districts include detailed information on their websites. In general, a portfolio will include:
Career Assessment – students take skills assessments, interest inventories, and make use of your choice of other tools to try to determine a good match between interests and abilities that will lead to a fulfilling career.
Four-Year Plan – beginning in eighth grade, students and their parents work together to develop a plan for their high school studies so that kids graduate on time and take all of the classes needed so that they will be able to pursue their post-high school goals. While eighth graders obviously need some idea what classes to take in ninth grade, in my house I prayerfully determine my children’s coursework. They don’t choose. Of course, my selections are based partly on my children’s interests (for instance, last year we added a study of American Indians for one of our children, and this year I have a child spending enough time working out on the home gym that he will get a weight training credit), but when beginning high school, there’s nothing my kids need to plan. I believe that it is my job to give my kids the tools they need to go do whatever it is God wants them to do — including fulfill college admissions requirements so that they have that option if God calls them that direction. In our family, all children are required to earn at least an associates degree so that they will never have to deal with employers who won’t recognize a homeschool diploma. The HSBP portfolio should include the student’s four year plan, regardless of who creates the plan.
Personal Statement – This essay spells out the student’s college, career, and life goals. It should clearly show how the student’s coursework relates to those goals, and also explain how the student intends to pursue those goals in the future.
Best Works – This component is only required by some schools. It gives students an opportunity to showcase their best work in a variety of subjects. It can include reports and essays, artwork, poetry, tests, and even URLs to recordings of musical performances.
Resume’ – Since students need to either begin college or get a job once they graduate, creating a resume’ can be a good exercise for students. Either they will use the resume’ to obtain employment, or they will realize that they are in need to additional education/training if they want to eat and live indoors.
Volunteer Hours – students will include volunteer information on their college applications, so keeping a running log of those hours and experiences while they go through their high school years will create a useful document when it is time to begin the application process
Awards & Recognition – students can easily forget about awards they have received, but they look good on college applications. By keeping a log throughout the high school years, it will be easier to transfer this information to college applications when the time comes.