I have heard homeschooling parents talk about a need for student portfolios, as a way to show what homeschooled kids accomplished since they don’t have traditional grades.
But that seems like a waste of time to me.
Will the portfolio show how my son has shepherded ten late-summer litters of kittens through blistering cold winters? Do admissions officers want to know that my son planted and harvested eleven species of pumpkins? Would the officers think he’s a botanist or would they (correctly) infer that I forced him to do it because I like pumpkins?
What I really believe is that if you do something significant with your time, you can just talk about that. There’s no need to talk about a wide range of probably insignificant things you also did in the course of living your life.
Continuations is a site or company (or maybe a hobby for a few rich people) that provides a portfolio mechanism specifically so homeschoolers can prove their worth to colleges and universities. The company is hoping this will be a means to get around the SAT requirement, by providing what is essentially alternative credentials for homeschooled kids. But there is no way there is a big enough market to make this sort of start-up profitable. And likely the spouse of the founder is a venture capitalist and must know that the market is tiny. So really, this company must be a college admission tactic masquerading as a start-up.
I kept reading about it because (you probably know by now) I always like to know what the super-rich are doing. I’m convinced we can all live like the super-rich because their lifestyle is a mentality more than anything else. The mentality is thinking that you can accomplish anything. If you are a rich person, you take on this serious burden because you have no choice. If you are a regular, non-rich person, you still have the option to pretend you are not too limited by money to live out your dreams.
Admittedly it’s hard for me to get past the idea that my dream is to have a lot of money to buy stuff for my house. (I would link here to Anthropologie but I’m holding out. I want them to sponsor me. There are officially no more links to Anthropologie until they give me $10K a month of free products to talk about how much I love them. But I will just link to this chair because it’s so fun. I just want you to see it.)
Anyway, the founder discovered that most schools do not require the SAT for incoming students, but the schools still require the test for homeschoolers. The reason for this is that homeschoolers do not have a grading system that the school is familiar with, so homeschooler grades don’t really mean anything.
It seems fair enough to require the SAT for homeschoolers. Homeschoolers have to take some sort of test that can evaluate their progress relative to kids who go to school. Because college students must keep up in a wide range of college courses, and there is no other way to tell if a homeschooler will be able to do that.
Additionally, it seems to me that preparing for the SAT is not so difficult a task. And if it’s too arduous for the student to get ready for the SAT, then probably college will be too much.
The portfolio idea, alternative credentials, for a homeschooler seems like just another hoop to jump through for kids who are doing nothing special. If you are driven and you have interests that engage you and you are working hard at learning, then your achievements will speak for themselves. And if you do not have those traits, then a competitive school is not for you, which is fine because you can get into plenty of schools with lousy SAT scores and no portfolio.