Wednesday, July 20, 2011

History Portfolio Review

History Portfolios are blank history notebooks published by A Homeschool Journey meant to organize the results of a history study.   These beautiful notebooks  with their hard cover binders and creamy study cardstock pages are available for four different time periods, ancient, medieval, renaissance, and modern history and in two different levels.    This review will speak specifically to The Renaissance History Portfolio meant for older children.   A junior level for all of the time periods is also available. 

  Each portfolio starts with a title page. 

 Followed by a Table of Contents.  

  Followed by a page of information for the parent and a how to page --both of which could be easily removed when the portfolio is completed.  

Then the portfolio is divided into sections each with a list of Maps, reports, images, and illustrations that will follow in that section. 

The Renaissance portfolio has 5 sections:  The Italian Renaissance 1300-1527, The Renaissance in the North, 16th C., The Reformation, European Political History, 1500-1725, and Exploration and Trade,  for a total of 74 blank pages .  

A variety of different page set-ups are provided.

Each section has at least one map to color in and labeled.   A few sections have two maps

 Following these sections is a multi-page timeline meant to be taken out of the book and put together to display what is happening in the time period represented across different countries and continents. 

 Published to help parents direct students to fill in the pristine page of their history portfolio, the soft cover spiral bound Teacher's Guides by Barbara Shukin provides not only direction for filling in the history Portfolio but also an outline of topics to teach.  

Some of the suggestions included in The Renaissance History Portfolio Teacher's Guide: 

 Define humanism
 Describe what is meant by Italian City States, 
 Write a report on Giotto recording important events in his life and major works
Write a persuasive argument for or against the following: Giotto was, or was not, the first true Renaissance artist.  
Research how to draw a building, or a simple street scene using "one point perspective"  make a small drawing and paste it into the image box. 
Define the following :horizon line , vanishing point, orthogonal lines.
Write a report on France from the years 1453-1789 focusing on the Wars of Religion
Write a short report on the Northwest passage.
Write a narration on Robinson Crusoe
Define Colonialism

Also included in the Teacher's Guide are drawings, diagrams, word finds, crossword puzzles, and matching exercises meant to be colored,labeled, or otherwise completed, and included in the History Portfolio

Concluding each section of the Teacher's Guide is a full page reproduction of a piece of art represented the time period covered in that section.

Also available is a packet of maps meant to be referenced when completing the maps in the History Portfolios.

We have found History Portfolio's quality inspiring.   The quality of the product moves my students to work hard to include work that meets the quality of the materials.   The images and diagrams included in the Teacher's Guide help to give the completed portfolio a scrapbook feel and add an extra visual aspect to the study of history.  

Last year I added History Portfolios to our study of history which worked well.   My students had a place to put all of their written work and were inspired to add drawings and other visual aspects to their work.  This year I am using the structure and the book list provided by the Teacher's Guide to plan our history studies for the year.  

One thing I would change about the History Portfolio would be the pages listing what is included in each section. 

On the back side of these pages are the maps that start off each section.   Many times we don't follow the suggestions on this page, so this page seems irrelevant.    Because the map is directly behind this page, one can't just discard it.   

I also ran into a slight glitch when ordering my portfolios last year.  I ordered two Medieval History Portfolios from Rainbow Resource and received two different versions.   The section titled Christians was different in each History Portfolio.   I'm guessing Homeschool Journey Publicatons made a change to the Medievel version of the History Porfolios, but Rainbow Resource still had older versions in their inventory.   It wasn't a big deal, and we made it work.  

Some examples of completed pages from our Medieval History Portfolios:

I highly recommend History Portfolios. They have added an excitement to our history studies that was missing when we were simply filing away our work in a notebook. Our work is now poured over repeatedly and shared. History Portfolios have a permanent place in our homeschool.

Be sure to check out other reviews of homeschool curriculum at





  1. These are great! I am going to look into them!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog!!

  2. I'm stopping by and following from Friday Blog Hop. Hope you'll check out my blog Frazzled Mama at and follow me back. Hope you have a wonderful evening.

  3. Stopping by from the blog hop! Feel free to stop by my blog sometime!

  4. Hi, I'm a new follower from Blog Hop Friday! I'm looking forward to reading your blog!

  5. Hi,
    I'm your newest follower from friday blog hop. Hope you will follow back. We home school to.
    Have a blessed weekend.

  6. Very nice! Love the Horrible histories! Nice job!


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