A “Prove It,” Paper Trail

Teens have lots of choices to make.

One choice can be to prepare for college. Many people mistakenly believe that the only way to prepare for college is by taking high school classes, either in a brick and mortar classroom or via an online virtual classroom. Some are discovering concurrent enrollment, enrolling in college classes during their high school years and receive dual credit (both high school and college credit for the same class). Others know that knowledge and skills are key and not just courses or tests.

Commonplacing and the Personal Scholar Portfolio

Whether teens choose a traditional high school credits and diploma path or selects their own studies, there are ways to magnify what they get out of those studies. It is also smart to have a record of studies in the form of transcript and portfolio. A great tool to enhance thinking, increase understanding, and retention, is commonplacing, or keeping a common place book. Another great tool is a Personal Scholar Portfolio.

The commonplacing approach to record keeping can become a curriculum path itself. Commonplacing can enhance any method of college preparatory education. A detailed record such as these can provide, document learning, thinking, retention, and can be used to construct a transcript.

Commonplace books have been a scholar tool since medieval times. Even institutions such as, Oxford and Ivy League colleges held classes to teach freshmen how to use commonplace books. A Commonplace Book is a book where the scholar would collect knowledge and respond to it. He would annotate reading, include summaries, essays, write down new words and their definitions, and distill knowledge. This was the foundation of scientists' logs, nature notebooks, quote books and more.

I use a simple, plain, inexpensive composition book for my Commonplace Book. Within the pages of my Personal Scholar Portfolio, when recording anything I could annotate, such as, classics read, experiments, lectures attended, cultural events attended, art work experienced, etc., I have a column to write down the number of the composition book and page number to find my notes more easily. I have many filled common place books. I created some symbols I use in the margins for major theme or trends I am looking for. Commonplace books can be powerful educational tools, though they may appear rather simple.

The Personal Scholar Portfolio is a record keeping system from which a stunning transcript can be built. The topics for record keeping suggest to the youth many areas of learning to consider: classics read, lectures attended, experiments performed, projects completed, and so forth. The learning goals and records demonstrate the seriousness of the learner. As youths have learning experiences, record their completion, and add essays or summaries, a better picture of their educational path unfolds. The portfolio reveals an educational path in a way no course listing or standardized test could ever reveal. With or without courses or tests, a portfolio can be impressive tool for young scholars.

While there are other important tools of learning, these two learning tools will enhance any education and help prepare teens for college.

Have you tried commonplacing before?  

Do you keep a scholar portfolio of your learning?

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