My son Kevin thought my homeschool grades were stupid. “Who’s going to believe the grades my Mom gives me?” he would say. Then he took classes at community college! The professors gave credit for class attendance, participation, discussion, and homework. If the students scored poorly on a test, they were allowed to “drop” 1 test. A teacher declared that the highest grade on every test was the “100%” grade, and all the other students were graded on a sliding scale. I had won Kevin over! “You have been correct Mom! Your grades have been a lot tougher than college!”
Grading vs. Mastery
First of all, should you give a grade according to assessments alone, then you’re doing your student a disservice. In high schools, including as some colleges, students might never be judged according to test scores alone. After all, a test only measures what you do not know. We are trying to express what our kids DO know. A grade is generally a mix of points, and if we do not grade having a mix of items also, we are putting our children a disadvantage.
As homeschoolers, we tend to move on following our children mastering the material. If you’re a parent that sends math problems, English papers or tests back to the student with “please correct this” messages, then you’ve high expectations. I recommend that when your student does “meet expectations” that you simply give them 100% for that test or assignment. If it means you’re giving them a 4.0 in each class, that’s fine – as long as they meet your high expectations.
How do you give a grade when you do not give any tests??
The key is to consider how you DO measure your kids. Just between you and me (don’t tell!) the methods we measure are often the same things we nag about. Isn’t that a dirty little secret? Think about these phrases: “are you done with your reading yet?” (Yes? Literature Reading, 100%.) Or “have you finished your spelling words yet?” (Yes? Spelling Practice, 100%). Occasionally the items that we nag at them NOT to do are also methods that we evaluate. For instance, “Kevin, will you PLEASE leave that chessboard alone!” (Daily Chess Exercise, 100%) or “Alex, get away from the piano!” (Piano Exercise, 100%).
Whenever you think of how you evaluate, consider every thing they do that you simply call “school.” In our homeschool, I only graded tests in math, foreign language, and science. That was mainly a matter of convenience for me – these had been the curricula that came with tests! For all 28 of our other classes, I utilized other methods to evaluate my kids. What would they do in their every day work? For English, I decided to evaluate their reading and writing. For reading, I further decided to grade on areas like: reading, discussion, analysis, and research. For writing, I evaluated them on each paper, so I listed every paper by the title or topic (Emancipation Proclamation, for instance.) I didn’t really “grade” the paper. I just edited it after they wrote it, and sent it back to them for corrections. Once it was carried out to my satisfaction, then I gave them 100%. Other times, I didn’t list the actual titles of the papers they had written. Instead, I would list the Type papers they had written: essay, research report, short story, or poetry. Finally, I decided the testing they did every year for their annual assessment was also an evaluation. The areas on these tests had been “vocabulary, comprehension, spelling, mechanics, and expression.” For every item, they scored grade level or above, which met my expectations (yup, another 100%!)
Whichever way I evaluated them, if they met my expectations, they received 100%. You are able to view a grading chart taken from a page in my son’s Comprehensive Record. Just click on “Sample Course Description” on this page.
What areas do you use when you evaluate your kids?
You are able to give a grade for every test, quiz, paper, or lab report. Think about also these general ideas: reading, reports, discussion, research, every day work, oral presentation, composition, practice, performance, note taking, attendance, and narration. You might want to provide a grade for every activity they complete within a course. For instance, you could give a grade for each activity you count as PE hours: swim team, skiing, soccer, free weights, health, and softball. For music, you may want to provide a grade for lessons, exercise, and performance. In history, you could give a separate grade for every report, paper, or essay they wrote on historical topics.
I would keep conventional grades in Biology – mostly since Apologia Curriculum provides tests. Even so, my students would much more for that course than just take a test, and I wanted that reflected in their grade. I supplied a numerical percentage grade for every test, grading as suggested through the curriculum supplier. The other major activity in that course was their science lab. I decided to provide them a grade for each science lab they completed. If they met expectations, their grade was 100%. They didn’t always meet my expectations, however. When my children did a lab write-up, I expected them to provide me a paragraph describing what they did, along with a diagram, chart, or sketch of the experiment. There had been instances that I felt they hadn’t done their best. At times, I would give them 80%, or 90%, depending on my mood. Yes, it was arbitrary! But they had NOT met my expectations, and I wanted their grade to reflect that.
Don’t all homeschoolers get a 4.0?
“Mom knows best” sometimes indicates that a grade will be a “B” or lower. When you honestly know that your child has performed at a lower than “A” level, do not be afraid of how it will seem on the transcript. Honesty will constantly serve our kids best, and a B can demonstrate thoughtful consideration of your grades. It says that all your grades are real, and you’ve considered every 1 carefully. You will find times when your honest grade will contain a B (or lower) on a test, or paper. Make certain the total grade on the transcript will accurately reflect every thing your student does, and each area that you evaluate their work. If they have an “A” for effort in a variety of ways (discussion, every day work, narration, research, lab work, etc.) be certain to include every thing they do. In the end, if the transcript grade is still less than an “A” then go ahead and write it down. There is no permanent damage from that! If it’s honest, write it down.
I know that my grading system is 1 of numerous “right ways” to accomplish things. As the parent, you are able to choose the “right way” to grade your homeschool. I’m giving you this glimpse into my homeschool evaluations, simply because I believe it truly helps to see what somebody else has carried out. This is just a sample, for you to look at and adapt for yourself. When I started thinking about transcripts, I loved seeing each sample I could find! If you would like more samples, you may wish to see our “Sample Comprehensive Record.” It lists each class, course description, and grading criteria for every high school class in our homeschool.
At times it’s appropriate to present the nuances of the grades to a college, and you need to show that your “homeschool 4.0” just isn’t a number pulled out of thin air. You would like to demonstrate thoughtful consideration to the methods you evaluated your student. You would like to display your standards and your approach of grading. Then let the college choose how they will use the grades, knowing that you simply did your very best to supply them with the information they require.
Homeschool grading is an art, not a science. Do not feel like you’ve to accomplish every thing exactly the way I did. Remember! Mom and Dad know best – particularly how to evaluate their own kids. You are able to do this! And I’m here to assist!
The HomeScholar’s http://www.thehomescholar.com/easy-truth.phpHomeschool Transcript Solution will show you how to create an AMAZING transcript that will impress the colleges! Lee Binz, The HomeScholar, is a homeschool high school expert. Both her two boys earned full-tuition scholarships at their first choice university. Learn how she did it on TheHomeScholar.com.