Helpful Homeschool Grading Tips
“Homeschool grading is the fun part of homeschool, for me. This is where the rubber meets the road and I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, if my kids are learning anything.” Said no homeschool mama, ever!
Look people, if you need a grading scale to know if your kids are learning anything, you aren’t spending enough time with your kids.
There are times to “grade” them, but there are also times when you just assign a grade.
Our homeschool grading looks something like this…
Homeschool Grading for Young Children
When children are small, they’re constantly learning. (You know what I’m talking about if your kid has never said the word, “fart” before, but suddenly realizes he knows this “new word” during church.) Kids pick up new words, behaviors, and abilities just by watching or listening to others.
If smaller children, for school purposes I’m talking about Kindergarten through 2nd or 3rd grade, are making progress in whatever you are teaching them, assign them an “A.” If they are excited about learning about the topic, that’s great. If they aren’t excited and are having difficulty learning, you are the teacher, find a different way of teaching them so they will get an “A.” This is our job as homeschool parents. Do not betray your child with anything less than an A, because you don’t want to find the best way for them to learn.
I absolutely DO NOT test my kids at this level because there will be plenty of that in a few years. Unless your child is advanced and needs the challenge, I see no need for testing, only good teaching.
Homeschool Grading for Older Children
By the time your son or daughter gets to the 3rd or 4th grade, it’s time to start really looking at SOME, NOT ALL, of their assignments and critiquing their work. I let my kids know what’s expected of them and turn them loose with a couple of projects at this age. Then, I examine the work they’ve done and assess. The way I “grade” my kids applies to most of their subjects.
First, I ask myself these questions.
These questions carry a lot of weight, because they let me know if my kiddo really TRIED or even wanted to do well.
Did they work hard at finding the right answers?
Did they TRY to do what was asked of them?
Is their penmanship neat, or does it look like chicken scratch?
Is their paperwork wrinkled or does it have too many creases?
How often did I see them working on this project?
Second, I check for mistakes in spelling, grammar, and punctuation, and for repetition.
As long as we aren’t way off on any of those, we’re good. I base this on what I know they’ve already learned depending on what grade they’re in.
Lastly, I check the actual information.
Is the information given relevant to the topic? I also fact check. I don’t want any fabricated info just so my kid could fill the page.
If any of these don’t check out, he gets sent back to try again. We live by the three strikes and you’re out rule. The third time I’m handed his work, it’s graded, and all grades are final. I’ve done my job. I mainly use letter grades, but HomeLife Academy, our umbrella school, has a grading scale that we follow closely for older students’ number grades for grade point averages.
If all the above things check out, my kid gets an “A.”
I give a “B” when penmanship is lacking and/or work is messy.
A “C” is given for facts that aren’t organized appropriately.
When we’re dealing with all of the above, or repeated information, which is rare, a “D” is given. “D’s” are very rare in our house because that punishment is involved.
Have I ever given an “F?”
When you’ve done all you can do as a homeschool parent, you’ve done everything except the assignment for the kid, and they still don’t improve, and there’s no underlying reason – sickness, disability, etc. – then you must let your child fail.
You’re not doing your pride and joy any favors by passing them at this point. Schoolwork is hard, work is hard, life is hard! Failing your child is extremely hard when you know their potential, but if you let them off easy now, they’ll always expect that from you.
High School Grading
We are between high school students at the moment. In the past, our high school grading has been based on test scores and research papers. There are plenty of both during this stage.
I critique a little closer, I get pickier about what I’ll accept, I’m much more particular about what their work looks like overall.
I mean, this is it. I’ve got four years to get these kids ready for real adult life. If they go to college, their professors aren’t going to take it easy on them. If they go to work, their boss will have certain expectations.
After all is said and done, we have to know we did our best for our children. Preparing them for real life is part of being a parent. Letting kids slide on their grades isn’t adequately prepping them for LIFE.