You have many options available to you when it comes to grading your kids. Some parents prefer to stick to the familiar letter-grades and percentage points because it makes sense to them or maybe their state requires it. Others rely on a portfolio system or simply hand out home-made awards and certificates. And then there are those parents who believe a job well-done and a concept learned is enough reward for their kids and steer clear of grades altogether. What kind of homeschooler are you?
If you’ve decided to keep grades – or maybe your state requires that you show them graded progress at the end of the year, you may be wondering how to get started. How do those teachers come up with A’s and B’s anyway? You always can appeal for help to education web-sites, like studydaddy, but if you would like to do by your own – here’s a quick guide to recording grades:
There is a problem with this system, though. All of the assignments are equally important here so that if your child does poorly on a few quizzes but always pulls through on the tests, they may still come up with a low grade. To solve this, count all important tests or projects twice (or even three times). This is called weighting the test so that it counts for more of the grade.
Portfolios are a great way to keep track of your child’s progress. Some homeschoolers keep portfolios for their own records and others are required to by their state. There are usually four main aspects to a portfolio system:
Awards & Certificates
Whether you’re keeping grades, portfolios, or nothing at all, kids still love to receive home-made awards and certificates to commemorate a job well done. Check out this page of homeschool printables to find printable Awards for Kids.
A Note on Content Standards
So what is a grade, anyway? Well, if you think about it, it’s an indication of how close your child has met a standard. But who sets that standard? Most public schools follow set lesson plans called Content Standards and many homeschoolers follow the same standards because they want to make sure that their kids are “keeping up” with the public schools.
Content standards are an official guide to what children of certain age groups should be taught. Every state has different standards and every private or charter school in each state uses the standards differently. Every state will set up their standards in a way they feel is best. To get a copy of your state’s content standards, call your local or district superintendent’s office. Tell them that you’re a homeschooling parent and you’re looking for easy to read content standards for your state. What you’ll most likely get is a binder of somewhere between thirty to fifty pages.
Use content standards as the wonderful resource tool they are. See them as the compass pointing you in the right direction, but remember that they’re by no means an outline of what you have to teach your child. They can just help you to be certain that something important isn’t being left out of your children’s education.