Grading: How, When & Why

Grading_How-When-WhyWhen it comes to report card time in our home, filling out paperwork is as simple as can be. In the grades column, I hit the caps lock button and keep my finger on the letter “A”; I run straight down the page and stop when I get to the end.

To some, this might seem ridiculous. All “A’s”; really? Don’t get the wrong idea; my kids never get an easy “A”! It is our method which affords our children the grades they earn.

How

A large part of their success is due to our mastery method of learning. Our children earn “A’s” because they do not move forward until an “A” can be achieved. Anything less than an “A” would be impossible.
So how do we know when our children have mastered an area of study? Easy; they have mastered an area when they, in turn, can teach it to someone else. The lesson becomes second nature to them and they could work blindfolded, if need be.
Our children’s grades are not calculated based on testing alone. Apart from assigned lessons, they are also expected to meet individual standards of achievement, participation, and show good conduct. As you can see… there is nothing easy about their “A”!

When

Typically report cards are due every nine weeks. I have these records ready to go and filed on time every quarter.
As we study with mastery in mind, taking time to calculate grades is of no concern. However, this requires I be on top of our work daily. There is no putting off of work to be graded later. I need to be an active participant in their learning, knowing at all times how they are doing and where their weaknesses lie.

Why

Our PSP requires report cards, not the state; just to clarify this point. We fill out these forms to comply with our contract.
We choose to share these grades with our children to better help them understand levels of achievement expected by outside institutions. While we study for mastery, future educational choices might not afford them this opportunity. Sharing such standards better prepares our children.
What’s funny, is that our kids have no idea they are being graded; not really. The only thing they understand is that they should do all their work to the best of their ability. That’s it! If I happen to mention, off-hand, what “grade” they earned, it means very little to them. The only thing that concerns them is doing better next time; if it is possible.

Sometimes I wonder what other people might think when they look at our kids’ paperwork. “Sure, Cris, your kids got straight “A’s” all through their schooling. Right!” However, I think “the proof is in the pudding”. The kids’ level of achievement and their attitudes toward learning speak for themselves.

It will be interesting to see how they do when they begin to take college courses come high school. When someone else is grading them and setting the standards, will they be shocked (either way) to find out how they are doing? I would like to think they will rise to the occasion and exceed even their own expectations.

“That the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.”
II Timothy 3:17

📢 Chime In!: What are your standards for grading? We’d love to hear how, when, and why you choose to grade your children’s work!

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10 thoughts on “Grading: How, When & Why

  1. We grade the work, but instead of a report card, we use a learning log. I like your way of measuring how a homeschoolee gains an “A.” Grading can be a hard road. Questions like, “Am I being too soft? Am I being too hard? Am I expecting too much?” are all to often lingering in the back of our minds.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. As a former classroom teacher, I think of grades as primarily a way for teachers to communicate with parents. If the parents ARE the teachers, grades naturally have a different role in homeschooling. I think the time/ability to have students master the material is a key benefit to homeschooling!

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Love this! Going to bookmark for later 🙂 “Easy; they have mastered an area when they, in turn, can teach it to someone else.” This is a great idea!!! Just starting homeschool with my littles I searching and soaking up all the wisdom and advice I can get!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My son likes grades, so I grade some of his work. It is a holdover from his limited time in public school. He is in high school now and takes online and other classes where grades are also given.

    However, as an education major who will graduate this year, I understand, as the teacher noted above, that grades in a homeschool context aren’t important, but mastery is. There are many ways to prove mastery, i.e., exams, self-tests, essays, oral presentations, etc., depending upon the subject. The most important thing is finding what works for your child(ren).

    Liked by 1 person

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