Life Coach Magazine

Why Do Homeschoolers Have Trouble with Grading?

By Writerinterrupted @writerinterrupt

I don’t know about you, but I have a tendency to plan out the entire year in depth, but when it comes to grading, I have trouble following through. Planning gives me a road map for me and my kids. Then each week, sometimes a little less, I look through the plans to make sure I have all of my ducks in a row.

Even as my kids have gotten older and done more and more on their own, I’ve still planned out their lessons so I could pinpoint where they would need help and what strategies I could use to work with them.

That part of homeschooling comes easy for me since I’m usually rather proactive. But when it comes to the traditional grading that I did as a public school teacher … Let’s  just say I’m not so hot.

I know I’m not alone, so why do homeschoolers  have trouble with grading? Maybe we need to look at why I graded the work for my students when I taught in public school?

First, because there were so many kids. Assigning grades helped me confirm for myself that each student mastered the concepts I attempted to teach. Second, and more importantly, I needed to report the student ability to parents. Since they weren’t in the classroom, no matter how involved they were with their kid’s education, they couldn’t know the depth of the student’s master. The grades, a familiar ranking, gave the parents a good idea of how well the student did in class.

Neither reason floats with homeschooling. I already know the level of mastery for my girls because I’m the one answering their questions and going through the discussions and problems. So do I grade? Well, yes and no.

For my older students, I expect them to check their own practices so they can receive immediate feedback. In other subjects, like Algebra, I spot-check the work to verify mastery. And by the way, it’s mastery, not grades, that I work toward. Tweet This!

So at the end of every year, I can glance back through their work, final tests, reports, and essays to assign a reasonable grade for the ability they show in each subject. They aren’t the mathematical averages that I always calculated before, but rather a subjective assessment of how well they understand the concepts.

Grade reporting is still important. If for nothing else, than to encourage my girls by reminding them of how much they accomplish each year.

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