Monday, March 1, 2010

The Blog Cruise - ABCDF

Do I keep grades? 
That is the question for this weeks Blog Cruise. 
And the answer is Yes and No.

Grades for Elementary and Middle School.
In public and private schools, grades show the parents, administration, and the government, how children are doing with their studies. In homeschooling, when Mom (or Dad) is the primary teacher, there is no need for grades. I know how my children are doing in their studies because I am with them all day. Everyday. The administration of our homeschool, also known as Dad, knows how the children are doing because they talk to him about what we are studying, he sometimes asks them about their studies or he gets a report from me. 

In the younger grades my children do/did a lot of work that shows their knowledge. They fill out lapbooks, do narration and copywork, do worksheets, crossword puzzles, write stories, do dictation, and more. They write their answers to their math problems. I do correct their work and give it back to them. When they make errors in their math they try to correct it and if they can't figure out what they have done wrong then we go over it together. I want them to correct their errors in their math so that next time they come across a problem that that they will have a better chance of getting it right. But I don't give or keep track of their grades. I don't think it is necessary.

Grades for High School
Grades for High School are a necessary thing. I give grades for each class as well as keeping track of the hours and details of the classes my children do/did. I use the grading scale that was used in the Christian School where I worked for a year. It is a little more strict than most. That is ok. I want my children to strive for mastery anyway, not grades. If you are looking for a grading scale to use there are suggestions online, or you can ask a friend or school that you have contact with. The scale I use is:
A = 92%-100%
B = 82%-92%
C = 72%-81%
D = 65%-71%
F = 64% and under

I have made up my own transcripts for each of my daughters that have graduated and I am working on the one for my son. How do I know what grades to give? For Math it is easy... use the answer book, grade the work, average it and voila... a grade for Math. For other subjects it is not so easy. How do you keep track of everything for High School?

I suggest your first step be to get and read, at least once, Barb Shelton's Senior High: A Home Designed Form*U*La. Get it and read it when you child is in 8th grade at the latest, 7th would be even better. You can purchase it here at Rainbow Resource or go to Barb's site... she has a lot of extra's, too. This will help you make decisions about how you want your homeschool high-schooler's experience and classes to be, how to make your own transcripts and how to plan each class you want your student to do. I love this book and am using it for the third time. It gives great tips on how to grade your child's work, too. One of the things I love about this immense resource is the many pages of actual classes and the work Barb required for her children that Barb has in her book, giving you ideas what to include, and the actual grade requirements she used for some of her classes. She also has lots of sheets you can have your child complete for certain classes. For instance there is a: Grading Criteria and Course Assessment page for Typing, Tape Report sheets (listen to a tape and do a report like a book report), Purposes for Writing sheet, Concert/Performance Record, Home Maintenace and Repair T.A.S (home painting or plumbing to do, have your child help and record the work), and a Dinner Planner sheet, among many, many others. A T.A.S. is a Task Analysis Sheet, a place for your student to check off and record tasks they know how to do and have actually accomplished.

Grading can entail many things, depending on the subject. Quality of work, quiz and or test grades, daily work, neatness, progress, effort put in, and perhaps other requirements. 

I hope this helps you,
If you have questions please comment,


Michelle said...

Debbie, I would love to see your transcript! I like how you list the different things that grading can entail!

And thanks for the link to the Barb Shelton's book ~ I'm going to check that out! =)

Nikki said...

Debbie, thank you for this informative post. My oldest child is only in 2nd grade, but I appreciate everything you shared about the high school years and the book you mentioned by Barb Shelton.


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