Wednesday, November 2, 2016

To Grade or Not To Grade?

People often asked me over the years, whether I grade and how do I grade my children when homeschooling. New homeschooling parents or those who consider homeschooling also ask these questions.

When my children where young in the early grades, I did not grade them because I wasn't required to do so and also because I wanted to teach my children the joy of learning for the sake of learning instead of for grades.

I also wanted to prevent them from comparing themselves to one another based on the grades they receive. We were just learning all the basic concepts of reading, writing, numbers and everything else that they wanted to learn until they mastered those skills without having to think of the grades at all. As a matter of fact I did not begin to give them grades for their work until about grade 5 level and on, though I did keep a record of what they were learning and making sure that we covered all curriculum requirements for the specific grade they were in, but most of the time they exceeded those expectations.

So, unless you are planning to send your children soon to school, you don't really have to grade them unless of course the laws of the Province, State, or country you are a resident of require you to do so. When you have to grade them, it is important to teach your children that their grades only reflect a sample of knowledge and skills that they were tested on, not their entire intellectual ability or self worth, so that they will have a healthy approach to grades they will be receiving both in homeschool and later public school, College, or University they will be attending.

When you decide to grade your children, find out what grading/ evaluation scale is being used in public school institutions in your area and use the same scale and / or curriculum expectations, that way when you plan to enter your child into any of those educational institutions at some point, those officials know what you have covered and it will make it easier for your child/ children to be admitted.

There are many ways in which you can grade your children's progress. You can give them grades for any chapter reviews/ tests that are available in the textbooks that you use, or you can create your own tests/ quizzes to go with the books that  do not have them, you can test them verbally as well and grade them for it. You can give them grades for any written work they do, such as essays, reports, and research projects, then calculate an average of grade for all those activities. it is good to do some of these with children in older grades, so they can acquire some test taking skills and will not be nervous when they are tested outside your homeschool in the future.

The first outside the home tests that my girls took was an OSSLT test in grade 10, which they had no problems passing. Most of other homeschooled children I know have similar results, many of them easily get grades of 85% or higher when tested, so if your children are young and you still plan to homeschool for a while, just enjoy learning without thinking of grades. They will do quite well on tests when the time for them comes.