“Should I give my Homeschool Kids Grades even if it’s not required?”
Depending on where you live this question may already be answered for you! Your state may require grades, portfolios and/or possibly standardized tests. Or you may have no set requirements at all. This question usually comes up as parents… “Do I need to give my homeschool kids grades?” It’s a question each family has to answer for themselves. Also, It’s a question that may change at different points in your children’s education.
When we first started homeschooling I never bothered with grades. I really didn’t see the point. I did not see reason in keeping up with grades on assignments with a 4-year-old and a 6-year-old. Most of our learning for pre-K through 1st grade is hands-on learning and focused on learning to read and write and follow directions. It is very difficult to give a number or letter grade for subjects in early elementary. I decided I wanted my kids to start out focused on learning not on getting perfect scores on everything.
Recognize when it’s time to change!!
Recently, I recognized the needs of our homeschool were changing. I found that my very intelligent children are very good at doing just enough. Careless errors were becoming more common in their math work, their handwriting was getting sloppier, and reading questions were being answered quickly with as little thought as possible. They were also very good as just immediately asking for help if a question seemed a little bit hard or challenging for them. I realized that I want my kids to be held accountable for their work and effort in school. They needed more motivation. Mom telling them over and over again, to “fix their mistakes” or “take their time” wasn’t going to cut it anymore!
I decided to start giving my kids (ages 7 and 9) more independent practice, quizzes, and tests on the skills they’re learning. Then I took time to grade their independent work. Then they would be able to see how good or bad they did on their assignments. Through this, we would all see evidence of what they are actually learning, the importance of doing their best and then, hopefully, improvement. They also learned they did not need me to be sitting right by them to complete an assignment well. I saw benefits from this change immediately. Yes, it does take a little extra time! (But, not much since I finished my homeschool report card and grade-book spreadsheet!) The time I spend grading has been worth the change that I’ve seen in my kid’s motivation!
The 5 Benefits of giving your Homeschool Kids Grades!
- Motivation: When I started grading all my kids work it gave them motivation to work harder. There were several areas that each of my kids were struggling in. Just knowing they were being graded motivated them to work hard to improve their grades and do well.
- Conversation: When I kept grades and made report cards it opens up doors to have conversations with your children about what they need to improve on and the progress they have made.
- Stops the Rushing through work: My kids know that I will be grading their work. They also know that we will spend time correcting all the mistakes that have been made. If we don’t correct mistakes on work and learn from them then any work is just busy work. (When they know you will be grading it they will have to correct any mistakes they realize it takes less time to do it right the first time!)
- Develop Independence: Your kids will start learning how to work and learn more independently. Independent work shows my kids and I what they can really do, without me “holding their hand”. Independent practice, tests, and quizzes are what I take grades on. They have to learn to think through challenging questions on their own instead of immediately asking for help.
- Structure and Organization: When I decided to take grades It gave me a better more organized structure for my homeschool. I teach a skill, practice it with my kids then, have them practice independently, (reteach when necessary) then give them a test or quiz at the end of the week. I also have them make corrections, so that they are learning from mistakes. The routine helps me and my kids know what to expect. We also often get finished with our core studies quicker this way and have more time for fun science experiments and activities together!
Do you want help keeping a record of your kids grades?
Last year I made a google spreadsheet that helped me keep my kids grades organized. Each week I grade their assignments and enter them into my spreadsheet as I go. I can see at a glance how they are doing and also when I want to give them an average the formulas are ready to go. I can go over their grades with them as often as I need to, print it out, or just keep it digitally on my computer.
This editable spreadsheet is available to purchase on my Teachers pay Teachers store. Check it out if you are interested in something that will help you easily keep track of your grades and give your children report cards.