I went to a Homeschool Convention yesterday that talked about grades and credits. I keep hearing from everyone how in order to give credits and grades that you need to be able to put a grade on their work etc.. I thought you didn’t have to. Some things like with Saxon Math we have grades, but then with History we do what my son is interested in and get those books at the library. It works for us, and I really don’t want to pull away from that. Any suggestions!!!
I don’t “do” grades until junior high/high school. And even then I don’t really mention them to the kids much. I use the results of tests in some subjects to assess if we are on target or if we need some more review or practice, which is what I tell the kids. This score means you might need some review or practice (not, you are a C student.) Or you seem to understand this well, not “you are an A student.” It is not necessary at that time.
However, in high school, the objective test, I give the letter grade corresponding to their cumulative percent. They never ask what this is–they know if they are doing well or not. And for the other subjects, my policy is mastery. I have an idea in mind of what constitutes “A” work. The student works on the subject until he meets that objective. I do write these out and give a copy to the student so they know what I expect of them. Here is why: some schools, and especially some scholarships, require them. I at first intended NOT to give grades except in science, math and foreign language—until I met the National Merit scholarship application. This REQUIRES grades in each subject and I had quite a job to backtrack and be able to justify what I put on that app. Then we did have one school that contacted us (I had originally not assigned grades to each subject on our transcript) wanting me to give a grade so they could plug him into their admissions and financial aid formulas (the other schools he applied to were OK with the less grade-y transcript.) Many schools will even take a narrative transcript, not divided into subjects or grades But some won’t. IMO it’s best to be prepared, so now I keep a running grade assignment to our various in-progress courses so that when I hit that National Merit app again in September it won’t take over my whole life to get it done 🙂
So consider your goals, where your student wants to go. As your student progresses through high school, it’s perfectly OK to continue to do history the way you describe–but you are missing out on an important part of preparing him for college and future work if you don’t end up requiring some kind of paper, exam, project, etc. and then you could decide whether this needed to be conventionally “graded” or assessed in some other way.
The basic bottom line is that our students who are going to college are competing against kids who are coming from conventional, letter-grade schools, and you need to decide whether those particular schools or scholarships are worth your changing policy or not. For us, the National Merit scholarship money was worth me playing “by the rules” to get it. It’s up to you, depending on your goals.HsingMomto5KidsParticipant
For History I do have him write out a paper afterwards about what the book was about etc.. and we go over spelling errors afterwards. But I don’t put a grade on it. He goes to a Literature/Writing Class so Writing is graded from the teacher, so I would be totally clueless how to grade his History paper after he is done reading the books. For Science I think each section has a questioniare with Apologia, so I could grade that as well. But some of these things I’m clueless with like History Reading or even gym which is playing basketball outside or riding biking etc.. How in the world do you grade this??BookwormParticipant
In many schools gym is credit-only. All you have to do to “grade” his history paper is determine if it is his best work. Did he fulfill the assignment? Very well, fairly well, so-so, not so good? Did he explain his thesis? Did he have good examples? Is it well written? Does he demonstrate knowledge of the subject/area? Then either assign it a grade based on that, OR set him out written course objectives, and make all of your more-subjective courses “mastery only” and simply work until he fulfills your course objectives, and consider it an A.
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