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So what do I do? My son will finish his MUS practice page and say, ” Did I make an A or an A+?” My husband is also saying that he remembers grades being a “little push” to help him do a good job in school. He is wondering if we should be making them more accountable for their work. I have just checked what they have done in math, language, and narrations for science and history without giving them “grades” or happy faces or anything like that. They are just suppose to correct their mistakes and then we move on.
I think they feel as though they are not getting enough “at-a-boy” pats on the back. And my husband thinks they are not being held accountable for some things like they should be.
What do you all think? How am I to hold them accountable?Cindie2ddsMember
I have absolutely no advice since my kids don’t even know what grades are. I haven’t given it much thought since there are no requirements of testing at all in my state. I would love to hear what others have to say about this. At this point, we just make sure there is a clear understand and correct mistakes just like you do, that’s it.
I’m wondering when people, who don’t have to, start to keep grades, if you do.thepinkballerinaParticipant
Show them what Charlotte Mason said about grades. 🙂 If I remember correctly, she said children’s motivators should be a love for learning. Otherwise they just learn for the grade and forget the information! We also are supposed to focus on what they DO know. Not sure if that’ll help, but it’s part of what drew me to a Charlotte Mason Education. 🙂
Charlotte said that if you had to give grades, you could give them for character issues. So maybe you could come up with a list of, say, five habits that you want them to focus on (attentiveness, best effort, neatness, etc.). Then when they finish an assignment, ask them what kind of grade they would give themselves for their “performance” with that assignment. Just an idea.missceegeeParticipant
We don’t have grades per se, but I use the following forms (adapted from Lindafay’s HIFI site) to track our progress. They have proved helpful to me, perhaps they will help you, also.
http://www.box.net/shared/4ekby66l8l – Character Report (the child fills out their portion, then I fill out mine – gives me something to focus on)
http://www.box.net/shared/y1bf3yk807 – Progress Report (this is more for me than the kids)
Thanks you guys! I took a look at several blog posts on this site and Lindafay’s site too. I think the character report idea is wonderful!!
My husband said that the way Lindafay does her progress report and the idea that Sonya suggested (sit down with each child and discuss their strengths and weaknesses) is how he was evaluated at work. His supervisor did the same thing.
These ideas are so much more helpful than letter grades. However, to help my son, I may start using a smiley stamp for work well done in math or copywork. I think that will help him feel that he is doing a good job when he tries his best. He seems to need an immediate reward (pat on the back) to keep going. I don’t know what Ms. Mason thought about smiley face stamps…:) but I think I’ll have to make an exception if she did not approve.
Thanks again everyone!
We have done Lindafay’s character report before and it was amazing to see how the kids saw themselves. My son rated himself lower than I would have in several areas (he was 6 at the time, 7 now). He knew what he needed to work on before I needed to tell him!
We haven’t done grades either. As far as math goes, if they get something wrong, they must go back and change it, so their workbooks look as if they are perfect in their math! (grin) But my goal is that they learn the math, not that they have a grade. So when they have finished the page and it is correct, I write “good” or put a smiley face on it to show that that page has been completed and checked, not because they got all the answers right. The smiley face works kind of like a bookmark.
We haven’t done any marks on any other subjects’ work.
Anyway, just how we do things…
I’ve recently been reading some books that deal with motivation in children, and they all agree with Charlotte. I advise being very, very, very careful using extrinsic motivators with children! Very, very careful! It doesn’t take much to “kill” the intrinsic motivation that we want to develop.
If you DO choose to use something like a smiley face—I’d advise following some qualifications:
1. Do NOT announce in advance to the child that there will be a reward for good work
2. Do NOT do it every day–do it only selectively, SOME of the time you notice the work is very well done.
3. Keep the motivator very low-key, and very specific. Keep your verbal praise the same way–very specific. Instead of “Very good copywork today!” say something like “Your letters look very even today” or “That ‘g’ looks very neat.”
The more I read, the more science validates what Charlotte said. Don’t kill intrinsic motivation with rewards!
I give some grades for my high schoolers for some subjects, like math or science, but we don’t make a big deal, in fact we rarely even show them to the kids. GRADES KILL INTRINSIC MOTIVATION!ShannaParticipant
Love the character report!!! We do not give grades. The older ones check their math so they know how many they get wrong but that is the extent of it. We have no need for grades.
Okay, I am gonna sound really dumb here, but what do you mean by intrinsic motivation? Is that the same as a love of learning? Or learning to have knowledge instead of studying to make a good grade? I have not read much about this….but I guess I need to 🙂Cindie2ddsMember
You are right. Their “love of learning” would suffice for the definition, “internal worth or nature,” so to speak.TanyaParticipant
I heartily agree with Bookworm on making sure that kids are not doing the work for the purpose of getting an exterior goal. I know for us, when they get that “good” on their paper, they know it is not a reward, but rather it just means that there is nothing to correct on that page and they can move on. (Sorry if that didn’t come across clearly in my earlier post)
Yes, Amanda I think intrinsic motivation means an inward desire to learn and know. I know that when I was in school, I got really, really good at regurtitating back to the teacher what I knew he/she wanted. I wanted good grades, not necessarily knowledge.
My kids on the other hand, love to learn. When we go to the library, they willingly search out books on topics that seem interesting to them (keep in mind they’re still young so the topics are usually animals). They beg me to read “school” books to them while we’re eating lunch, etc. Now, please don’t think that my kids are perfect students all of the time. But my goal is for them to enjoy learning and knowledge because it is important to them, not because it is important to me or to our government.
Okay…so their motivation should only be based on their desire to learn more about whatever they are doing? Is that correct? Where can I read more about all this? I am thinking that I do not need to even use the character or progress reports from Lindafay until I get this all straight in my head.
I guess I am confused about praise. Should I not show praise for them doing a good job? I don’t want them to learn things to please me, but I do want them to feel that I am happy that they are trying their best. How do you do this?Sonya ShaferModerator
Here is one passage from Volume 1, pages 143 and 144, in which Charlotte talks about how grades can cause rivalry and competition between children, as well as overshadow the inherent desire for knowledge and cause children to focus on getting “good grades” instead of learning because of their natural curiosity:
As for emulation, a very potent means of exciting and holding the attention of children, it is often objected that a desire to excel, to do better than others, implies an unloving temper, which the educator should rather repress than cultivate. Good marks of some kind are usually the rewards of those who do best, and it is urged that these good marks are often the cause of ungenerous rivalry. Now, the fact is, the children are being trained to live in the world, and in the world we all do get good marks of one kind or another, prize, or praise, or both, according as we excel others, whether in football or tennis, or in picture painting or poem-making. There are envyings and heart-burnings amongst those who come in second best; so it has been from the beginning, and doubtless will be to the end. If the child is go out into an emulous world, why, it may possibly be well that he should be brought up in an emulous school. But here is where the mother’s work comes in. She can teach her child to be first without vanity, and to be last without bitterness; that is, she can bring him up in such a hearty outgoing of love and sympathy that joy in his brother’s success takes the sting out of his own failure, and regret for his brother’s failure leaves no room for self glorification. Again, if a system of marks be used as a stimulus to attention and effort, the good marks should be given for conduct rather than for cleverness––that is, they should be within everybody’s reach: every child may get his mark for punctuality, order, attention, diligence, obedience, gentleness; and therefore, marks of this kind may be given without danger of leaving a rankling sense of injustice in the breast of the child who fails. Emulation becomes suicidal when it is used as the incentive to intellectual effort, because the desire for knowledge subsides in proportion as the desire to excel becomes active. As a matter of fact, marks of any sort, even for conduct, distract the attention of children from their proper work, which is in itself interesting enough to secure good behaviour as well as attention.
Thank you, Sonya. I see the point now…..I also see why the progress report on Lindafay’s website appears to only be for the mom to use but the character report is for mom and child to use together.
And I know, from first hand experiences, that “treasure boxes”, sticker charts, etc…do not make children want to learn. It only makes them want a prize. I knew this, and have tried this, but still needed to be reminded. 🙂
I also know that marks or rewards for cleverness do cause problems with siblings. I have seen this begin with my two, but did not know how to address it. I had just not really thought it all through……..I had honestly never thought to give credit for conduct rather than cleverness!
This has been a wonderful learning experience for me today! Thank you all so very much!!!! (and I’m sure my children would thank you too, if they understood what I have learned)
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