Sometimes quite by accident I stumble onto a good idea. One day I was reminiscing about my own growing up years and receiving report cards on the last day of school. This led led to my son asking me why we didn’t do report cards in our homeschool. I had always assumed that since we all knew how they were doing in their courses that report cards were unnecessary. They already knew their scores and how well they had accomplished their studies. I knew pretty much their overall standing so there didn’t seem to be a need for an official report card at the end of the term.
What was the point? It would not be any surprise what the grades would be in each subject. In my mind the report card in public school was to inform the parent where the child stood in comparison to the other children in the class and how well they were performing on tests. The report card seemed pointless in a homeschool setting.
That was five years ago and now I have changed my mind.
What Goes On A Narrative Report Card?
Our report cards are very personal and as much as I would like to publish one as an example, I don’t feel comfortable sharing a real report card. I am always careful to weigh the feelings of my boys before I share their work online. I rarely post any of their work without first asking them if they care at all. So I will give a little narrative and then share a made up example just so you can see my format.
- List all your subjects in one column.
- Record their official letter grades. We use Homeschool Tracker to keep their daily, weekly, and term scores organized.
- Record credits earned if you are keeping track of credits for high school.
- Record some personal comments. I will write a positive comment about their work in the subject or relate a quality that I have observed in them during their work in this subject. I sometimes will write something I think they need to work on for the next term.
- Keep track of other learning that doesn’t fit into the school subjects. These would be any extra-curricular volunteer work, special projects from their afternoon free time, or perhaps a field trip or special interest activity.
This is just my very simple idea for a report card. Of course your family is a unique entity and you can adapt this idea to fit your learning. There is no real reason to share grades and credits if you do not want to include those. My boys enjoy reading what I write about their term more than they care about seeing their grades. Our family does not make a big deal about grades and the boys are usually harder on themselves than I ever am as far as what they expect as a grade. The grade part of the report card is never a surprise, but my words have a lot of power.
Report cards have a valuable place in our homeschooling. As I shared in my post last week, they give our school year a shape and an ending. They mark a spot in the road where we can adjust and rethink what we are doing as a family. Reflection is valuable as a tool for all of us and I find it gives me a time to think about all the things we do as a family that can be considered “school”. Not all learning fits into neat little boxes and the narrative part of the report card touches on those aspects a little more, communicating better how much I appreciate my child’s hard work.
The process takes an extra afternoon for me at the end of each term (two times a year in our homeschool). The time spent is worth the effort and sharing the report card with their father is part of the process. My husband reads the report cards and then he sits with each of the boys and they talk about how much they have accomplished and what they think about what I wrote. I file the report cards away with their portfolios when they are done sharing them.
Here is an example of what I might record on a report card. It is meant to give you some starting points to build on in your own family if you choose to do this sort of evaluation.
Sample Report Card with a Narrative Style