Homeschool Grades versus Achievements

Achievements in High School

It is that time of year again…the time of year when all of us moms of homeschooling high school students feel the need to record everything down on paper for transcripts. For myself, high school brought home the fact that we really are preparing these kids for their futures. I think it is easy to forget all that when we are looking at all the wonderful curriculum choices out there….it may be a great plan, use great books, and have some fun activities but is it really preparing our children with skills they need for the rest of their life?

Many of the skills they need are not available in a curriculum. Much of what we work on in the older grades is about good habits, good attitudes, and good qualities.

Why are grades hard to give in our homeschool?

  • We take very few tests. Math is a subject that I give tests in…not so much to get a grade but to determine if the material was mastered. If the test shows an area that needs to be worked on, we review and retest. In other subjects, I know from the written work and from discussion whether things were covered well enough so there is no need for a test. I prefer to give end of the term exams which are Charlotte Mason in style.
  • Lots of learning is done orally and not graded. It is hard to grade a good discussion. I encourage question asking and then following up to find the answer. Self-education can’t really be graded….it is always above and beyond the required material.
  • I tend to have my children rework things that are lacking. When you homeschool, there is no reason that a formal writing assignment can’t be polished until it is of highest quality.
  • Most projects and papers have an assignment rubric so my children know what to expect. Assignments aren’t turned in until they are completed. We still work on meeting deadlines but that is to be expected as my son takes over more of the responsibility for scheduling and completing assignments. The rubric will give a score that I can record and the score is based on how well they completed what was asked of them.
  • I don’t grade art projects but use a rubric to reflect the amount of effort given towards a certain goal. If you use Artistic Pursuits you have a grading rubric in the back of your book to look at and adapt to your use.
Homeschool Tracker Report Card
The official report card does not give the complete picture of learning.

All our scores are kept in Homeschool Tracker and that part is easy to generate. I enter the points earned at the end of each week and I only really pay attention when it comes to the end of the term.
The bottom line is that I keep scores and grades so I can generate a transcript. I also keep foremost in my mind that the most important “grades” are those my children will receive once they leave my homeschool world. I try not to sacrifice the real education that takes place with all the different kinds of learning we offer in our high school courses just so I can have a grade to record. It does take a little more effort.

I tend to think of achievements rather than grades when I am recording end of the year records. You can read more and see a sample in this entry: Narrative Report Cards. 

There are also some thoughts in this entry that may help:

Homeschool Tracker

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