This week I'd like to chat about grading. Grading is another one of those highly personal topics. Some homeschoolers grade and some don't. Just like school teachers and college professors, everyone has their own grading system. This is a topic that I seem to see very little information about online. I have researched grading several times as I've sought to find the best system for us.
In the beginning, I didn't grade anything. Early elementary grading when I was in school was an S or U (satisfactory or unsatisfactory). I submitted grades to our umbrella school each semester, but as long as the kids were progressing well in an area, grades didn't even really come to mind.
As the kids got older, I began to consider using real grades as a motivator. The first year I gave them grades on most papers so they could get an idea of what grading was really about. The next year I got a little tougher and graded all their papers. I talked with them at the end of each semester about what kind of averages they had based on their "paperwork" only. Again last year they were graded on everything and at the end of each semester we discussed their grades. This year I've been a little tougher with grading so that Apple can get a feel for real grading. She's taking outside classes and is also assigned grades by those teachers.
I know lots of homeschoolers like to stay away from traditional grading because they know the students abilities. I agree with this to an extent. We also practice mastery by having the kids correct their own mistakes until they are right. I also consider participation and any self-directed study they are doing. However, I think students that are preparing to go to college at some point need to understand grading methods. I also think it is important to keep grades as a scale of effort.
This is just another one of those areas that is super personal for each homeschool mom (or dad!) and their students. There is no right way or wrong way to grade. I will say after several years of grading, an online program is the way to go! The first few years I was keeping up with grades on a spreadsheet. It was messy, confusing, and difficult to calculate. Now I use MySchoolYear.com (from a review I did earlier) and it makes grading so much easier. While the kids aren't always happy about their grades, they do enjoy the report cards that I print for them now.
Do you give grades in your homeschool?