Grades. I didn’t have to think too much about them with our first son. We rolled through our requirements for high school without needing to think about them. We just recorded what subjects and courses he took. How did he get through high school without being focused on an achieved grade?
Well, for instance, we studied Art Appreciation and Music History. He was interested in the topic. Every Wednesday we’d learn about a new artist and composer. He’d read a few chapters out of two books while listening to the music from an online source. We’d practice imitating the art with different mediums while looking at the work of the artist. It was usually tied to the historical era we were digging into. Either he did it – or he didn’t. And he was compliant. And interested. So he did it. If he was busy, he had a scope and sequence to follow and would read the chapters during the week. There wasn’t a higher level of academic achievement he could fulfill. All of the requirements were met. He got an A. (Harmony Fine Arts Rhetoric Stage – High School)
The same is true for a simpler subject to grade – like Math. (Math-U-See) He had Algebra 1, Algebra 2 and Geometry. Our math curriculum says that if you miss problems on the worksheets, you have to do them over. We can’t move on to the next lesson until the current one is mastered at a level of being able to teach someone else how to do it. So – for each lesson, he has to be 95-100 percent correct. Again. He got an A.
We just found out this week that a college is offering a substantial scholarship based on his transcript, without an SAT score and based on what he has done at the local community college. So a combination of grades and content do matter – in the schooling journey.
I bring this up because for the first time during the journey we have to turn over grades to the local athletic department to keep Jon eligible to play sports. A couple of the moms and I (there are a few homeschoolers on the teams) were giggling about – well, that won’t be hard, they make A’s. Except – for my second son, this might not be true. He doesn’t always give a 100 percent compliant, look at the scope and sequence, do every assignment effort.
So when we are looking at honest grades, effort has been brought up more than points on an assignment.
The kids at our local school have to pass 5-7 subjects to play. (Depends on the coaches.) This has upped our responsibility on the homeschool side to say that the homeschooler’s are not just slacking by, resting on our ‘rights’ to participate.
It has been really good for Jon, the accountability. (He is also accountable to the Schoolhouse Review Crew – as the items we review have a usage schedule.)
Subjects that he gets graded on effort more than results are English and History. They are two areas that he is only willing to do minimal work, or have to be reminded to get it done. At the local school, an incomplete assignment means that they don’t get to participate in the next game. That’s been handy. Jon doesn’t like to do all of the assignments. But he has to, to make the grades.
The past couple of weeks he started a new program called Max Scholar. I’m learning more about it – and the more we experience it, the more I like it. One thing Jon likes – is that he has put in some major effort into it, and has been making 100%’s on the program requirements. For two weeks I have been able to plug in 10 our of 10 on his report card grades. (We use a 10 point scale for grades.) For the first time, he was able to hand in his grades this week and his scores had improved. The smile told me that it does matter to him.
The other cool part, is that it is a reading comprehension program, and he is reading long passages at a 9th grade level on topics like Bees, Maui, the Henry Doorly Zoo, and Mt. Everest. I’m counting what he is writing and learning towards his social studies credit. We’ve talked about the passages and what he has learned about the topics. However, I haven’t upped his History grade. He still isn’t putting a 100 percent effort towards his history assignments.
Does that make sense? For Jon, Science and Math are 100 percent effort and worksheets done without errors.
So here is how it shapes up for the grade report. I use Debra Bell’s planner for day to day. I use Homeschool Tracker Plus to record our resources, assignments, subjects and courses.
The one above shows all of the detail for the year. I learned from my older son, that the schools don’t seem to write out the details of courses. So I submit the lower to the school.
I’ll have to write a post about Homeschool Tracker – now that we’ve used it for two kids in high school. Joy.
If you have any questions about homeschool and reporting grades, shoot me an email or message me on Facebook. Ultimately, my advice is to be honest about what topics you are studying, what level of work your student is doing, and what amount of effort he is putting out. Combine that in a grade level that is fair and honest.