To grade or not to grade…that is the question. This is one of those topics where homeschoolers may have strong opinions one way or the other. Some don’t like the hassle of taking grades. Some work toward mastery of subjects, so they don’t see the point in taking grades. Others feel that grades are one of the most important aspects of school work. If you don’t take grades, how do you know if your children are really learning? So many opinions…and all of them are right. It really comes down to personal preference. So which way do I swing in this debate? I am glad you asked.
I keep grades. I didn’t at first, because we were working on a mastery program. But I quickly changed my ways when I discovered the benefits to ME in keeping grades.
I quickly determined that I had fewer questions from friends and family about our homeschooling, if they knew we were keeping grades. I was tired of questions about what I was teaching, so to save my sanity, I purchased Homeschool Tracker Plus. This program allowed me to enter in the lessons I was teaching my son, and keep track of what I might need to for school records. I liked it. I felt empowered as an educator.
But I would have to say that the major turning point in our homeschool was when I began to take grades last year. My son felt responsible for learning the lessons. This year, I have upped it even more and began to send report cards quarterly through the mail. I wanted him to take this seriously. He loves getting that report card and sharing it with his Dad. I decided that I liked mailing his official report card that the Homeschool Tracker Plus program generates for me, because it helps me to distinguish between my role as a teacher and a parent. My husband is supportive in this, even though I could just hand it to him. My son loves getting mail, so he loves getting something so important there as well.
It has been funny how the level of respect from extended family members has increased as well. They know that I keep grades, and now the questions about homeschooling have stopped. Even my family member who teaches professionally has been impressed and has commented that we are doing it right and obviously take it seriously. Which I have to admit, is a teensy weensy bit nice. It makes me feel better knowing that my capabilities are not being questioned anymore.
The other reason I began keeping grades is that I feel it is great practice for high school. Transcripts used to scare me. But now that I am in the habit of keeping grades, I am less worried about everything. I know we will be just fine.
So what are your feelings on keeping grades? Do you choose to or choose not to keep them? Why or why not?