How to Grade Homeschool Assignments (and Use It to Improve Learning Fun)
Wondering how to grade homeschool assignments? If so, you’re not alone!
It’s easy to get overwhelmed when it comes to homeschool grading. But, the good news is that it doesn’t have to be hard, scary, or frustrating!
Get tips and ideas on how to grade homeschool work plus discover how you can use it to boost your learning adventures at home.
Grading Homeschool Assignments Doesn’t Have to Be Stressful or Tricky
How do you make sure that you remain impartial while offering assignment grades to your child while homeschooling?
And how do you correct them with compassion while still being honest about their progress?
Grading assignments, creating progress reports, and homeschool transcripts are some of the undesirable yet crucial roles we have to do while homeschooling. These tasks don’t have to take too much of your time or energy.
Here are some smart ideas that you can use to grade assignments while homeschooling your child.
Is Grading Right for Your Homeschool?
To be honest, I’m not a big fan of grades.
I was an intense, driven student who often worked to get the top grades, not worrying about if I was actually learning or not. I could easily spew out information for a quiz or test – and then move on to the next assignment without much retention. I learned how to play the public education game 😉
Although this approach worked for me (I graduated top ten in my big high school and went on to a competitive college and earned a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree), I really wouldn’t recommend it – lots of anxiety and busy work.
When I started homeschooling my 5 boys, I knew that I wanted to provide a different type of learning atmosphere – one filled with positivity, growth mindset, and creativity. For a number of years, I pushed aside grades and focused on the process and experiences.
And then we entered upper middle school and high school 😳
Why Grading Can Be Important In Your Homeschool
Homeschooling is a flexible way of imparting knowledge to your kids. So, why bother grading what they do?
There are several reasons for grading assignments and keeping records while homeschooling:
- You may be homeschooling for high school (or college). Records (including transcripts) are part of the requirement to assess whether your child meets the required admission standards.
- You may want to document your child’s progress over time. Documenting progress will gauge whether they are doing well depending on your goals.
- It also highlights strengths, as well as weak areas, and helps you readjust your learning goals.
- Some students also thrive with grades and view them as motivation to work harder and better.
My educational and professional background is in psychology and counseling. I never learned “how to grade” (although I watched my parents – both teacher- do a lot of it!).
Here are some of the things that I’ve learned over the years from doing my own research and for our homeschool experiences:
7 Helpful Tips on How to Grade Homeschool Assignments
1. Set specific goals and objectives for each subject
You can start by setting up a grading rubric to act as guidance for every grade you’ll be teaching.
For instance, if you’re teaching a literature subject, you can assign a grading system depending on the number of grammatical errors the assignment contains. If the assignment has no grammatical errors, you can assign grade A. If there are too many errors, the grade keeps dropping up to a certain point where the kid may be required to redo the assignment.
Other possible things to consider as being part of your grading rubric can be:
- Time taken to finish the assignment
- The level of accuracy according to topic
2. Do not push kids to earn 100%
Repeat after me: It’s okay if your kids don’t get a 100%!
Your kids don’t need to earn everything in a test to prove that they’ve mastered the concept. Even in public schools, students aren’t expected to earn 100% in every subject.
Just set a certain target – say 80%- as the minimum expected grade to show that the kid has mastered what they’ve learned in a certain subject. If they go below this stage, you can either give them extra credit assignments or do a retake.
3. Give assignments for what you’ve taught
It wouldn’t be fair to test your kids for concepts they haven’t learned yet. This type of thing would only serve to undermine their confidence and learning capabilities.
You can ask them to do research on something and then ask a quiz about what they’ve learned. The primary aim of grading homeschooling assignments is to test kids on what they have already learned, not what they will learn in the future.
4. Grade objectively, but be positive about it
You can set out certain goals to accomplish within the academic year. One of the main reasons for giving out quizzes and assignments is to gauge whether you’re still in line to fulfill those goals.
With this in mind, ensure that you grade all the assignments honestly and without bias. Don’t give your kids false hope by offering them higher grades than they deserve. If they fail in a certain subject, practice positive reinforcement and growth mindset talk, instead of making them feel like failures.
Work with your student to understand what went wrong and work together to correct the issue before giving them a new test.
5. Keep the best grade
If your child has to take many tests (and possible retakes), keep a record of the best grade they attained. There’s no need for an external evaluator to know that the child took a test three times before they got it right.
In some circumstances, failing a test can be a good thing, especially if the subject is too technical. Every time they repeat the assignment, your child has to study and practice the same concepts again. This type of activity ensures that your child can better understand because they’re forced to learn everything several times.
6. Include constructive feedback as you discover how to grade homeschool assignments
Whenever you grade a homeschooling assignment, offer constructive feedback for your student to consider.
Maybe your child missed an important point in the test? Or maybe there’s something you feel can help prepare them better for the next assignment?
After grading, go through the assignment together and make corrections where they went wrong (or could improve) before filing it away. If they did well, congratulate them and offer a detailed description of what made you offer the grade you did.
7. Use a standard grading scale
There are several grading scales available and it can be tough choosing a specific one for your homeschool.
The rule of thumb would be to follow your state’s requirements if you’re homeschooling for high school or college. This step would make it easier for evaluators to understand how your kid performed when they’re assessing them for progress or admission.
Following your local public school’s grading system can also be a good idea. You may not follow their curriculum but since your child needs to learn everything others learn in public school as well, why not copy their grading system?
If you’re grading elementary, make it simple and straightforward. For instance, you can use a check system – satisfactory of unsatisfactory- to gauge whether the child mastered the subject requirements or not. At this stage, the kids are building their knowledge foundation and too many tests and detailed grading system may undermine this process.
Example of a Good Grading System for Middle and High School Homeschool Students
The grading system is based on percentage. 100% means that the student answered all the answers correctly. 80% would be the required minimum to pass.
- Daily work – 50% (includes attendance, participation, etc.)
- Quizzes – 20% (Could be daily or weekly quizzes to test mastery of section or specific concepts)
- Projects – 10% (practical projects in the course)
- Final Test -10% (Final assignment to test mastery of subject)
If your student doesn’t meet the required minimum grade, you can offer them extra credit practice assignments or projects to cover the difference.
Wishing You Success as You Discover How to Grade Homeschool Assignments
I think the biggest thing to remember when thinking about grading is why you started homeschooling and what you’d like that experience to be like for your kids.
These tips and ideas can help you get started with how to grade homeschool assignments. Ultimately, you get to decide what grading will look like in your homeschool. You can customize it to fit your needs, hopes, and goals.
What questions do you have about how to grade homeschool assignments?
Do you have any tips or ideas for others on how to grade homeschool assignments? Please let me know in the comments area at the bottom of this post!