Monday, March 1, 2010

I'm Suppose to Give Grades?

The question posed this week over at the TOS Crew blog is "Do you give grades?" 

In a word, "Nope!"

I find it difficult enough to keep track of all the paper we generate. I am still schooling elementary level kids. Okay, my 13 year old is now in sixth seventh grade and the time is drawing near rather fast when I'll have to start keeping track for a transcript. But for I don't keep grades.

"Why ever not?" you may be wondering....

If you are not teaching your child (i.e. they are in public or private school taught by teachers that are not you), how are you to know if your children get the material? Why by their grades, of course. If your child receives an 'A' on their course work, you know they understand it very well. If they get a 'B', you know they get most of it. And it goes on from there.

I am my children's teacher. If they do not understand the material, I know. I correct it. I teach it. I help them learn it. I know if they get it or not. I see no need for grades at this level. At least for us. I teach to mastery. If they miss eight out of ten spelling words then they obviously  need to keep working on them - so we do. If they miss multiple math problems, then they need to either redo them (because they were rushing like crazy and just slapping down answers) or I need to reteach the information so they understand it.

Since my oldest is getting closer to high school level work and colleges like to see those pesky transcripts, I know that I will need to start revising this "no grade" policy of mine. However, I still plan to teach to mastery so really - will they just be arbitrary?

I remember being very tied up with grades as a child. I still vividly recall the day I received my first 'C.' I was ten years old and in fourth grade. It was in math. I never did like math from that day forward. I didn't really like that teacher either. I also remember what my mother said to me after I went crying to my room upon handing her my report card..."Did you try your hardest? Then that's all that matters."

For my kids, grades aren't attached to anything they do. I always want them to try their hardest - always. Overall, we do not use grades and I like it like that.


  1. Great coverage of the topic. There are so many pros and cons. Some grade according to participation. "Attend" to class subjects with full attention, participate with any teacher-mom requests and then get an A. If homeschoolers work for mastery, would that mean we always can give A's in the end?

  2. Amen! Great thoughts!
    Glad you liked my concert pics. We did have a neat Meet & Greet experience. :)

  3. I never gave grades until high school, and then only because I had to.


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