Tracking grades helps me have a record to look back on to see how the children have progressed in each subject.
In some states keeping track of grades is mandatory, however many states (such as ours) require only attendance records and mention nothing about grades. It’s up to you if want to record your child’s grades. Some parents use a portfolio which may include samples of their child’s best work, photos of projects, a list of field trips, and a list of any community service work their child has done. Other parents record numerous tests, daily grades, project grades, and so forth.
I don’t recommend grading every piece of paper your child completes, nor do I recommend putting a large amount of emphasis on the grade for each test or project. It’s more important to encourage a child to do their best, follow directions, and use neatness. For this reason I rarely discuss grades for individual projects or quizzes with the children. After a written test they immediately want to know how many they got wrong, but this is typical for everyone, no matter our age.
I keep track of grades from tests, oral quizzes and project grades for most subjects.Then at the end of the quarter every subject gets a daily work grade which is usually decided based on these three factors:
1. Completed daily assignments on-time
3. Followed Instructions
For subjects like PE where there typically isn’t any written assignments I grade the children on:
1. Participation (always trying their best)
2. Attitude (willingness to do what is asked with minimal complaining)
3. Following Instructions
These same factors can be applied to Art or Music as well. Don’t be too easy or too hard on your children. Think about their work from an outsider’s perspective. Did they really put forth effort and try their best?
What do I Use to Track Grades?
Other families use an app like Homeschool Helper, which can be really helpful if you have a tablet or smart phone. (I’ve used it only briefly, but I liked what I saw).
I use a spreadsheet software called LibreOffice Calc (it’s very similar to Microsoft Excel). Any type of spreadsheet software should work. When I first open a new document I rename the tabs at the bottom my children’s names. Then each child has their own page.
Next I list the subjects across the top and simply copy/paste the subjects to the other children (modifying any that may different for a child in a different grade). After that it’s simple to list the date on the far left and each graded item under the subject column. Be as specific as you want to be. I’ve found giving more details helps me when I look back a few quarters later.
As you can see above, I put the final quarter grades in blue. For the next quarter I just skip a few lines and then keep going. It’s much easier to keep all of one year on a page, plus if you name the document Grades 2014.2015 or something similar you can easily find the year you’re wanting later on.
I HIGHLY recommend putting a copy of your child’s grades in a cloud storage place such as Google Drive or similar. Computer hard drives go bad, lightning strikes, and all sorts of mishaps can happen. A backup of their grades in a cloud storage will allow you to retrieve their grades from any computer no matter where you are, all you’ll need to do is log-in to Google.
While a report card isn’t a NEED for most homeschool families it sure has its benefits.
#1 Our children have answers ready for the inevitable question of, “What did you make on your report card?”
#2 Local rewards for As!
Get a free doughnut at Krispy Kreme for each A (up to 6 for free). Get a free Happy Meal at select McDonald’s for straight As. Get a free game of laser tag at Lazer Zone for straight As. I’m sure there are other places that give rewards for As, but these are the ones I know of.
Get your own report cards.
Get your own achievement certificates.
Do you do things differently? Have any suggestions or comments? Please leave a comment.