View Full Version : Grading work?

08-20-2013, 09:38 AM
Do you grade your kid's work or mark answers as wrong and make them correct? Or do you work beside them so that all their finished work is correct from the start?

We've always worked beside DS, making sure he understands everything as he goes along. But now in middle school I'm starting to feel the pressure that he needs to become more responsible for his work, particularly when he's being stubborn and insisting on doing things his way instead of the right way. On the one hand, I don't want to stifle creativity or out of the box thinking, but on the other hand, I feel like being able to follow instructions AS IS really is a skill, and maybe one he isn't doing so well at. Somewhere there's a balance, but I feel as though I haven't found it this year. It's a transition year for sure and I feel like some kind of change is needed. I'm on the fence whether red pencil marks on finished work is the right kind of change to shock him into letting go of some control.

08-20-2013, 09:50 AM
For the most part, my kids have done their work on their own after any necessary "instruction." (Much less instruction from me now that they're older, though.) Then I would go over it when they finished. We shoot for mastery, so it's expected that they correct it. They either do this on their own or ask for help. That's when I spend more time with them on the subject if needed. It also lets me know where they need work and where they are proficient and can move on. If I set with them as they work through everything, I wouldn't be quite sure what it is exactly they know or can do. My goal has always been independent learning; it's what they'll need to learn to be successful adults.

08-20-2013, 09:54 AM
I dont grade anything. we also dont do much 'gradeable' curriculum, i think? workbook type stuff gets corrected (by me, i mean) and reviewed. Papers and essays get redone until I find them acceptable. Raven is not getting graded on anything yet - sometimes he corrects his own dictation and spelling tests and sometimes i do, with him there, depending on how he feels that day.

08-20-2013, 12:57 PM
The smaller ones we work beside and correct as they go along. The older ones we review (or they review depending) and they are expected to correct any answers

I don't use grades as I don't really see the reason for them in our house. Recently my 7 year old asked me if I'd still love him if he made a C...or maybe it was a D? I have no idea where that came from since he's never been given a grade in his life.

08-20-2013, 01:52 PM
I have to say, though, reading about all the classical homeschoolers talking about college and transcripts is intimidating - they all have credits and grades. I have no intention - i have attended a private school and a public college which did not give grades, and I really dont believe grading a single child is valid

08-20-2013, 02:32 PM
I don't think I will be grading this year. Last year with k12 it was either pass or fail. K12 is set up for independent work, so even my 6 year old did work independently that was later reviewed/corrected by myself.

08-20-2013, 03:39 PM
I have to say, though, reading about all the classical homeschoolers talking about college and transcripts is intimidating - they all have credits and grades. I have no intention - i have attended a private school and a public college which did not give grades, and I really dont believe grading a single child is valid

This might be part of my stress. I'm assuming that DS will want to attend one of the small (expensive) northeast colleges, and the competition is crazy high. Without going the prep school route for middle/high school, I have to admit I'm worried about how to get him there. I grew up in California with the big state university system, and this is a totally different game.

But on the other hand, I agree that grading him seems ridiculous. He's only 10; I have more time than I think. But still...some days it doesn't feel that way. And some days he just drives me crazy with his need to control every situation, and my reaction is to try to make him follow the rules already! even though it never works. lol

08-20-2013, 04:25 PM
Remember that test scores and strong projects or specialized skills can count for a lot, too!

08-20-2013, 04:51 PM
I'm not worrying about grading for a while. We are only just making the switch to homeschooling from brick & mortar school, and I want to drop that stress ball for a while.

That does not mean that we are entirely free of "grades" right now. Teaching Textbooks (our math choice, which the girls love) has a gradebook which is automatically populated when the kids do their lessons or quizzes on the computer. I do go through after they complete a lesson and delete any they had wrong. We then review the problem and they work it again. However, I told them that while I won't do this for their quizzes (I want some indication later of progress) I am interested in WHY they got it wrong. They have yet to miss one due to not understanding the material -- their mistakes on quizzes so far have been due to transposing numbers, adding instead of subtracting (not paying attention to the sign indicated), and other oopses.

One of my reasons for choosing to go with continual assessments and not giving "grades" is my eldest's slow processing speed -- she simply cannot regurgitate new material soon after it is covered. Instead I'm testing the kids informally on material that was covered or introduced at least 2 weeks previously. This allows my DD's brain to get it properly filed for later retrieval (which last year's history tests at the private school proved to be necessary and effective for her). It also gives me a good idea what the kids are actually retaining, and what still puzzles them.

Sounds like we've been at this a while, doesn't it? Not quite the case -- we've been working on history, math, and a few odds and ends over the summer, and now (in August) we are ramping up efforts and getting into more as we get familiar with our curricula choices and figure this out. We are progressing largely by feel, it seems.

But this method seems to be working for us: don't stress testing, assess as we go along and review/do a different way any troublesome material, occasionally give them quizzes to check retention. My youngest always tested well and likes quizzes and tests, so they are fun for her when we do some. My eldest, meanwhile, gets to drop her anxiety over how she will perform and is starting to see the infrequent quizzes as a light review and a puzzle to solve. Mom, after all, doesn't care about grades, just comprehension, and our state doesn't require any tests or grades.

08-20-2013, 05:18 PM
We are just coming out of public school for many reasons, but one is DD's significant perfectionism/anxiety surrounding school. I have no intention of grading anything anytime soon. I do tend to work alongside her.

I wonder about grades in high school, though, as they relate to college admissions. I truly wouldn't know HOW to grade lots of things. If it's not a right or wrong kind of thing, like math or spelling, I'm sure I'd end up giving her A's across the board. I mean, in my opinion her work deserves that...but will anyone take a bunch of A's seriously, you know, from her mom? And as for those right or wrong subjects, does it count if I was working with her, so she got answers right she might have gotten wrong on her own?

Frankly, I am so annoyed at the "assessment"-based culture of our education system right now that grades are the last thing I want to think about. But I do want my kids to have as many college options open to them as possible.

08-20-2013, 05:45 PM
I guess I should clarify. I don't necessarily assign a grade to much of what they do, but I do check their work. (Although now they check some of their own work--I still look over how they did.) It's more a way to gauge their learning. In terms of assigning a letter grade, I agree with Lee Binz about mastery learning. If the student has corrected (on his/her own) their mistakes and have mastered the material, it should be considered a 100% or A, if you are into assigning grades.

Stella M
08-20-2013, 05:59 PM
I don't grade because I am a tough, mean grader. And that kind of perfectionism isn't good for my kids. Maths is graded, but by the computer, so it's disinterested grading and so has value. I'm looking for mastery - so for other subjects we simply discuss what's correct/what needs more work...For high school, what's working for us is to outsource some classes so that dd can have the experience of being taught/graded by others. We don't have to worry about transcripts though...