View Full Version : Grading Essay and Long Answer Work

03-24-2014, 09:56 AM
If we don't go the "online school enrollment" route, I will have to grade DS's work myself. However, I am nervous about marking anything beyond T/F, multi-choice and short answer questions. How do I know if he has written a good essay, or gotten all the correct information in a long test answer? He will be finishing his Freshman year, starting his Sophomore year when we take him out of school in the next few weeks, so there will be a high expectation as to how comprehensive his writing will be.

I am soooo tempted to enroll him in Oak Meadow, but I want him to do Math U See (he finds it approachable) and his stepfather has a great Python syllabus ready and waiting for him. This of course means DS couldn't do the Math and programming he wants to do as I am sure OM demands enrolled students to take on every subject.

I will be working at some point, once my residency comes through and I can apply for jobs (and actually GET one!), so I won't be available to go over things. My hubby is a writer and will be on hand to help when needed, but isn't a History or English buff - he's the Math/Science person.

Any advice on grading work and how easy it is if I have to do it at the end of a long day at work? (LOL)


03-24-2014, 10:27 AM
I would try to find something that provides a grading rubric included as part of the TM.

03-24-2014, 10:34 AM
You enroll by the course for Oak Meadow High School. Tuition at Oak Meadow: Homeschooling Curriculum, Resources, and Support (http://www.oakmeadow.com/school/tuition.php)

03-24-2014, 11:13 AM
For me, I dont use a grading rubric. I am pretty relaxed . . if you arent going for a certified diploma, you can make school be anything you want. For some things, we just discuss. I admit, we dont do much analysis because both of us are weak at it and guess what, i've never needed lit analysis in my life as a database analyst.

For his written work, I just talk about what I liked and what could have been done better. I just dont grade. My goal is continuous improvement, not a letter or number to stamp as a sign of approval. No matter how well he writes, you figure out what he needs to work on and give him chances to do that.

I also think high school is an ok time to start specializing. Does your son have any idea what he wants to do with his life? How can you best prepare him? If he has a specific interest, you can go light on whatever topic HE hates, and give him more time to pursue HIS passions to give him a start on HIS life.

There are alternative schools which dont use grades and let kids have more control over their lives.

just another view . ..

03-24-2014, 05:54 PM
I just wouldn't grade. Why do you have to grade?

I would just provide feedback as needed. That doesn't have to be in grade or point form.

03-24-2014, 09:31 PM
(note, Farrar used to be an english teacher . . .)

I was thinking more, though - you are probably thinking your child will read a book and there will be a test with the book which requires an essay answer that you have to grade. But homeschooling isnt like that. You can read the book too and discuss it with him, or just ask him to tell you about what he read and then ask him questions. Make it an interesting conversation. The point of essay tests is to see if your son has learned the material and can analyze it in interesting ways. You dont have to do that in writing.

and homeschool curriculums just arent written that way. But the best learning experience is just talking about it. i hated history too, but my son and I have talked a lot about the parts that interest him and the parts that upset him, and I've caught him engaging other homeschooled teens in political conversations because he's engaged with the subject

03-25-2014, 08:41 AM
Thanks for the advice, girls. As a former English teacher myself (:D to Farrar), it's more a case of wanting to ensure my son, who doesn't enjoy essay writing, is on the right track with his compositions. And although we have homeschooled before, and I critiqued his writing previously, it was when he was young enough for such a skill to still be developing. Now, at age 14, nearly 15, he still dislikes writing and is balking at the idea of developing the necessary analytical skills as he doesn't see the point. Eg, two weeks ago he had to write an essay of one to 1.5 pages' length, and after one three-sentence paragraph, he said he couldn't think of anything else to say.

I know his Asperger's gets in the way of this skill, even when he is writing about things he really enjoys, and I don't want him to become totally discouraged.

If he had an outside person critiquing and discussing his writing, it may make things easier for him in the learning process.

03-25-2014, 09:27 AM
I used Bravewriter's Help with High School with my teen son and it worked really well. Its written to the student and breaks things down well step by step. The first half is about finding your voice and the second half is about a more academic, organized essay. She also has online classes.

Analysis is also not my son's strength. We did the first half of the curriculum last year, and I was frustrated with one exercise - he wrote a description of a game where I expected him to write what about the game engaged him, what it meant to him, how he felt while playing it - she said its common for boys to write descriptions instead of feelings and its fine.