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If you live in one of the liberal homeschooling states like I do, you are not actually required to keep track of your child's grades. I am obsessive about keeping track of my daughter's grades, however, because I believe they are a measure of her progress. It also gives her a goal to reach. I believe children should have academic goals and achieving good grades is one of them.
The goals for your child do not have to be huge, especially if they are slow learners. If your child got a C- in English in the first quarter, then help them set a goal for the next quarter to get a C. The quarter after that aim for a C+. Finally, in the last quarter have them set a goal to get a B-. Slow and steady wins the race.
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So how do you keep track of your child's grades? First you need either a grade book or a calendar page for each month of the year. I actually create a calendar page for each subject for each month of the year. So, for example, Math has a September, October, November, etc. I have each subject stapled together and I pull it out with the daily assignments so I can stay organized very easily. As I grade my daughters work assignments, I write it on the calendar on the date that I completed it. I mark whether the grade is for a test, quiz, homework or workbook pages, experiment or project, or book report.
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Grading Tests and Quizzes
How do you know what grade to give? Tests and quizzes are easy. Take the total number of questions and divide them by a possible 100. If you have 20 questions and you divide that by 100 you will know that each question is worth five points. So if your child got two questions wrong you would take 10 points off of your total 100 for a grade of 90 percent.
Grading homework or workbook pages is a little more difficult. You are going to have to look at the big picture and decide how much of the work did your child grasp and did they put in effort. If the work is sloppy, or it looks like it was rushed through, you may want to take off a few points and just encourage them to put their best in to the next assignment. If they got some problems wrong, you will definitely want to deduct some points for that, but make sure you take the time to explain why it was wrong. This should hep them avoid getting the same answer wrong on the test, which is worth far more than the homework assignments.
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Grading Projects and Experiments
Projects and experiments are graded based on the instructions given to the students. It is helpful if you put a point value to each of the instructions and have the total equal 100. For example, my daughter had to make an Indian Village. A certain number of points was set aside to make sure she had certain items in the village. Another set of points was for whether she accurately represented the Lenape tribe. The instructions called for a map key with numbers to be placed where each object was. That was worth some points. More points were given for creativity. You get the picture.
Keeping good track of the grades will make report card time a breeze. For more on that topic, please read this article on how to create report cards for homeschooling.