If you are familiar with the Charlotte Mason method of education, then you know that she was not into grading her students. Her philosophy in giving grades consisted of two words ‘acceptable' or ‘unacceptable'. How she determined what was either was based on the individual child and their personal ability in the assignment. She always required their best and only their best. If the assignment proved to be a child's best, it would receive an ‘acceptable'. On the other hand, if the submitted work proved not to be their best ability, it received an ‘unacceptable' and was expected to be redone until an ‘acceptable' was received.
This concepts makes so much sense to me, especially in the elementary grades, as it raises the bar for the children to apply themselves and gives their own work as what is expected. This was very crucial in our home, where one child was a natural student and another was a struggling learner. Comparing their work would have broken the struggling learner, while creating pride in the other. It was so easy to say, “This isn't the best work you have done. You need to fix these areas and let me check it again.” If the work was their best, an ‘A' went on the paper, for ‘acceptable'.
As my children grew from elementary to high school, I knew a different system was necessary to keep appropriate records for those who desired to have higher education. In our home we have a child who is a natural ‘A' at their best and another child that is a natural ‘B' at their best, not to say that at times a different grade is given in unique situations where the work was either under done or pushed past the norm. I never gave an ‘F' to my children, or anything under a ‘C', because they have grown to understand that giving their best is what is expected and accepted and they strive to reach that in their work.
In the High School grading system, this is what the letters represent:
- A – 90-100
- B – 80-89
- C – 70-79
- D – 60-69
- F – 59 or below
- + is anything between X7-X0, so a 97-100 would be an A+
- – is anything between X0-X3, so a 90-93 would be an A-
- just a letter would be anything between X4-X6, so a 94-96 would be an A
Through the year, I would pay attention to key aspects of each subject and would give them a grade based on our grading system. Here is the key aspects that we found important through the high school grades:
- 25% for attitude and assignment deadline
- 50% for assignments quality
- 25% for final assignments
Here is an example of how I would assign a grade to a child:
- What was the child's attitude for the subject and did the child respect the deadlines given. For this example I will say that 90% of the time the child had a good attitude and was on time with their deadlines.
- I would give the child a grade for their overall assignment quality, paying attention to what I know is their ‘best'. For this example, I will say a 95%.
- Each subject has a final assignment, that consist of a project that would require at least 8-10 hours of their time. For instance, for Geology they had to pick a location perfect to explain the creationist argument of the formation of that site. They would need to create a powerpoint presentation and publicly (with around 3-4 family friends) they will have to go through their presentation and prove to those attending that they in fact understand the creation evidence for the site they choose. I would be grading the content of the powerpoint, the public speaking, the ability to answer questions and the amount of evidence they used to prove their point. I will say that for this example the child was given a 94%
- I would combine all of these grades: 90%, 95%, 95% (counts twice because it makes up half of the grade) and 94% – totally 374 points, divided by 4 to find the average. That makes the overall score 93.5%, rounded up to 94% overall average. The final letter grade would be an A.
I have found that this grading system works perfectly for the student and wonderfully for the teacher, as it is less demanding on grading each individual paper and allows each student to feel confident in their skills.
What do you find to be the most challenging aspect of homeschooling?