No one can argue the importance of grading papers.  If we don’t grade papers than we don’t know how our student is progressing.  While this may not seem to important in younger years since it is easy to tell if your student is reading well or counting well in years to come as they begin to work more independently it will become the best means of evaluating your student’s progress. 

Just how important IS grading?!  Grading serves as an evaluation of your student and their understanding or memory of the subject matter before them.  Grading tells us how well they are paying attention.  Grading lets the student know where they stand in their understanding of a subject.  It isn’t meant to be a tool of discouragement but a tool of evaluation.  In our school if the grade is poor than we back up and go over the subject again (like in Math).  We do not move forward until the grade is acceptable and understanding is shown.  This is an area where public schools fail because the teacher does not have time to take with each student who does not understand the new concept presented that week.  In areas such as science or history, grading shows us the diligence of the student in their studies.  Low grades in these two areas can mean either a lazy student or too high of a grade level for the student to understand.

With all this said, I didn’t start out as a grading enthusiast.  I merely checked the work right or wrong and than it was corrected.  I didn’t keep a written evaluation but instead opted for the section of homeschool law option D that stated that I could keep “other written credible evidence.”  The problem with that was that I found I was putting in more work writing a written evaluation of all that we had done and that they had accomplished.  This was especially ridiculous of me since I had already put in the work of grading the papers but just hadn’t documented them in a grade book.  Another problem that I ran into was that my children ended up asking me all the time what there grade was even though I was trying to avoid the “grading mentality.”  I found that they wanted to know because it helped them to understand where they were but it also gave them something to talk about to parents and friends, especially those not home schooled. 

So, sign me up for the grade book after all and the quarterly report card because they are really more a blessing than a curse after all!

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