When I began teaching my children I never even considered giving them grades. After all, I have a pretty good idea of what they know and don't know. One of the main purposes of grades are to communicate how well a child is doing in school. When the teacher and parent are different people, grades are a very valuable communication device.
In addition, to letting guardians know how their child is doing, grades also serve to rank kids among their peers. One question I have received from people not intimately familiar with homeschooling is "How do you know your children are where they are supposed to be?" This is another way of asking the ranking question.
What's important to me is not so much how my children stack up against their peers, but rather that they are happy and being challenged to their full potential. If my child couldn't read at grade level, it would be ridiculous for me to give him grade level material and a corresponding low grade. Instead of helping my child to read, giving a low grade would effectively serve to take away any possible motivation he could have to improve his reading skills. On the flip side, if my child could read way above grade level, it would be equally ridiculous for me to give him grade level work and an A+ mark. My time would be much better spent finding interesting books at an appropriate level.
To me knowing how to challenge and motivate my students by introducing appropriate materials is much more important than how the student ranks when compared with peers. Reading, writing and math are primary focus core subjects. Each school day, all three of my children are challenged with interesting materials in each of these categories at their own levels. We don't give grades and don't plan to anytime soon.
Passing Grade - Barefoot Hippie Girl
To Grade or Not to Grade - Every Bed of Roses
School Without Grades or Tests - One Magnificent Obsession
4 Surprising Consequences of Grading - Navigating by Joy
This post is linked to:
Living and Learning at Home