This is a very tricky topic in homeschooling. Generally speaking, homeschoolers don’t need to be “graded,” as grades are a means of communication between school and home, and between a teacher and two dozen or more students when one-to-one feedback is impractical in a school setting. However, the institutions with which we must interact are familiar with grades as a meter stick, and expect us to produce them.
As Delaware homeschoolers, instances where we might need to produce a report card include:
- Obtaining a Good Student Discount from your auto insurance company
- Qualifying for state-paid Driver’s Education
- Registering for courses with prerequisites at a community college or university while still in high school
- Returning to public school before high school
Many homeschoolers educate subjects to the point of mastery, rather than simply moving from topic to topic on a set schedule as a school must do regardless of whether the students have grasped the material. If your child has put forth excellent effort and has mastered the subject material, a grade of A is perfectly fair. Be realistic. If your child drags his or her feet, never puts forth best effort, and only accomplishes the bare minimum, consider carefully whether that A is warranted– remember the people who interact with you, your grade report, and your child might be forming their initial opinion about the validity of homeschool grades overall, and your decisions can affect not only your own child, but other homeschoolers.
Be able to describe, if asked, how a grade on a grade report was established. For some homeschoolers, a traditional book of exams, homework, papers, and assignments and a 90-100 grading scale is familiar and easy to deal with. For many homeschoolers, though, evaluation takes place more through Socratic dialogue, long-term observation, dinner table discussions, and application of learning across new situations. This is actually a fair thing to say; just be prepared to explain your criteria if asked, including giving some examples of what formed exemplary work (such as giving a lucid presentation at a 4-H fair, writing a short story about a time period in history, or creating a video–whatever notable thing your student did). Many homeschoolers never actually assign a numeric or letter grade to an assignment or paper during the school process, because our students are receiving thorough feedback directly from us on a continuous basis, and revising their work until it meets or exceeds expectations! However you choose to translate your child’s achievements onto a grade report, take some time to reflect on how you will respond to a question regarding how these grades were assigned.
In Delaware, report cards are not required unless you need one for a specific reason such as one of the reasons listed above, or you simply don’t want another argument about homeschooling with your extended family. (“Look! She has a report card! We’re respectable! Let’s eat!”) But on a general quarterly basis, there is no agency or authority requiring one from you, and presumably, you already know how your child is performing and don’t need to communicate this to yourself.
However, if you find yourself in need of a report card, or simply want one, the good news is that you can have one in a matter of minutes. You can simply create one using any word processor or spreadsheet program– include your child’s name, subjects studied, grades achieved, attendance recorded, GPA (if high school) the school year, grade level, and a place for you to sign it. You don’t need to get fancy. If you are not comfortable creating your own, you can download one of our templates (more to come) or a template from elsewhere on the web– there are many. A report card is a relatively simple document, as it only records the grades and standing for the current academic year.
More links will be added over time!
If you need a template and can use Adobe Acrobat or another PDF editor, feel free to use this template. It will allow you to fill out a simple 2-page form and produce a report card for any use you might have.