Don’t spend too much time grading your kids papers! Honestly, I can hardly believe I’m writing this but it is true. If you are trying to get your 6th grader to write a perfect essay and so you correct every.single.thing. that you can find, re-write all the sentences, and re-arrange the content YOU ARE DOING TOO MUCH.
The curriculum we use (BJU Press Homeschool) comes with rubriks* to help us grade each writing assignment. There are points for content (Did the students get the point across in the essay? Did the ideas have logical progression?) and points for technical skills (Capitalization and punctuation, etc.) Those 2 scores are combined and a grade is assigned. This way both the student and the teacher know what is expected!
I tried not to take very long on grading. If they got the basic ideas, GREAT! If they did not get the basic idea at all, we talked about it and they would re-write it. Another idea would be to write an essay together as a sample exercise. Then you could teach as you go, know exactly how they are approaching the assignment and emphasize what you are expecting.
If the students missed some spelling, capitalization or punctuation, I made a red mark and they could correct it to raise their grade.
Of course, the rubriks are set up for each assignment and include what needs to be mastered at each grade level. I have heard of some moms who are spending HOURS grading papers. That’s too much!
Homeschool Grading: Let them take ownership!
What about daily work pages? In the ACE system my school used in Junior High, all the answer keys were available when you finished your assigned pages. You had to take your book up to the grading station where only red pens were available. Each student corrected his own work! Facilitators checked behind us in a random fashion to make sure we were honest. Perhaps you could institute a similar program in your homeschool for your older students.
Have you found some other ideas to streamline your homeschool grading? Share your ideas in the comment boxes below or on our Facebook page, Homeschool Christian Mom.
Grading with a Rubric
*What is a rubric? from University of Texas at Austin
A rubric is a scoring guide used to evaluate performance, a product, or a project. It has three parts:
1) performance criteria; 2) rating scale; and 3) indicators.
For example, if an essay is supposed to have a main thesis, 3 main points that support the thesis and a concluding paragraph, the score for including all of these would be 6.
The technical aspects for the essay might be 2 points for each: Did each sentence begin with a capital letter and end with the correct punctuation mark? Were the verbs in the right form? Were the words spelled correctly?
The rating scale then might be:
6-7 points C
8-9 points B
10-12 points total A
I usually my children to correct their errors for extra points. After all, the whole point is to get them to write correctly!
In conclusion, take some of YOUR TIME back and come up with a good grading system of your own. It is worth it!