Do Colleges Accept Mom Grades?

How will you assign grades when homeschooling high school? More importantly, you want to know if colleges will accept homeschool grades. You know the permanent record is looming and wonder what that means for how you homeschool.

You’ll see that there is a very official style of grading that lends itself perfectly to how homeschoolers operate, and I will teach you how to avoid the biggest mistake when assigning grades. Let’s dive in.

All through homeschooling grade school, I didn’t really assign grades. I marked math papers, sure, I corrected grammar work as we sat at the desk together, I asked for spelling corrections on simple papers, but didn’t keep note of grades anywhere.

I really worried that assigning grades in our homeschool high school was going to change everything. Each subject would be ‘on the record’, and I would have to figure a complicated grading rubric for each subject.

When our eldest was in ninth grade, he took biology. The solid text came complete with test booklet. I did my homeschooling roots proud and did not give the tests as written, I wrote my own! Let me back up. Each day that fall, we would meet under the trees in our yard and read the text together. Well, that is how I remember it. We probably only met a few times for me to awkwardly go over the chapter highlights from the text and then send him off to read. I was so concerned that the text was over his head and didn’t trust the process. I wrung my hands over writing that test. I provided very unclear direction on how to study and also provided a very unclear test. What a flop! He got a D. I realized that I deserved the grade. The grade of F! I went over the test with him, had him restudy the parts he missed. Then I gave the test again. A!

I then and there developed a standard of grading in our homeschool high school that served us all though high school for these types of occurrences. This assures that colleges would accept our homeschool grades. My method was this: does the student do the work asked of them? They get an A. Does the student have to be dragged kicking and screaming to provide what you ask of them? They get a B. You see, there’s just no way around providing what you ask. The trick is being honest with yourself about whether what you are asking is reasonable. It is unreasonable to ask your student to provide work based on an imaginary standard of what you ‘think’ high schools would expect.

This grading standard was used when assigning grades for subjects that I completely taught myself. They corrected the work until it was up to the standard. For outsources subjects, I assigned the grade myself as well, considering the difficulty and load of work in comparison of what our particular homeschool would have taught. This, I found, is an official type of grading – standards based grading. This system provides a more accurate reflection of the student’s achievement independent of the difficulty of the work assigned (or the ability of the test writer).

What do colleges make of this? I knew down deep that these Mommy Grades were not what colleges were looking at. They do accept these grades, yes. And, certainly, GPA still plays a role in qualifying a student for admittance and scholarships. But there is something even more important. Colleges put much more weight on standardized tests and extracurricular activities, especially activities with leadership roles.

So, keep your expectations reasonable and clear when assigning work to your new high school student. Fairly evaluate their efforts. And, watch your teen flourish with confidence as they realize that the effort is worth as much as the outcome. Colleges will accept homeschool grades, especially when you communicate the efforts your student took to attain them. That is where course descriptions come in. More about those in a later article! Best wishes!

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