When I sat down to plan out our homeschooled son’s high school years, I was pretty lost. There was a lot of great information – but it was scattered all over the internet. As my brain got bogged down with planning, testing, grading, and transcripts, I wanted to crawl in a corner and pretend he was still in diapers!
Unfortunately when his six-foot frame came asking for food – again, I knew I had no choice. 🙂
Mr. Robinson of Robinson Curriculum says (and I’m paraphrasing), “the best way to learn a subject is to teach it.” So as I teach myself how to plan our high school years, I’ll be sharing what I learn with you. 🙂
Grading in High School
When you first start thinking about homeschool, whether elementary or high school, you might wonder if grading is even necessary. Depending on which state you’re from it might not be, but it’s good feedback for you and your student – to show you both what areas they need to work on and what areas they excel in. You can also list grades on high school transcripts (more on that in a few weeks) in order to figure out what their grade point average is.
For our own review purposes we give grades to the kids starting in grade school. Once they reach 7th grade, we change up the grading system a bit. Then it looks something like this:
tests – 25% of grade
regular lessons – 75% of grade
Scenario: During the first quarter of school the student takes 5 tests and 25 regular lessons. His test grades are: 82%, 95%, 100%, 90%, and 88%. We figure out the average (add up all the grades and divide them by 5, because that’s how many tests he took.) and note that he earned a 91% on his tests.
We do the same for his regular lessons and find their average is 94%.
To figure out his final grade, we calculate 91 x .25 (25% for tests) = 22.75 and 94 x .75 (75% for lessons) = 70.5. We add the two together. 22.75 + 70.5 = 93.25. His grade for math is 93%.
We decide what percent of his grade counts for tests or for lessons. You might decide tests are worth more than we did – that’s up to you. 🙂
We follow this procedure for the majority of high school courses. Here are more examples:
tests – 10% of grade
regular lessons – 90% of grade
tests – 18% of grade
quizzes – 27% of grade
regular lessons – 55% of grade
History (We mostly use Robinson Curriculum so we do a lot of reading and essays.) We grade essays based on:
- sentence/essay structure (age appropriate)
First we count all the lines in the essay (older students are required to write longer essays) and then count how many lines contain spelling mistakes, punctuation and capitalization mistakes, etc.
Scenario: If our son wrote a 108 line essay (about four written pages) and 7 lines had spelling mistakes, we would subtract 108 – 7 = 101. Then we would divide 101 by 108 to equal 94% for the spelling portion. We do this for each of the bullet points above, and then take the average grade.
spelling = 94%
punctuation/capitalization = 95%
spacing/neatness = 88%
sentence/essay structure = 90%
93 + 95 + 88 + 90 = 367. Divide 367 by 400 (each of the four sections) and you have 92% for a grade on that particular essay.
Of course these are examples, and how we grade our high schoolers may not be the same way you grade yours. The important thing is to develop a plan on how you’ll grade your student and have it set in place before they start high school. This way you can explain it to them and they’ll know how to proceed.
Click here to find more grading examples.
Planning High School
Step 1: The first part of planning your high schooler’s next four years is by knowing what subjects your state requires. It’s pretty much a given that all states require math, literature, history, etc. but there are a few subjects some states require that others don’t. Get the list and make sure you’re covering each of the subjects needed.
Step 2: The next step depends on where your student plans to be after high school. If your student plans to attend a community college, his transcript plans are going to look different than someone who wants to apply to Harvard.
If your student isn’t sure what their plans are, it’s a good idea to plan for a standard four-year college. If they decide not to go, there’s nothing lost. On the other hand, if they don’t plan to attend college and then change their mind at the last minute, there’s no going back to create a better game plan.
When it came time for us to write our son’s four year high school plan, we used HSLDA’s simple four-year planner form. Remember, this is a planner. You can adjust it along the way as you see fit.
But here’s where it gets tricky. To really plan well for high school, it’s good to know what colleges expect/want to see on a student’s transcript. Your student might really love literature, but there’s no point in taking seven literature classes throughout high school and only two math classes if colleges are looking for a specific amount of credits in each course. We’ll cover that subject more next week. . .
Join us for the next post in our Homeschooling in High School series where we discuss transcripts, credits, and how knowing this will help you better plan your teen’s high school years.
What resources did you use to plan out your teen’s high school years? What part of planning it out intimidates you the most?
Homeschooling in High School Series:
Part 1: Grading & Planning
Part 2: Explaining High School Credits
Part 3: Defining Fine Arts, Electives & Extra Curricular Activities
Part 4: How to Prepare A High School Transcript
Part 5: High School Testing
Part 6: Earn Credits with CLEP
Part 7: Earn Credits with DSST/DANTES
Part 8: Earn Credits with Advanced Placement (AP)
Part 9: Earn Credits with PSEO + HSLDA Transcript Service Giveaway!