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2 questions about high school

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Forgive me if someone asked this before--


1. How do you guys grade your children--numbers or letters (for their transcripts--for college someday)?


2. If I teach my son a half year of something, other than Core subjects, is that considered 1/2 an elective? (I'm in NY State).





I put both a letter grade and the percentage on the transcript. So, for example, the science courses on his transcript thus far show:


Honors Earth-Space Science . . . . . . 83% / B

Science in Popular Culture (w/lab) . . 92% / A



There are different ways of counting credits. Some folks count hours and award either a full or a half credit based on how many hours a student has put into a subject. (This seems to work best for things that don't necessarily have a set curriculum.) The other option is to determine how much material would normally be covered in a full year of a certain subject and award either a full or a half credit depending on how much the student studies/accomplishes.


I've done it both ways, depending on the subject, usually. For courses that are based on a text designed to cover a full year of material, I give a full credit for finishing the text, even if my student does it in less than a full year. I design a lot of my own courses, based in part on researching what a typical high school class in that subject includes. And I consider finishing whatever requirements I set for that course the same as finishing a text. Finish, and you get the credit, no matter how long it takes you to do the work.


On the other hand, my kids have done / are doing some courses that aren't dependent on a text or a set of topics or requirements set in stone. (Music is a good example.) For those, I find counting hours a handy tool.


The number of hours that justifies a credit is also debated. The traditional Carnegie unit considers (as I recall) 120 hours of instruction to fulfill a credit. A typical school year in this country nowadays consists of about 180 days. So, I figure the number of hours for a full credit falls somewhere in between those two numbers.


I calculate that 45 minutes per day, 180 days per year equals 135 hours. So, that's my standard for courses when hours matter.


But the truth is that it's all pretty flexible, and different homeschoolers each have their own ways of doing things.

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I use numbers. The grade is % correct. I average those grades and turn in the % average to my umbrella program. Our transcripts are issued by the umbrella with a letter grade. I think the official transcripts have the grading scale at the bottom.


For half year courses:

1. Some are given a half year when the materials are completed.

Example: my 12th grader is doing BJU Economics. He is almost finished and will get a half credit at the end of this semester.


2. Some are given a half credit when a minimum number of hours has been completed.

Example: my 12th grader needed another half credit of "fine art". Mainly, he is watching the art videos at Khan Academy and keeping a notebook. We are keeping tract (somewhat) of time spent and I will give him a half credit when he reaches 75 hours. Field trips to art galleries will count! And, I'll give him a few other written assignments for a grade.

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I'm just using letter grades for transcripts -- some subjects (such as math and science) are very black-and-white: You got 92% on a math test. Others are more subjective -- Even if two teachers agree than an essay is an "A" paper, one might call it 95% and one might call it 94 or 96. Numbers don't mean as much, because papers are graded qualitatively rather than quantitatively. I usually just give a letter grade rather than a specific number on qualitatively graded assignments.


Rather than having numbers for some subjects and just letters for other subjects, when I make my summary transcript, I just include the letters (with plus/minus for high/low part of the grading scale for quantitative subjects e.g. B+ or A-).



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I dont do grades. I'd once heard that homeschool grades are meaningless since there is no class to be graded against. Some private schools dont do grades, either. and of course, i plan to send him to community college, which is not picky. If a school asked for grades, i would just make it up on the spot . . .

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