As a blogger, I may be compensated in some way (either pay, product, or experience) for sharing the post below All opinions are my own. ~Heidi
I have a homeschooling confession to make: in the past, I’ve been horrible at keeping up with my kids grades!
And, by “horrible” I mean that I would get SO behind that I’d have a stack of at least 15 tests to grade at a time! It was ridiculous, really. (I’m going to partly blame it on Gracie because she tends to do a lot of schoolwork up in her room where it’s quiet and she can concentrate. So, she would store them up and bring me a stack of them occasionally.) But, with Ian, it’s all my fault! He’s beside me, practically glued to me, and I still fell behind.
This year, I made a subconscious effort to keep better track of grades and to do so in a more timely manner. I say “subconscious” because I didn’t actually say this aloud (to myself or the kids); but I just knew in the back of my mind that, for my own sanity, this needed to happen.
So, how do I make this work?
#1 – I have trays on top of my desk where, in the past, we’ve stacked tests (and things) that needed to be graded. This year, an item doesn’t go on the tray until AFTER it’s been graded. Rather, Gracie hands me her tests or daily work and it sits on my desk, right in the thick of things, ’til I take the time to correct and score it. Because I can’t stand clutter beside me for very long, this has been a really effective method!
#2 – Instead of keeping my teacher books on the kids’ school shelf, this year, I have a little cubby beside my desk that has all of my teacher manuals, answer keys, etc. in it. So, it’s easy for me to simply roll my chair around and grab just what I need, when I need it. Ian’s subjects are to one side, Gracie’s to the other. I do need to find some book ends, or something more sturdy than the current tissue box, to separate them and make them stand up a bit straighter. (Because, you know, perfectionism!)
#3 – We started this a few years ago, but creating the kids’ schedules by the week, rather than by the year, has been helpful too. Why? Because I know – especially for Ian, since I do his schedule – exactly what to expect each week because it’s fresh on my mind. Normally, I sit down on Monday morning and plan out his schedule for the week, so I know which days reviews are coming up (or anything that I’m going to need to grade). With Gracie, she does her own weekly schedule, but I see her tearing out the quizzes and/or tests that she’ll need for the week ahead of time, and putting them in the pocket of her planner.
#4 – Because of our musical study this year, and things requiring the use of MY computer (aka Apologia’s Biology), Gracie’s been doing a lot more of her schoolwork downstairs. This has been nice, because she can hand me one subject at a time, rather than bombarding me with a big stack of things to go over.
#5 -And the most helpful tool of all has been My Home School Grades. This is NOT a post advertising for this website! It’s just a homeschool mom bragging about how much this site helps me to keep track of my kids grades. But, the secret here is this: it doesn’t do the work for me; I have to do it! The site is really nothing, unless I make a conscious effort to input my kids grades!
Now, if you choose curriculum that the site has already included, lucky you – the schedule of graded events is already included under each subject. I guess I tend to choose the more obscure, because I end up having to enter most of ours. But, that’s ok too. I’m not one who likes to include grades for daily work; so it all works out.
And the best part of all (to me) is the fact that, while I’m adding my kids’ grades each day, the site is automatically calculating total grades, and creating a fine-looking transcript for Gracie as well.
All these things have made my life simpler and more organized this homeschool year. What are some of YOUR tips and tricks for keeping up during the school year?