This week is letter T, and I'm talking about transcripts and grades. Transcripts are a brand new thing to us though, so don't expect too much from me! I'd love any advice you have though!
M will be starting 9th grade in the fall so I've been practicing by keeping transcripts of her middle school courses. There are some online options for school that she could get a transcript from an official school, but we've chosen not to go that route. So I'm trying to keep good records and do it all myself.
There's a lot to think about when preparing grades and transcripts, and there are many websites that offer help and printables. This may be helpful to you, or it may be overwhelming! I listened to a free webinar by Lee Binz of The HomeScholar that was incredibly helpful. She even has a product available called the Total Transcript Solution that you can purchase to help walk you through the process and help the student obtain college scolarships.
For the past couple of years I've been keeping track of what courses my daughter has completed, writing descriptions of the course, samples of work, and tracking the hours spent studying. Last week I finished grades for the year, and my goal for the next week is to organize all this information into a middle school transcript.
I've also been giving everyone a report card for the past two years. We didn't start out with them, but we found that this was helpful in our home and choose to use them now. The younger children and the simpler items on the older kids report card uses the letter grades of Outstanding, Satisfactory, and Needs improvement. So my K and 3rd graders see the letters O, S, and N. We talk about what they have done well at and what they can set goals for. It's helpful to hear what the kids think is going well, and for them to hear what Mom and Dad would like to see them work on, and what we've noticed they've been doing well with.
My 6th and 8th graders will see O, S, and N for things like penmanship, binder organization, respectful language, etc. Things that are important in our home, but don't need to go on a transcript. I calculate grades for language arts and math, as well as other assignments they've been given. Those might consist of their final geography report, their composer report from this year, or a science report.
For math, and since we use Saxon, I follow the instructions for grading in Art Reed's book Using John Saxon's Math Books. Reading his instructions about daily work, dropping the lowest few test scores, factoring in more than just tests, and compiling a grade helped me get an idea about how I wanted to grade language arts.
I keep records of grades, samples of work, and any other things that stand out each year in a binder. This year it was full, so I bought a binder for each child and will continue filling it with things from each year. Our state doesn't require us to keep records, test, or submit anything, but I have been keeping this information anyway. It's helpful for me to look back on, and maybe one day the kids will like to look back on it too.