Do you remember being in school and having your report card handed to you? How did you feel as you looked at it? Were you excited? Anxious? Did you open it then or wait until you were alone? What was it like taking it home and showing it to your parents? Did you want to hide it, or were you proud of it?
When I was growing up, report card day was a momentous event at home. We received a quarter for each “B” and a dollar for each “A.” If the report cards were good, we had a special family dessert – chocolate sauce over pound cake. I only remember my sister and me bringing home good report cards. Yay!
As homeschool families are there any reasons why we would give report cards to our children? They place an added burden on Mom to create extra time and effort to track the information that would be needed to compile report cards. Sometimes as homeschoolers we feel like we want to leave behind what we saw as the institutionalized part of education. Do report cards fall into that category? As a homeschool family for 30 years, we would encourage you that report cards play an important role in home education.
1. Keeps Teacher Mom Accountable
It is necessary for homeschool moms to be diligent about accomplishing homeschooling. The education of their children falls squarely on their shoulders. Planning to give quarterly report cards should motivate Mom to make sure daily and weekly school is happening so that she has data from her students to be entered into the report card. It is very difficult to generate a report card if school time has been lacking.
2. Sets Goals Before the Student
Report cards give homeschool students a goal to work toward. In a normal classroom, there will be positive peer pressure toward academic accomplishment. In the homeschool, it is generally only one student per grade, losing the benefit of that incentive. In its place, homeschoolers can use the goal of achieving good grades to motivate children to work on their school assignments and to put forth their best effort.
3. Gives Reinforcement to Student
Report cards will give homeschooled children reinforcement – positive or negative. Without some kind of grading system and report cards, how do our homeschool students know if they are doing well or doing poorly? The homeschool mom can verbally tell her children how they are doing, but they don’t have anything quantifiable and tangible to validate those words.
4. Tracks Progress or Lack of It
When we give our children report cards, it helps us discern their academic progress or lack of it. Good grades indicate positive progress, but bad grades will be a concern that should lead us to look for remedies. When those bad grades turn to good grades, we have a track record.
5. Documents for Governmental Authorities
Report cards will indicate to governmental authorities, should they ever question a homeschool, that real learning is taking place. In the U. S. each state has slightly varying laws regarding homeschooling, but in all of them, it is clear that education is to be accomplished. Report cards indicate that this is a homeschool where real school goes on and learning results. We can have our textbooks as proof of homeschooling, but the report card indicates to the authorities what is actually being accomplished with those textbooks.
“Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation” (Romans 13:1-2).
6. Allows Others to See Academic Progress.
Not only do report cards document progress that governmental authorities can observe should they question our homeschooling, but it also allows others to view academic progress in our children. Report cards can be shown to Dad, grandparents, even interested friends because they document definitive achievement. This gives those other people who love your child opportunities to reinforce and encourage that child.
7. Helps Children Adapt to the Real World
Finally, report cards move our children toward adaptation to the real adult world. If your children go to college, they will be in an environment where tests and grades are the norm. If they are self employed, they may still study and take tests for credentials in their field.
When the child wants a driver’s license, he will take a test and receive a grade on it that will either allow him to have the license or not. Those who work in the corporate world will have written reviews by their supervisors that document their performance over a pre-determined amount of time. Those reviews are shared with the employee and with upper level management. Performance in the job as documented by the reviews will be tied to pay raises.
Just a Little Extra Time
During my homeschooling years, I really didn’t find that giving report cards took very much extra time. Mine were simple with just the basic information on them. I had documentation of the children’s work from their test and quiz grades. For many subjects, I could simply average them for the grade. Since I kept the grades in an Excel spreadsheet, it would do all the calculating for me. I didn’t even have to work the math. Toward the end of our homeschooling, when we were using computers and e-mail so much, I would usually e-mail the report card to the child, to Dad, and then print a hard copy for our records.
I think that if you are a homeschooling mom, you will be happy to make the decision to give your homeschool students report cards and them begin implementing that decision. There are many benefits that come from report cards that you will experience if you do.
Download Report Cards from Titus2
For many years, we have offered a basic report card template on Titus2 as a free download. With the upcoming Mom’s Corner in mind, we designed more report card templates. We offer them in several formats: sunflower or airplane, PDF to be filled in, or subjects blank so you can type them in or print and handwrite them.
Try them out, and let us know what you think. Happy report card making.