I would like to qualify that with the fact that I never just leave them on their own to teach themselves. I teach, oversee, explain and provide curriculum and tools for them to succeed in becoming independent learners.
I have never been interested in a hands off approach to homeschooling. I love being right in the mix teaching, learning, explaining and I love planning lessons. However, I don't want to do for them what they can learn to do for themselves.
The lower and upper grammar years are the most hands on in my homeschool, but even at that level children can learn to use checklists, file their own papers in their binders, clean their workspace and organize their books on a shelf. In the dialectic years students can continue all those things and more. They can follow more detailed instructions on an assignment list/checklist, track their grades, find their own resources for reports and use curriculum directed at the student. The rhetoric years continue all those habits, but they can also learn to schedule their own work (like figuring out how much to do each day of a 16 module Apologia science text).
Now that Noodle is in the fourth grade I am going to be starting him out on a couple of simple forms to strengthen his independence skills. He is already able to follow a checklist with simple instructions. Now he will be tracking his grades so that he knows at all times what grade he has in any given subject. I don't officially record grades at this stage, but he likes to know what his grades are and this will give him good practice for when we do start to record grades for him.
Bear has used the Student Grade Sheet since the middle school years. I plan to start teaching Noodle to use it in January, when our new semester starts. For high school students like Bear, it is a great tool to use and allows the student to always know where he stands with his grades. I created this form originally when my oldest son was still homeschooling and he was always asking me, "Mom, what grade do I have in _____________?" It was always a big time stealer for me to figure that out, look it up etc., so I figured if he wanted to know, he could keep track. It is one of the smarter things I have done as a homeschool mom!
We use subject binders and the grade log is stored in the front of each binder. Ideally, when a graded assignment gets filed in the binder, the student logs it on the grade sheet and does the calculations. It is good math practice too.
Note: In the Grade column, we put the number grade, which is reached by dividing Total Points Earned by Total Points Possible. Ex: 98 points earned out of 100 is 98/100=98%=A
The Total Points Possible, Total Points Earned and Grade columns are cumulative.
The Student Reading Log is for the boys to track the books they read each year. Admittedly, sometimes we get behind on this. It is really more important during the high school years, in the event that colleges or a college admissions counselor wants to know. They may never ask, but it can't hurt to have it handy.
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Coming soon - DVD/Video Programs log!