Let me guess. You didn't use tests on all your homeschool subjects, right? Neither did I! And yet, somehow, my children survived! Find out how to grade subjects and classes that don't require tests with my grading estimate below.
Some homeschoolers think it's loads of fun to go back through four years of high school records and try to find or recreate every possible test, quiz, and assignment. That doesn't sound like fun to me. I was not one of those people. Plus, I've noticed that even when parents do some forensic grading like that, it doesn't really change what they know to be true. If you are not a tester in your homeschool, look beyond tests, and think of how you have evaluated.
Consider what best reflects your child's true progress (and learning style!). While a visual learner may test well on paper, a hands-on or auditory learner may be better understood during personal interaction, rather than a paper-and-pencil test. Consider the arts - if you're student is taking piano lessons, you probably won't test, rather have a concert where you evaluate them. Get creative and know your child.
Not every class has tests, but every class on your transcript should have a final grade. Teachers in schools need tests to evaluate 30 children at a time. When homeschooling, though, we have very few students to assess at one time, and tests are not necessary in every class. To find out how to assign grades to your homeschool high school without tests, take my free class about making a transcript for your unique child.
You can easily estimate grades for classes with no tests. This estimate will help you whether you are evaluating a single assignment (like a research paper or a lab report) or an entire class (like English or PE, that may not include tests.)
Grade A or 4.0
Meets high expectations
High standardized test scores
Child love subject & parent NOT annoyed
Grade B or 3.0
Not worth an A
Parent could be somewhat annoyed
Grade C or 2.0
Not very good
Kept going to the next level
The parent is BOTH annoyed AND disappointed
But you know it's a C because you Kept going to the next level
Example: Algebra 1 was horrible, but kept moving to Geometry the following year.
Grade D or below
Grade D is not recommended. It's NOT a good homeschool strategy to set your child up for failure. This is why I like parents to homeschool independently, so they have this flexibility.
If your child is getting a D in a class, drop or replace the class – if this is an accredited program, that's all you can do, you have lost control of the situation.
If your child is getting an F while homeschooling, I suggest that you change curriculum, skip the subject, or do something drastic about a bad attitude. You don't have to fail your children. It's an option, of course, but you don't have to.
If you believe your child is getting a C or below in a homeschool class, take action to make sure they can be successful. A low grade can mean a curriculum mismatch, or that you aren't taking their learning style into consideration in your evaluation. (If you need more help finding out about learning styles, check out this article.)
If you need more help, check out my Coffee Break Book, Making the Grades: A Grouch-Free Guide to Homeschool Grading. Christa found it very helpful as she homeschooled high school!
As homeschoolers, we have the luxury of teaching our children until they meet mastery. You have the option to not go forward with a subject until they have mastered the current content. Some (our children, mostly) will consider this method to be of the meanest of the mean, but ... you will have a student that learns and comes out better on the other side of high school. (This is all part of teaching a good work ethic and doing hard things!)
Find a grading estimate that works for you. The above gives you a good jumping off point, but maybe you have more to add to your grading estimate. Share with us below in the comments if you estimate grades in a different way!