Options for Handling Homeschool Failure

What would you do if your child REALLY failed a homeschool class - refused to do history, for example? Let's talk about how to cope, as a homeschool mom. There are many options for handling failed grades at homeschooling.

Handling Homeschool Failure in Progress

1. Evaluate reasons for failure.

Is this a problem a lack of motivation or cheating? You may need to review these articles:

2. Provide consequences for bad behavior​.

Don't allow the child to do whatever they want, whenever they want, if they are failing classes. Sometimes you need to give consequences to the behaviors that have caused the problem in the first place. Mom should not still be saying "yes" to things like going to the mall with friends, or screen time. It's reality training. There is no other time in a person's life when they get to dismiss responsibility and still have all the privileges that come with living a responsible life. A real-life scenario might be - If they didn't show up for work because they "didn't feel like it" their boss is not going to say, "No problem, we will pay you anyway. Just don't do it again."

3. Reward good behavior

I don't want to say that bribery works, or that it can replace intrinsic motivation for wanting to do the right thing. I'm certainly not going to suggest that I've ever bribed my children, or any other mom in history has ever bribed their children with a reward for trying harder. I'm just asking... have you tried bribery?

Failure on the Transcript

1. Include only successful education.

You could decide that only successful classes are put on the transcript. You could decide that a child can withdraw, or drop, or "audit" classes that aren't successful. This is most helpful when the child failed through no fault of their own, for example, a poor fit class at coop, or a curriculum mismatch.

2. Grade based on all methods of evaluation.

You do need to make sure that the grade on the transcript is the sum total of all evaluations, not just tests. A homeschool teacher at a co-op, for example, sees your child 1 day a week. You instruct the other 4 days. You are able to evaluate all the rest of the time. So your full grade is based on everything - co-op work and work done outside of co-op.

3. Accommodate for learning challenges.

You need to make sure that the way you assess your child is a good fit for their learning style. Your evaluations can include oral reports, oral tests, and quizzes. You can read aloud textbooks or allow other educational support. As homeschoolers, we can change the evaluations to meet our child

4. Allow extra credit.

As the teacher, you can allow "extra credit" assignments to increase the grade. You can allow the child to re-take a test, or complete a culminating project to boost the grade to passing. This works best for immediate feedback. I would never suggest that you go back to last year's class and have them do extra credit on a subject that was previously ended.

5. Repeat the class

If they have failed while homeschooling, something has gone very wrong. If it's not a motivation or resistance issue, then it's probably a curriculum mismatch. You can choose better curriculum and start over, allowing them to replace the previous grade earned, and earn a completely new grade.


6. Provide feedback with lower grades​.

There are times when you need to just say that your child failed. It wasn't your fault, it wasn't a problem with curriculum, it was just sin nature, and rebellion. Sometimes kids fail. Even sweet and kind children can decide "Nope! Math's not for me!" At those times, your best bet may be to give a failing grade. You can provide feedback by giving an F.

7. Transcript grades are a summary​.

If you are giving a failing grade, be sure to give credit for what was successfully achieved. Suppose your child did the assignments for the first 3 months of school, and then decided not to do any more history for the remainder of the year. You might decide that your child got a C for the first month, a C for the second month, and a C for the third month. Then F's for the final 3 months of the school year. That could possibly mean the overall grade summary might be a D. You don't want to present the whole year grade summary without taking the whole year into context.

Maybe now is a good time to meditate on this fact - love covers a multitude of sins. I really believe that the love you have for your child is like Spackle on a wall (or foundation on a face!) that covers all the blemishes of homeschool missteps.

If you need some help figuring out how to grade in your homeschool, listen to my Grades, Credits, and Transcripts class.

If you need help figuring out how to make a transcript, I can help with my online resource, Total Transcript Solution.

Don't struggle by yourself. The homeschool community can help and so can I.