Are your grades too low?
When your student is doing two to four times the normal amount of work in class, it becomes even more important to consider incorporating all of their work within their transcript grade. This can happen particularly with students involved in Classical Education, or those in heavily academic homeschool co-ops. You do not want your child to be at a competitive disadvantage when compared to their public school peers.
With a Great Books program, for example, children read much more than the usual 2-5 books per year, and the reading is much more intense. When determining a final grade for a course, consider daily work, homework assignments, reading, discussion, narration, oral presentations, projects, analysis, and other things. As you are thinking through the grades, look at the course syllabus for similar courses taught at the Public High School, and see how they divide their grading criteria. You don’t have to use only 4.0 and 3.0 for your grades. You can estimate some grades as 3.5, to demonstrate that it wasn’t perfect, but it was very good.
It is so amazing that I came across this article today because if you had published this last month I would have just ignored it, but it just so happens a college admissions officer came to visit our co-op and said these very words! She said that homeschool transcripts lacked courses designated "Honors" or "Advanced". She said that it didn't have to be called "Advanced Placement" (a College Board designation) in order for it to be "Advanced". She said that our grades were low for the amount of work the kids were doing and that we were not weighting enough of those grades and giving a weighted GPA along with an unweighted one which meant that we missed out on a lot of scholarship money! Honestly, I was surprised by this revelation, but it has been an eyeopener! Thank you Lee for bringing up this issue!
[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Luke_Holzmann, Lee Binz. Lee Binz said: Why you might want to reconsider the grades for your #homeschool student- http://wp.me/pctmJ-19P #homeschool [...]
Are you saying that all the grades should be "A's"? While I think taking all things into account is fair, I would imagine that a college might view all "A's" from a home school student with skepticism. My son had A's,B's, and B+'s. He also had 3 "A's" from his Community College classes. I often wondered with each course if the grade was too high or too low. I kept records of everything I could keep track of.
I'm really NOT saying grades should be all A's. I'm saying that sometimes homeschoolers are MUCH harder graders than other teachers. When a homeschooler has all A's in high school and all A's in community college, then YES, they deserved all A's at home :-) You want your homeschool grades to be reflected by some outside documentation, like SAT scores, or community college, or recommendation letters. If you have all A's you are not at a disadvantage.
Why *NOT* all As? Most homeschoolers do their assignments until they are 100% correct. Do most colleges actually care about letter grades from homeschoolers, or are they much more interested in test scores?