Dear Parents & Students,
I've just about finished calculating the grades for the first semester and am getting ready to send out an e-mail with a breakdown of grades for Writing 2. Please remember that I am a “tutor,” and these are suggested grades for you as homeschooling families to consider.
Before I send them out, let me share my thoughts about grades. As I homeschooled, I didn't give my children grades because I felt that grades were far too subjective. Learning to write well is a process, and I am more concerned that my students stay engaged in the process than I am in the final products. As I regularly tell the class, each paper is the “rough draft” for the next paper. When teaching students to be good writers, I give a lot of consideration for growth and improvement. Each student has a starting place; over time I look for him or her to learn the mechanics of grammar, good writing techniques, and analytical thinking skills; they then move on from that original starting place.
Letter grades are a funny thing. For some students, it becomes the only motivation for doing well. For some, it becomes a measure of worth as a person or an academic learner. I personally don't like these "side effects" of the grading system. On the other hand, grades can be a valid reward for working hard, being diligent, and understanding the materials. Incentives and consequences are a part of life; God uses them, too. I tend to be an "easy grader" and like to see my students encouraged to do their best. Becoming a good writer is hard work, and too often students are discouraged before they’ve given themselves a chance to succeed.
For this class, I gave points for attendance, participation, short assignments and longer papers. For those who are putting together transcripts, this semester would be considered .50 English (or Language Arts) credits. The grades are divided into the following categories:
- Assignments (Quick Writes, misc. Extra Credit, Words of the Day Test)
- Grammar (Worksheets, presentations, Parts of Speech Post Test)
- Literature (Study Guide responses, Vocabulary, Quizzes, Tests)
- Writing (Pre-Writes, Rough Drafts, Final Drafts)
- Composite Grade (an overall grade that also takes into consideration class participation/behavior and timeliness of homework.)
The first four categories are not evenly weighted. For example, the points for the Quick Writes are not as important as the points for the essays. The percentages per category are specific to the number of points possible for that category and the number of points earned.
Each student (and their parents) will get an e-mail with percentages and suggested grades for this semester.