Monday, December 21, 2015

Should Home School Students Get All A's?

Photo: jdurham

Should Home School Students Get All A's?

Why not? They have the time to master the subjects!

One advantage home school students have over public and private school students is that they have time to really learn the material.

There is no rush to move into the next chapter or lesson until the current lesson is well-learned. When students do not learn the material well, especially in courses that build on previous lessons, such as math, the student will not have the foundation to understand later courses.

I am sure my son became quite tired of hearing me tell him, "Do the assignment again," but these days, he tells his own students the same thing.

When the material is mastered, there is no reason to grade a student lower than an A, simply because it took a little longer than public school would allow. Homeschool allows the student to spend the time necessary to master the material. Actually, course mastery is one of the best reason to homeschool.

In fact, the very reason it takes longer may be due to the extra studies the student undertakes because of interest once the material starts to make sense. We often found this to be true. We would start a lesson that inadvertantly lead to other information that broadened his understanding of the topic.

I have heard people who express doubts that a home school student could be a straight A student, but where there is ample time for do-overs, there is no reason home schooled learners should do less than an A for most classes, unless there is a lack of motivation. Or even an aversion to the course. My son took a Spanish course. He did not really want to learn it, but I had him take the course in preparation for college. While he passed the course, it would have been much more pleasant for him had we waited and let him take the course in college instead of at home. He much preferred the computer courses and science courses. For that reason, he spent more time on those courses than he did his Spanish course, and his work did not earn an A.

When students learn to learn, all you have 
to do is step back out of the way, support 
them if problems come up, and cheer them 
on till they complete all their education.

While all of the previous is true, there is no reason a home school student should be required to make all A's. I was a bit more insistent in math and science courses than others, simply because (again) later course content was based upon the previous content. If the previous lesson was not learned well, the later lesson was more difficult. Making all A's is not as important as the student learning to learn, and the family's moral. Requiring all A's can be a recipe for disaster if you are not very, very careful. When students learn to learn, they can teach themselves anything they need to know. At that point, all you have to do is step back out of the way, support them if problems come up, and cheer them on till they complete all their education.

For those of us who home school for religious reasons, there is a great quote from the KJV New Testament: "And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;" (Colossians 3:23). Whatever we do in life, we need to do our best. This is a lesson best learned as young in life as possible.

As your student gets into junior high and high school, there might be a course your student wants or needs to take that you do not feel adequately prepared to teach. There are so many resources available to help with those classes, there is no reason to avoid them. You might even take the course with your student. Challenge him or her to see who can make the best grade in the course!

So, should home school students get all A's for their coursework? Well, yes, they should, if the work they do deserves it. 

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