Do Grade Level Expectations Really Matter In Your Homeschool?
Don’t you love it when someone asks what grade your homeschooler is in? It’s not always that simple is it? Homeschoolers can kind of be all over the map when it comes to grade levels and that’s ok.
While grade levels don’t really matter in homeschool. In the end, being aware of grade level goals can be useful for homeschooling moms. It’s helpful to know what goals are realistic and which things you might need to study a little more as you plan and map out your homeschool year.
Are you looking for help determining grade level goals for your homeschoolers this year? Keep reading to discover my tips and grab a helpful (and free!) grade level checklist too.
Grade Levels And Homeschool Planning
The truth is that grade levels aren’t all that important for most homeschool students. However, I do think it’s a good idea to be aware of grade level goals and targets when you’re doing homeschool planning. Especially if you’re anything like us and prefer to dabble in curriculum or use resources instead.
I like to use Home Learning Year by Year from Rebeccar Rupp to guide myself as I plan our homeschool year. I prefer to write down goals for language arts and math. Because those two subjects build on themselves. And I feel like they are important to master.
Whereas, there are a lot of things I’m more interested in exposing Emily to. And not necessarily focusing on her mastering such as geography, science, and history. We do a lot of interest-led learning. So, there are tons of topics and goals to explore and learn that won’t be anywhere on my checklist. But, having the checklist helps me get in all the things I feel like are the most important for us to cover each school year.
Do Grade Levels Really Matter In Your Homeschool?
The short answer is no, grade levels don’t really matter in your homeschool. For starters, there are a lot of flaws in the system of grouping kids in grades by age to begin with. Children develop at different rates for a variety of reasons and that doesn’t mean that they’re “behind.” There’s no such thing in being behind in homeschool, every kid works at their own pace.
Many children, including gifted children experience asynchrony and children with ADHD, Autism also develop asynchronously. What’s asynchronous development? It means they advance or excel beyond their years in some areas but struggle with others. For example, Emily is amazing with all things language related. But, math is an entirely different story.
Thankfully, as homeschoolers we don’t need to worry so much about grade level. Our kids can be all over the map. We can jump ahead in any subject our kids are passionate about and spend more time mastering areas where they struggle. It’s one of my favorite things about homeschooling!
How I Incorporate Grade Level Expectations Into Our Homeschool?
If grade level expectations aren’t all that important, why do I use resources to check behind myself? For us, checking to be sure I’m meeting certain grade level expectations is a way to ensure we are meeting the goals that are important to me or making sure I am covering all the things.
There are certain topics and skills I want to expose Emily to and others I’d like her to master this year. Using books like Rebecca Rupp’s Home Learning Year by Year and books from The Core Knowledge Series by E.D. Hirsch Jr. series I’m able to check my own expectations to be sure they’re realistic and attainable. Plus, I can help make sure we touch on important information I may have overlooked.
Having a checklist of concepts I want mastered each homeschool year allows me to utilize resources such as books, games, subscriptions, and online classes. For example: I can see based on my checklist that I want her to recognize and identify common parts of speech so I can simply use a game such as Grasping Grammar to accomplish this instead of using boring worksheets that she won’t enjoy.
Aside from all the reasons you may or may not be concerned about grade level, homeschool laws in certain states require that children show mastery in certain skills and subjects via records and testing. For example, states like Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island have strict requirements for homeschoolers about what must be covered each year depending on grade level. I always suggest checking your state laws when it comes to homeschooling.
A Free Resource To Help You Plan For Each Grade Level In Your Homeschool
To help homeschool moms everywhere, I’ve put together a Free Grade Level Checklist. These checklist will help you make sure you’re meeting certain skills and topics each year. These checklists are not meant to stress you out or make you feel like you are behind. They were created so you could homeschool with freedom and peace of mind.
This grade level checklist freebie covers key language and math skills from preschool all the way through 8th grade. Plus, there’s a helpful Homeschooling High School section. This will help moms who are working to build a transcript for college bound homeschoolers.