Most people who ask this question don’t realize that we home school before they ask it. It’s just a question that everyone asks because most people assume that the child is going to a public or private school.
Every time I get asked this question, I have to stop and recalculate which grade they would be in. My answer usually is something like, “We home school and don’t keep track of grade levels, but she is about the same age as most of the kids in third grade.”
Do homeschooled families even have to keep track of grade level?
I think that most home school parents do not stick to strict grade levels the way a traditional public school tends to. One of the advantages of choosing to home school is that we can also choose what curriculum and approach is best for each child and for each subject. When you compare the work a home school child does to a public school child of the same age there may be some areas they are ahead, some areas they are behind, and some areas where they are about the same. In some states, there are guidelines that outline what subjects need to be covered and at what ages.
For the most part, each family is able to decide what work each child will do. We have to report which of our children will be doing school at home each year. The form we fill out asks what grades our children are in. At the beginning of each year I have to figure out again which grade my children would be in at the public school. However, that doesn’t have much impact on how or what we teach. We do make sure to cover the required subjects, but we don’t try to match exactly what that grade would be doing in the public school.
How do you know what to teach if they’re not in a certain grade?
We work with our kids daily. We see their strengths and their weaknesses. We are able to spend more time on the subjects that need more work, and less time on the subjects that do not. I suppose we could stick to grade level material, but for us, the point is that we don’t have to. We can work as far ahead as we want, or stay behind if we feel we need to. We can teach in the same order or a different order than the schools do. Eventually, we will get to all the same material, maybe more, and it will all get done when it is right for each child.
If you home school, do you keep track of what grade your children are in?