As the kids get out their school books, each child has different numbers on their books. I have a 4th, 6th and Kindergartner, yet the numbers on their books range from PK to 7th. Why? Because I don’t worry about what the grade number is on the front of my children’s books. One of the luxuries of homeschooling is that we don’t have to work on grade level. We can let our kids work at their own pace. This is a luxury for them, and us.
What Level Is Your Child?
When you first begin homeschooling, you may assume that you can go with whatever grade they “should” be in. But, that is not always the case. I have found that some homeschool curriculums work about a ½-grade level above where our local public schools work. Some curriculum companies work below where our local schools are. You cannot trust the number on the front of a homeschool curriculum and assume it is “grade level appropriate”.
When thinking about where to place your child there are numerous things you can do to properly place them into a curriculum. Check the publishing company’s website and see if they offer grade placement tests. These tests are usually free and can be downloaded onto your computer and printed out. They will likely tell you about where your child should be placed in the publisher’s curriculum.
Another thing you may want to do is see the curriculum in person. This can be done at a convention (like our Southeast Homeschool Expo), through a local homeschool friend who may use the curriculum, or at a curriculum swap and sell. This helps a lot because there may be some material in a curriculum your child has covered, and some they haven’t.
Why WorryAbout Grade Level?
As homeschoolers, we can let our children work at their own pace. They don’t have to worry about what the number on the front of the book says as long as they are mastering the material along the way.
I truly believe we as a society are TOO worried about grade level and being “behind”. The truth of the matter is, even as adults, some of us are stronger in one subject than another. I don’t worry about whether or not I’m behind my husband in my math ability, he doesn’t worry about whether or not he can spell as good as I do. So, why do we worry about where our kids are?
Letting a child work at their own pace is the BEST case scenario for our children. If your child is stronger in Science and Math then let him excel. If he struggles with spelling, let him take his time. Don’t worry about the number on the front of their book.
What Should The Kids Say When Asked What Grade They Are In?
Some people do consider grade levels important. And, chances are your child will be asked on numerous occasions what great he is in. When this happens, I suggest having them say what grade they WOULD be in if they attended public school. If someone asks my children, what grade they are in they will tell them. This helps in Sunday school classes, Jr church programs, scouts, and sports. Grade levels are not bad; they just aren’t always necessary or accurate when it comes to actual curriculum.
So, when thinking about grade placement for your homeschool child, for record keeping purposes, go with the grade they would be in if they attended public school. For curriculum, purposes go with where they place academically and don’t worry about the number on the front of the book! Let them work at their own pace, regardless of what “grade” that may be!
Misty Bailey is a wife to Roger and a homeschool mom to three beautiful blessings. She resides with her family in Southern Ohio. She loves helping new homeschoolers and has a Homeschool 101 eBook for those getting started. She shares her struggles with time management, becoming unglued and finding joy in the everyday moments on her blog Joy in the Journey.