Sunday, May 15, 2011

I Hate Grade Levels

Why must we have grade levels?

I wish we could just do away with them.

We start our school year in January, therefore we don't switch grades when most people do.

This drives my oldest child crazy.

My 6 year old doesn't know too much about it, but does know what grade of math work he is doing. (sigh)

Is there any way to get around this? I don't want my son to grow up concerned about grade level like my daughter did.

I just don't think they are fair. Every child is different, and learns at different paces. And how do you determine what grade they are in when they are doing multiple grade levels of work at once?

I believe that your whole life you are learning, and that homeschooling is a lifestyle. (We do use curriculum though. We are not unschoolers. lol)

I have been trying really hard to only use curriculum that is not grade specific. 

Just like we don't do grades for our work, I wish we could not do grade levels too.

How do you all handle this?

Part of me wants to start my son off telling him that we don't do grade levels, but then, what if someone asks him what grade he is in, and it makes him upset because he doesn't know?

I think part of what upsets me the most is that I wish I had waited one more year to technically put my daughter in Kindergarten.

Because she really is better suited to be a grade behind where she would be in public school. But I can't tell her she has to stay in that grade for one more year. It would make her really upset.

My solution to that has been to start our year in January, so technically she will be in this grade for longer, and won't officially start the next grade until several months behind the public schools, but then that makes her upset too. She wants to switch grades when everyone else does.

But I think she really doesn't need to be going into 9th grade this year, but she is excited about going into high school.

What to do? (sigh)

Honestly, should I even worry about it? In the next few years, she may mature to where she seems to match her grade level. She just seems much too young to be going into high school.

Have any of you dealt with this?

Luckily my son's birthday falls to where he started Kindergarten later, but with all of my future kids, I will not officially start Kindergarten until later anyways.

I am a little stressed out about this situation. I honestly hate grade level, and don't want it, but how do you get around it?

Any advice? Any solutions?

5 comments:

Pebblekeeper ~ Angie said...

It gets sticky - as they get older - and functions get grade specific, instead of age specific. We've had this conversation quite a bit -
We started January - December, as son's birthday is February - and he wanted to start Kindergarden, so I said sure.
In Oregon - they have Years. When you are 7 in September, it is your first year. So - My now 13 year old son, took his 5th year test, last fall. - According to the Educational Service District - he is in 6th year or grade. But, he's 6 foot tall, and 13. He's taller than most high schoolers - and definitely the 6th graders. If not for that - I think I'd still tell him he's in 6th grade. But many of the 13 yr olds are in 8th grade, for their birthdays. So we tell him he is in his 6th Year of Oregon Schooling - and 7th grade for classes and groups - but we do whatever level he needs to do. This year it has all sort of evened out into 7th/8th grade work. My 10 yr old son, is set to take his 3rd year test on Weds, but he is sort of in the 4th grade, but he really isn't up to grade reading wise. Sigh. Yep. It gets tricky. BTW, Oregon tests 3,5,8 and 10th, so it doesn't really matter if they are one year away.

Shannon R said...

Honestly? If YOU don't care about grades and you want to raise children who understand that it's all arbitrary and meaningless (the assigning of a number on a person just because of their age), then tell him "this year you are in grade such-n-such if anyone asks, but you and I both know that you are working at the level God really wants you to be working at right now"

Give them an answer for the World, but inspire them to work for God to the best of their abilities - which means slow and steady on certain subjects and leaping ahead in the areas they are gifted by Him. Just knowing what the answer to a question is can relieve a lot of stress...

Know what my 8 year old answers people when they ask what grade he's in? "I'm lucky, I homeschool. So I'm not stuck in a class number. God made me special!" Now, that might not work for everyone (he came up with that btw)... but it helps if they realize they are answerable to God and not the World.

Hope that helps even a little bit.
(((hugs)))
Shannon, who has one 17 year old working 2 grades below because of laziness, one 15 year old who is about grade level, but not interested in school... she's too busy running her own businesses, one 8 year old who doesn't give a hoot, and a 6 year old who is working about 2 grade levels ahead in more areas because she's too silly to know she's not supposed to! LOL!

Erin @ Closing Time said...

I love Shannon's answer. Mine are little, but for some reason they are so curious about grade level. I guess it's because people ask what grade they're in everywhere we go.

It's going to become more of an issue for us in the coming years, I know, because we are going to depart from so many worksheets and move to a more "move at your own pace" approach. At church, they are divided into classes by grade level, so I have explained to the girls that they are in 1st grade and K4 based on their ages. (This is frustrating to my little one, because she is doing some K5 right now...boy do I wish her workbook didn't say K5 all over it!). We have talked about the situation....they are placed in these grade categories because of their age, not because of the work they are doing in school. So far it's going okay.

I'll pray for you, Rodna! I wish I had more advice or an easy fix. I think this is just one of those things we have to deal with because we aren't schooling our children with the majority.

Lori said...

We don't do grading either and for grade levels we go by their age. My oldest daughter started Kindergarten at 3 with her brother but she was "officially" in Kindergarten for a total of three years. ;-) It was not a surprise to us when she was ready to graduate a year early.

My kids like changing grade levels and following a public school schedule. This doesn't bother me, although we are also more relaxed in method. We'll use whatever material is appropriate for them, regardless of grade level, but we do have them in grades for outside purposes.

My 12 year old is tiny and immature for her age. Rather than allow the idea of her entering 7th grade to make me worry about if she's ready, it's encouraging me to stop treating her as young because she looks young and start challenging her to mature and grow into her age despite her smallness.

I don't know if this helped at all. If it were me, I think I'd try to understand how important it is to a teenager to fit in when she can. Having a grade level and a set graduation year helps with that and I can understand that desire.

Lori said...

We don't do grading either and for grade levels we go by their age. My oldest daughter started Kindergarten at 3 with her brother but she was "officially" in Kindergarten for a total of three years. ;-) It was not a surprise to us when she was ready to graduate a year early.

My kids like changing grade levels and following a public school schedule. This doesn't bother me, although we are also more relaxed in method. We'll use whatever material is appropriate for them, regardless of grade level, but we do have them in grades for outside purposes.

My 12 year old is tiny and immature for her age. Rather than allow the idea of her entering 7th grade to make me worry about if she's ready, it's encouraging me to stop treating her as young because she looks young and start challenging her to mature and grow into her age despite her smallness.

I don't know if this helped at all. If it were me, I think I'd try to understand how important it is to a teenager to fit in when she can. Having a grade level and a set graduation year helps with that and I can understand that desire.

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