Three Reasons NOT to Grade Your Own Child’s Writing
You laid out your homeschooler’s writing assignment with clear, step-by-step instructions. You gave him more than enough time to work on it. You even helped him with some of the research and planning. Yes, he complained throughout the entire process, but in the end, he turned in a complete draft. It’s been sitting on your desk for three days and your desire to grade it is diminishing with each passing day. What’s a parent to do?
What if you did…nothing? Although it’s drilled into homeschool parents that they are the responsible party for their child’s education, when it comes to writing, taking yourself out of the grading equation is a real option. Consider these three reasons NOT to grade your own child’s homeschool writing assignments
REASON ONE: Grading writing creates power struggles.
The first reason to forego grading homeschool writing is probably the very one that keeps you procrastinating about it. You know that any red mark you place on your child’s paper is going to create hard feelings. Because writing is such a personal endeavor, it’s impossible not to feel at least a little pained when someone finds fault with the words that came from your heart. When that someone is a parent, it makes children naturally defensive, which can lead to reluctance to write altogether.
REASON TWO: Grading writing puts a parent in a difficult position.
Since your child could hold a pencil or type words on a keyboard, you’ve likely been your child’s biggest encourager. You’ve reminded her that what she has to say is important. You’ve told him that there is “no bad writing.” You’ve coaxed and cajoled and maybe even occasionally begged your child or teen to write things – – anything. And you likely praised his or her efforts, no matter how small. Now, in the position of homeschool parent, all that is turned topsy-turvy as you find yourself evaluating and judging the merits of each written phrase. This role reversal can be incredibly jarring for both children and parents, especially if you are new to homeschool grading.
REASON THREE: Grading writing requires both feedback and suggestions for improvement.
Since the intended goal for assessing a student’s writing is to help them improve, it’s not enough to simply assign a grade and move on to the next assignment. Inexperienced writers grow into accomplished writers when they discover that (with a little attention) every sentence can be made clearer, every paragraph more focused, and every turn of a phrase more descriptive or more purposeful. Insightful feedback and suggestions for revision make this possible for students. However, not every parent feels up to the task of appraising their child’s writing assignments in a way that will move their skills forward. Using the right mix of critique and encouragement that keeps young writer’s motivated is a difficult balancing act.
The Solution for Grading Homeschool Writing
There’s welcome news, however, for homeschool parents who either aren’t inclined or don’t feel prepared for the task of grading homeschool writing. Time4Writing is an online writing curriculum that teaches targeted writing skills through interactive lessons, assignments, and assessments. What makes the program truly unique, though, is our team of certified teachers who are one-to-one mentors for registered students and offer personalized feedback and suggestions for improvement on every submitted writing assignment.
That writing assignment that’s still on your desk? Sure, go ahead and grade it, knowing that it may be the last one you have to tackle for a long, long time, thanks to Time4Writing.
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