more on grades…

So despite the fact that I agree with Ron that the best way forward is portfolios and I should stop worrying and just get on with it, I spent some time futzing around on the internet yesterday looking up high school stuff.

I started with the Ontario Ministry of Education website just to find out whether the high school curriculum guidelines are as weird as the elementary school ones. They aren’t. But those kind of documents still freak me out. I can see how I could have a list of the objectives for the various courses, though, and just tick stuff off as we accomplish it (in a different order).

Though I know it is common, I’m still not clear why you would hit velocity and acceleration 3 times in high school — grade 9 science, grade 11 physics, grade 12 calculus. I guess I can’t figure out how you hit it differently each time. And if you’ve done it a couple of times without the need for calculus, no wonder it is hard to convince students of the importance of the calculus for science…

But then I decided to see what was available out there that specifically related to the situation where I am. I love my American homeschooling buddies, but I don’t live in the US. And Canada is a different country even if it doesn’t look like it on the surface. Well, I’m in luck because there is a woman who maintains a whole website and blog about getting into college from alternative routes (including homeschooling). * And just to boost my confidence that I’m not the only one thinking what I was thinking the other day about grades and transcripts she has a great post about homeschooling “diplomas”.

The family unit does have the power to confer some honor or privilege upon a child who has, in the family’s mind, successfully completed high school.

But, the family unit does not have the power to confer upon said child an award that others outside the family are forced to acknowledge.

It is misleading, I believe, to represent yourself as having earned a “high school diploma” because that phrase carries with it the understanding that a government-approved organization assessed and granted diploma status. In other words, if it came off your own printer, how “official” can it really be?

I encourage you to read the whole thing, but the point is that a diploma is, fundamentally, a government approved document. And also that you don’t need one to get into college. Many universities will take other evidence of being prepared, including parent prepared transcripts, a portfolio of work, and results of standardized tests.

I also discovered, that in Ontario it is probably easier for homeschooled kids to get into university than into community college. This is because Ontario universities now have policies (or are developing policies) for admitting homeschooled kids as non-traditional entrants. They have even had workshops at their collective gatherings, apparently. Community colleges, on the other hand, haven’t got there yet. I noticed, for example, when leafing through the course offerings at our local college in the library a week or so ago that they require a high school diploma though there is a statement that those who don’t meet the requirements as laid out can approach someone for special consideration.

I think I have done enough worrying for now. I’m going to just relax and do what we are going to do at the level that seems appropriate (which, yes, means calculus alongside velocity and accelleration the first time through unless a good reason not to do that crops up in the actual doing of it). I need to deal with my own inability to keep good records so that when we need to demonstrate to someone that she knows these things, I can do so. But otherwise, we are back to our generally unschooling approach.

If any of you are similarly challenged in the record keeping department and have found ways to keep track of things that work (more or less), do shout out in the comments or post and let me know about it. (No, Angela that is not you. Wink You are wonderful in many ways but I suspect you can’t even begin to understand the problem, being a natural record keeper and planner.) I’ve started jotting things in a day-planner and I think that might be a good basis. Other ideas more than welcome.

* The site is specifically about getting into Ontario universities. She does have some links to information on other provinces. But even if you live in another part of Canada, Ontario has the lion’s share of all the universities in the country, so the info is likely useful for all Canadians. (I found out about a year ago that something like one third of all graduate degrees granted in Canada are granted by the University of Toronto, for example.)

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5 thoughts on “more on grades…

  1. I have morphed into one who views the whole process of objectives as “government school speak” , or the language we need to use that attempts to break learning into artifical little chunks. Just like my DH has to follow federal EPA and OSHA language in doing his construction proposals, we need to do so to play along in the game. Every single teach I know will, if being honest, tell you that they rarely meet every single objective in a year, which is why many items are touched upon over and over. They also feel the repetition is so that a student has repeated opportunities to grasp a concept they might not have understood the first time.
    Since we submit objectives in July, I make them very broad and general, and use words like “including, but not limited to” . I’ve never had the school district come back with a magnifying glass about them, as we are always showing solid progress. WHile I know we don’t need a diploma program, many parents just don’t have enough experience with entrance into university to know how to do transcripts on their own. We still feel that a solid transcript and the few community college courses will speak more toward admission than a piece of paper!

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  2. Yup. I’m getting a little worried about high school stuff. Been discussing options with Anoif and starting to research. We can do this!

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