The Homeschool Minute ~ What Grade is Your Child In?

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What Grade is Your Child In?
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Mercy Every Minute   
The Wuehler Family

Do you find it embarrassing when your children don’t know what grade they are in? I usually have to help my kids when they are asked, because we school year round, and don’t always remember when the grade levels change.
It can sometimes be difficult to assign one specific grade level per child. As strange as that sounds, that is one of the benefits of home education.
In a traditional school setting, some children have to be held back in subjects they could easily advance in because they have to wait for other children to catch up with the class. On the other end, that learning environment does not have the time or flexibility to invest in a slower student to bring them up to speed with the rest of the class.
However, at home, your child can actually learn at his or her level in every subject. If they need more help in one area, you can take the time needed for mastery of that subject whether or not it has a grade level attached to it. If your child is way ahead in science or history or language, but still struggling in math–that’s totally okay! You have the time to work longer with them in math, and let them advance at their own pace in the other subjects.
At the end of the day, our goal is progress and eventual mastery … not necessarily grade levels. We work towards excellence, bringing glory to the God who created each child.
May God continue to be glorified in His creation: our children. And may they rise up and bless Him all their days, no matter their grade level.
Homeschool veteran, Mary Hood, writes about the misconceptions of grade levels here:
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It’s funny the things that throw you for a loop when you’re homeschooling. Teach four grade levels? No problem. Volunteer at the local food pantry with kids in tow? Got it. Lead a field trip with a dozen parents and a hundred children of all ages? No problem.

“What grades are your kids in?” <Runs screaming from the room.>

When we first started homeschooling, we’d dread that question. A sales clerk would ask, our child would look at us confused, we would jump in, stuttering, trying to explain that we homeschooled …  and the innocent person behind the counter would look at us oddly.

That’s when we stopped to think, “What is this person actually asking?” Did they really want to know we’re way ahead in math, but slightly behind in language arts, or whatever? No! They’re just trying to show some interest.

What they are really asking is, “How old are you?”
So, we started coaching our children, “Honey, they just want to know how old you are. When someone asks what grade you’re in, just say, ‘Third,’ because that’s the grade someone your age would typically be in.”

Problem solved. If they remember. Hopefully …

But that’s not the only question that drives you crazy. “Are they all yours?” “Don’t you know what causes that?” and the ever popular, “I’d shoot myself if I had that many children!” are all favorites when we’re out shopping during the day. Not. <Bangs head on wall.>

It helps to realize that most people don’t mean any harm. They’re trying to make conversation and they just don’t have any filters.

How do you handle it, though, when people ask questions you’d rather not deal with? What if they’re intrusive or too personal? What if you feel attacked?

We’ve found that people are a lot like chickens–they peck on those they perceive as weak. If you respond to questions with embarrassment or defensiveness, it just encourages them. On the other hand, if you fluff up your feathers and answer confidently, most people drop the offensive. Sometimes they’ll even change tone and agree with you. Maybe they’re afraid you’ll peck on them!

So the next time someone asks your child what grade they’re in and they stammer and look up at you, just smile really wide and say, “He’s ten and he’s doing so well in school!”–even if it’s been an awful week. It’ll get better. You know it.

We just started the next live series of Boot Camp 9-12 for parents of nine to twelve year old sons who want to learn how to keep from jerking them bald-headed to make the teen years great. Every session is recorded and it’s not too late to join! Check it out here:
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The Familyman 

Summer is not over, summer is not over, summer is NOT OVER!!! OK, I feel better.

Anyone who has homeschooled for any length of time has experienced that moment of terror when a friend, family member, or complete stranger asks one of your children, “So what grade are you in?”

Suddenly your chest tightens and your palms go clammy as you look into the blank face of your child. “I don’t know, I did third grade math last year, and I’m doing 2nd grade spelling. MOM, what grade am I in?”

“Oh honey, you know what grade you’re in,” you say trying to recover. “Umm … remember you’re in FIFTH grade, yeah, fifth.

Here’s the Familyman’s tip to avoid embarrassing moments like these: Make up a grade and tell your kids to repeat it if asked.

We all (homeschoolers, that is) know that grade levels mean nothing. But the rest of the world doesn’t work that way. So make up a grade and make sure your kids know it. Practice it on the first day of school (which is still a couple weeks away).

Role play–you’re walking down the street and an old lady jumps in front of you and asks, “So what grade are you in?”

The child should be able to spout off the appropriate answer within milliseconds. Keep practicing until they can do so.

But that’s just for the rest of the world. You keep doing what you’re doing and stick to what you KNOW to be true.

Be real … and make sure your children know what grade they’re in.
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