Ahhh . . . the freedom of homeschooling! Isn’t it great? And in the midst of enjoying that freedom, you’ve asked an excellent question: should I grade my elementary or middle school child’s work?

The short answer is: it depends. Here are some factors to consider:

  1. Some states require grades for all homeschooled students—do you live in one of these states? You can check your state’s law here.
  2. Some families find grades useful because their child is motivated by them—is that your child?
  3. Some families plan to homeschool for a limited period of time before sending their child to traditional school, and they’ll need to supply their child’s grades for school entrance—is this your plan?
  4. Some families just like using grades to record their child’s progress—is this your family? (By the way, we have lots of great recordkeeping ideas here!)

If you’re a parent of a high schooler, check out our Grading in High School series.

Now that you’ve considered the four reasons for grading before high school, you can learn about the two other main assessment options, checklists and rubrics—or go straight to understanding the letter-grade option.