Saturday, September 5, 2009

Homeschool Grading: Show No Mercy

I'm a big softie. So when the boys asked me if I would grade their papers, I just slapped an A+ on everything. Or we worked each paper until it deserved an A+, and then I slapped one on.

This was unacceptable to my competitive sons. They don't subscribe to the Barney-esque "everyone's a winner" philosophy. They started telling me, "No, Mom. That doesn't deserve an A. I should get a D for that."

Right, I thought. Like I'm ever going to give them a D for anything.

James called a meeting. "Mom, I have some ideas for our school. It's called Adventure Academy, right?"

"Right," I replied.

"Well, it needs to be more... adventurey."

He informed me that he and Jonathan needed, among other things, an Adventure Uniform. Consisting of what?

No shirt, because that's adventurous.

And bare feet.

And shorts.

I pictured the boys in the dead of winter, sitting in their little school chairs, bare skin covered with goosebumps, shivering so badly they couldn't hold their pencils.

We settled on the above for warm days. Teacher Mama suggested camo shirts and sweat pants for cold days. Agreed.

Oh, and the math blocks I blogged about yesterday? They're not called math blocks, of course. They're legendary square artifacts.

But I digress.

James requested an 'adventurey' grading system. As I listened to his idea, I thought, But the point of homeschooling is that I'm your private tutor, and we work on everything until you get it. We don't need grades.

However, understanding the boys' need to shoot for something, and their fiercely competitive spirits, and loving a little adventure on the side myself, I gave in and adopted James's extremely merciless grading system.

I give you: Adventure Academy Picture Grades.

You get an A if you do the assignment perfectly on the first try. A whip, of course, means you're crankin' good.

You get a B if you do the assignment perfectly, but Mom helped. And you get a fedora because it's nearly as cool as a whip.

You get a C if you handed in your paper, and I found mistakes in it, which I made you go back and fix. Also, this fixing of mistakes is tantamount, apparently, to being speared.

You get a D if you try to fix your mistakes, but it's still not right. And you join the ranks of Lego Indiana Jones natives who've met a flattening fate.

You get an F if more than half of the assignment is wrong. Also, you get bitten by a venomous snake.

James insisted there had to be a grade lower than F. He chose X.

You get an X if you didn't do the assignment, or if you cheated.

Also, you die.

Welcome to Adventure Academy. Don't forget your snake bite kit.