Grade Level Schmade Level? Part One

First of all, let me be clear.  I have no expertise in the area in which I’m about to write.  This post will be pure speculation and curiosity on my part.

This post came to me after I read a few blogs, spoke to other moms, and admitted to myself this concern of my children not meeting grade level status.

How important is this infamous grade level in school that we parents have been convinced is so critical? 

At both the beginning and at the end of the school year children undergo testing, and we parents are then handed results.  The lucky parents get to heave a sigh of relief when they get the news that their children are succeeding at or (whoo hooo!) above grade level.  They get to do the “my kid is smart and that means we’re really good parents” happy dance.  On the other side of the room, however, the parents that get the report telling them that their children *gasp* fall below grade level are doing the “my kid is not as smart as the other kids which mean we’re shitty parents” mope.  They don’t dance.  They go home and feel like jumping into the nearest hole start researching alternative education methods.

When my children were in a part-time school program, they were tested.  I got to experience (sort of) both sides.  The first year, R was above grade level, but by the second year he had begun to fall below.  And I’ll tell ya, it doesn’t feel good when your kid isn’t with the educational pack.  We all want to know that our child is “where they should be” in school. 

This is our first year of homeschooling full-time so my children don’t get tested anymore but there is still the worry of “are my kids performing as well educationally as other kids in their grade?”  Especially when we get around public school kids.  Not all homeschoolers feel that way, mind you. For all I know, it’s just me (but I don’t think so).


About Debbie

I am a stay at home mom of 2 energetic children. I homeschool them as well. I have a great husband who, after 7 years of working away from, finally has a job where he is home every night. We are trying to learn how to live together again along with adjusting to the lower pay that came along with the job change.
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6 Responses to Grade Level Schmade Level? Part One

  1. Heather says:

    I have gone through your feelings in the past but shifted my feelings since. I still worry about whether my kids are keeping up. It’s your children of course you’ll worry about them…what you are feeling is normal!!

    You should feel relieved you don’t have to have the pressures of testing. We have it in April. My oldest has tested BP (below proficient) every year. Everyone is shocked because he is incredibly smart. But he does have weaknesses that we work on and he has strengths we don’t worry about. Testing is a strange environment for homeschooled kids who are never used to that type of setting. My son happens to just rush through the test to just have it done so I am never sure if he actually tests BP or if it is just because he isn’t a good test taker.

    The thing with testing is it is just a base line. It doesn’t cover things you go over and beyond with. Like when my oldest was in 3rd grade we started doing Algebra and some geometry. Was he tested on any of it? Nope. Did he miss some things he should have known at 3rd grade? Yep. In the big picture is just doesn’t matter. Your kids will eventually get everything they need to get. It might not be in ABC order like the schools.

    If you go to they have a link on what kids should know at certain grade levels. I use that as my guideline. Since we do go by state testing I also look at our state’s test standards to see if there are areas we need to work on.

    If you plan on homeschooling long term I would not try to think about grade levels but focus on things they are interested in and expand upon those interests if possible.

    If you are thinking of school in the future you might want to prepare your kids in areas of their weaknesses so they won’t have problems in a school setting.

    Another thing with grade levels that is silly is that my 2nd child’s b-day missed the grade level cut off date by 2 days. He is a very old 3rd grader. He gets tested at a 3rd grade level but he is really 4th grade. His friends are 4th grade -6th grade. He doesn’t even relate with typical 3rd graders. It’s to his advantage but there is also a wide range of age for each grade level and then also boys learn things at a different rate than girls and so on and so on….

  2. Janet T. says:

    I am slowly getting past always needing to know where my children “are” in school. It’s hard, though, because we want the rest of the world to know that we are doing a great job. Why we care, I don’t know…..

  3. beccy says:

    I have no experience of home schooling but I guess as parents we all want to feel that we are doing our best for our children.

  4. Debbie says:

    Heather, Thanks so much for your comment. I actually agree that grade levels are pretty silly for the most part. And I’m so glad that we no longer have to undergo testing. Even though that urge to know where my kids “stand” can be pretty strong at times.

  5. Dawn says:

    Oh, you are not alone. It is a common worry I think, and one that probably will not go away until they are on there own in a successful adult life. I find grade level stuff to be irrelevant, but still I am concerned when my kids don’t know something school kids likely know.

  6. my4kids says:

    With Izzak I already know he isn’t and won’t really ever be with his difficulties. I guess for me I like to just be able to see the progress he is making however slow or fast. Madison I guess I don’t really worry about either. Same thing as long as I see her picking things up here or there then I don’t worry about it. Most of the parents I talk to are homeschoolers as well so we don’t really pay attention.

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