**Disclaimer: All information presented on this blog is based on our best understanding of current homeschool laws in the state of Florida at the time of each posting, and in particular the homeschool laws for Hillsborough County, where Class Source is located. However, we are not legal experts, and the information posted in this group does not constitute legal advice. Homeschool laws can vary by county and state. If you are uncertain of the homeschool regulations and requirements in your area, please verify using your local resources. The HSLDA website has a resource which allows you to look up homeschool laws by state, and is a good place to start: https://hslda.org/legal.**
This week's FAQ is:
All the “Grades” questions: How does grading work? Who determines my child’s grade for a subject? Who do I report grades to? What “grade level” is my child in? How do I tell? Do they have to “repeat a grade” if they don’t complete all the work for a particular school year?
We’ll tackle these in two sections: (1) “Grades” questions related to the actual letter-grades a student receives for assignments or courses, and then (2) “Grade” questions referring to your child’s grade-level in a given school year.
First, the gradebook type of “Grades”: As your child’s teacher, you determine what grade they receive for any particular assignment or subject area. If you are using a pre-packaged curriculum, there will likely be a Teacher’s Guide and/or an Answer Key to help you determine an accurate grade. If you utilize a program such as Class Source, our instructors will grade homework, assignments, quizzes, tests, and other activities throughout each quarter, and record the grades in an online gradebook for you. However, you are still the teacher, and the grades you actually record for your student each year are your decision. There is no overriding authority to whom you must report grades each quarter or even each year for homeschoolers in the state of Florida, only the requirement for the annual evaluation (as discussed in another FAQ). If/when you begin to compile a high school transcript for college admissions, you will need to assign grades for specific courses and subject areas, but again, the actual grades given are determined by you, and are kept only for your own records until you submit the transcript to the college of your choice.
As for what grade level your child is in, most homeschoolers determine this based on their child’s age in comparison to the grade in which they’d be placed were they to attend public school. Home-educated students can move at their own pace, which means your child might be taking the equivalent of fifth-grade math while technically being a fourth grader, or still working to complete the equivalent of second-grade reading and writing while being a “third-grader” in all other subjects. That is okay. Public-schooled students vary in their mastery of different subject areas all the time! The evaluation you will need to submit at the end of each school year as a home-educator in the state of Florida will declare only that your child has shown adequate progress, not that they have perfectly mastered every nuance of every subject. You have the freedom to go more slowly on some subjects and advance more quickly in others, depending on your child’s unique strengths, needs, and interests. Being in a particular “grade” begins to matter more only when your child nears high school and you begin maintaining records to create a future transcript. Even then, you are free to move at your own pace and to adapt materials to fit your child’s needs for each required “credit” in their high school career. (You can read more about this in our “What about high school transcripts and credits” FAQ.)
If you want more info on Homeschooling in Florida, we've just started a Homeschool Q&A group on Facebook! You can find it here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/HomeschoolQATampaBay/.