Minimizing Grading Time – Maximizing Teaching Time
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As my children got older, keeping up with grading got harder. Most of us, when we chose this journey, did not choose to homeschool because we were dreaming of grading and the great joy it would bring to our souls. I was finding myself grading on evenings and weekends and resenting the free time the rest of my family had. I have found a few things helpful for becoming more effective with my time.

I made grading part of the school day. I sit at a table right in the middle of where the kids are working. I give myself permission to interrupt the kids’ other lessons. The whole point of grading daily assignments is to make sure they’re getting it, so why not address those things right away? It is rather pointless to grade it if you don’t go back over it with them and just hope they look at what you graded.

I utilize the grading features of BJU Press Distance Learning Online. For my older children, I really prefer the distance learning online videos to the DVD or Hard Drive method because of the grading features. While it doesn’t grade daily work, it grades much of the quizzes and tests. I still need to review the grading, but it saves me a lot of time. If I get behind in grading, the student quizzes alert my students that they haven’t studied enough before they get to a chapter test.

I use my tablet to pull up many of the answers electronically. Again, this is super easy with distance learning online because the page of the teacher’s edition that is needed to grade that lesson’s work is attached right there with that day. It reduces the clutter of having a teacher’s editions if I have kids sitting with me and working as I grade. I still love the feel of a real book and a teacher’s edition and sometimes pull them out sometimes to grade.

I keep notes in a binder of things the students missed. For my third grader, a note might say something like – “The sun comes up in the east and goes down in the west.” It also might say, “Needs to review eights” or have a list of a few words he needed help with in oral reading. Some day when we have some time for review, I can go straight to those things he missed previously and would most likely need to go over again. This is quick to jot down, and because I actually review it later with my student, it’s very useful.

I don’t record points for everything. I’m a numbers person. I don’t mind analyzing a lot of numbers. My philosophy, however, is that a large portion of the student’s work is to help him work through the concept he is learning. A small portion is to prove to me that he mastered it. I take grades accordingly.

My goal is to maximize time with my students. The time I spend helping them improve a paper, or improve their study habits, or to relate a story from my own experience is more valuable than keeping lots of detailed records for grades I knew they deserved in the first place.

I have given some other suggestions for time management in a blog post on minimizing planning time to maximize teaching time and a time hacks blog to get the ball rolling on using your homeschool time more efficiently. What are your time-saving grading tips?

Meet the Author

Cynda Moore, HomeWorks by Precept Consultant & Homeschool Mom


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