No matter what type of homeschooling curriculum or methodology you use, this simple graphic tool will help you be a more effective teacher and your student a better learner.
This is my favorite graphic tool because it is SO helpful, on so many fronts, for both me and my students! Maybe this is something you have never done, but I have been guilty of quickly throwing an assignment at a student, without really thinking it through, let alone sufficiently explaining it. And then I would wonder why it wasn’t at all what I was expecting when it was done! Especially if you are a newbie at homeschooling, I bet you have struggled with this, too.
A simple rubric often eliminates this problem by:
- helping you think through the assignment before you give it.
- giving you a clear, concrete way to explain exactly what you want your student to do.
- providing a written reminder to your student of what he’s aiming for as he works on the assignment.
- offering you the perfect tool to evaluate and discuss your student’s work with her.
Rubrics work equally well with written assignments, oral presentations, hands on projects or anything else you might dream up, for history, science, language arts and many other subjects you teach. You can make your rubric as simple or complicated as you want, depending upon the age of your student and your grading criteria.
This rubric is a simple one suitable for a story written by a late elementary student.
Personally, I did not grade my children at that age, but I did use a rubric to insure that we both understood what was expected in an assignment.
How to Make Your Own
- View and download this sample of of a (blank) basic rubric.
- Decide which skills or concepts you want to evaluate.
- List the most important ones in the first column on the left.
- Create a table in Microsoft Word or software similar, or use the blank grid provided on the Train up a Child Publishing Tools CD if you happen own one of our Unit Programs. Type or write in the criteria under the numbers with the highest number being the best score. Notice the wording on the sample criteria to help you develop your own.
- You may add rows or columns if you would like a more fine-tuned system.
- Share the rubric with your student to explain your expectations for the assignment. Encourage her to check the rubric while she is working on the assignment to make sure it is completely finished before it is turned in.
- Evaluate the assignment using the rubric and calculate the points if you are giving your student a grade for that assignment.
- As the teacher, you determine the grading scale depending on the number of elements and whether certain elements are more important than others. With our example, a possible grading scale would be:
9—12 points Passing
below 9 points Reteach
Another possible scoring system could be:
below 8 Reteach
I actually waited as long as I could to begin formal grading; I didn’t begin until half way through middle school. But whether you decide to grade earlier or not, rubrics will still go a long way to ensure you and your students are on the same page with assignments and evaluation.
Have you used rubrics with your students? When did you start using them and how have they worked for you?