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Do I Have to Give My Homeschooler a Report Card?

The answer is yes and no.

No—maybe not early on in your child’s education. Though, if you build it into the system, you’re getting grades every day. For math in particular, we would have our kids do a couple hours of math in two separate hour sessions and we wanted them to maintain a 90% or better over that material. If they dropped below it, we would reduce the number of problems they faced till they got their grades up. If they went too fast through their problems within the hour, we needed to add problems. So we had an ongoing daily grading system.

What you’re facing is when your child graduates high school, you’re going to need a transcript. You’re going to need some information, I’d say, especially for about 9th grade and on. You can check the laws in your area or the colleges you’re thinking of having your kids apply to if they’re going to go to college. But you will need some sort of report card, or transcript of what subjects they’ve mastered, to demonstrate their education.

The easy thing to do when your child is in middle school, is to go ahead and design a transcript for their future graduation. It should show each year, the subjects within that year, etc. Bear in mind that homeschooling has flexibility. We had reading time, but we would fill in books that they would study and maybe even use their writing time to write some reports to cover a subject area. So we had a frame of reading, writing, and math—math eventually became science in the course of time. Writing involved essay writing as well as other kinds of writing. With reading we could throw subjects in like world literature, history, etc. We found this format allowed us to build a transcript the way we wanted it to be. Start with the transcript first, and then just fill in your homeschooling along the way.

How To Stop Holiday Conflicts

It is such a common problem; families can ‘fight’ around holidays. I suppose among the most common things moms say (especially with family members who are older and just visiting) is, “Can’t we get along for just one day?”

I want to share an idea you can experiment with as you approach holiday gatherings; but first, let’s think about conflict. What is conflict? Well, it’s when two people disagree…but in particular, they are each attempting to persuade or convince one another about their own view. Almost without exception this comes down to one word; OPINION.

Liberal/Conservative, homeschool or not, religious views, and ideas about health or parenting…all these things are dry brush for the fire of fighting. Of course, if other people weren’t so stupid, things would be fine 😉

So, what do you do? Good communication follows Steven Covey’s thought to ‘First Understand, then Be Understood’. I’ve found something even better is to First Understand, then Disagree. It is powerful because it really targets the disagreement. How often are people disagreeing about things they agree about because they are assuming something about the other person’s view? All the time.

Here’s the experiment— Give up your opinions for one day. Instead, why not simply seek to understand someone else’s view without offering your opinion? Here’s how it might look,

  1. A person makes a statement like, “The President’s an idiot,” or “Religion is the cause of all the problems in the world.”
  2. If you disagree, don’t start there. Instead ask, “How so?” or “What do you base that on?”
  3. Next, repeat back to them what you understand they are saying with an additional, “Is that right?”
  4. Repeat #3 (after they say more) until they say, “Yes, that’s it.”
  5. Finally, thank them for sharing and tell them something like, “I’m going to think about that.”

No, you don’t get to explain why they are wrong or where their ‘facts’ are off-base. You simply want to create an environment to hear their own thinking. In my experience, people will often tweak their own view as they express it out loud.

As we teach in our communication course (and in our book, GLAEN), it takes two to say yes, and one to say no. If you don’t argue your opinion, there simply can’t be an argument.

It’s only for one day and it gives you the opportunity to practice the virtue of careful and sincere listening. I think you’ll pleasantly be shocked at what a listening environment will do. Here are a couple of final suggestion:

  1. Print this article out (or forward it) and give it to anyone you think will be willing to try the experiment with you.
  2. After a few days of reflection, feel free to write them a letter about how you appreciated the conversation, and then tell them some countering thoughts you’ve had since then. A letter can be read over-and-over without interruption or escalation.

Of course, your family and friends may never have conflict (but I doubt it).In the meantime, Happy Holidays!

Dr. Fred Ray Lybrand

P.S. Notice – This is how we talk to small children (we listen).