Tuesday, February 22, 2011

whats in a grade?

Why is a grade so important?

I find myself wondering why children and adults alike put so much stock in a letter, or a number.

For some reason our society believes that we have to classify everyone. The question most often asked by adults to my children is "What grade are you in?" because a number grade must be identified with a child in order to measure their intelligence, their age, and their ability to complete tasks? I simply do not understand the need to identify children with a grade level. My children have been taught to answer this question with "Well officially i am in ____ grade." This always gets a few eyebrows raised. One person once asked "what kind of grades do your children get on their report cards?" I looked a bit quizzically at first then just laughed and answered "straight A's of course"

I mean really? they are unschooled. We do not have report cards, nor do we have assigned grade levels. My children focus on areas of interest and we work everything else into the study. Sometimes they sit and play video games for hours, yes hours! sometimes they read books for hours. Sometimes we play board games all day long. and sometimes we pack up the car and take a road trip somewhere. Sometimes we play multiplication games when counting the rocks on the road, or late at night when someone cant sleep. Sometimes we don't look like we are learning at all, in fact most times I would say it doesn't look like learning from the outside. Then someone from the outside asks one of my kids something silly to judge weather or not I am doing a good job teaching them anything and they know it. We never focused on it but they know it. It makes me feel good knowing that they are learning things without having to spend hours a day focused on it and bored by the tediousness of it all.

I was explaining how we do school to a friend and school teacher and he looks at me and says O so its like college only all the time, they get to study at their grade level and choose the subjects that interest them, cool! so I guess that explains it. Only unlike college the grade doesn't matter because after school is finished the important things in your working life are your integrity, your ability to do a job and do it well, your ability to focus on the task at hand, not any of that is based on grades. To be happy in life is more important then to get good grades.

This concludes my rambling for today.


  1. And an awesome ramble it was!! When asked what grade Princess is in, I don't really know the answer. I'm not sure why...I guess I don't really pay attention. She's 7, that much I do know. ;-P

  2. I have that same problem. For my 7 year old I tell them she is in 2nd grade and my 6 year old is in 1st. I have taught my kids that what grade your in doesn't really matter because it is not an effective tool but some how its the one that most adults understand.