A good spreadsheet program can become a helpful, self-calculating gradebook, and a critical tool for a homeschool parent. Best of all, spreadsheet programs are easy to get a hold of; several of them are even available for free. Throw in cloud support and phone apps (provided by most of programs) and they become indispensable.
Keeping grades is crucial in our homeschool. While our state doesn’t require it, I find grades to be a very objective measure of progress (for more on my grading philosophy, click here). I thought I’d share how I use my spreadsheet program to keep logs. So for the curious and uninitiated, here’s my spreadsheet grade book tutorial.
I use Microsoft Excel for my gradebook, I already had the program, and their free app on my phone with cloud support makes record keeping so effortless. All my screenshots and instructions in this tutorial are based on Excel, but any good spreadsheet program will do just fine (there are some great free ones out there). The formulas I show will work in any program.
Let’s get started!
First things first – the master page. The master page is the place all the final grades will end up. I design mine to be a printable report card. I do one master page per student, per grade, but this is by no means the only way to do things. In fact, a master page isn’t even needed at all.
Here is my master page. Shown is my fourth-grade year report card. On the screen is the first term, but the whole page includes all three. All the grades shown are placeholder ‘fake’ grades to test the formulas and make sure everything is working correctly. I will add the letter grades after the real scores have been calculated.
Formatting is a matter of taste. I like this style and use it throughout the book, but anything will do. The addition of color might be a nice touch, but I haven’t ever bothered to add any. The important thing is to have a cell for each grade that needs to be displayed.
After my master list is assembled, I create a page for each subject I’ll need a grade for. For subjects that have multiple types of grades, they can go on the same page. I do take a minute to color code here. Below are the pages I have in this grade book. (Click or tap to enlarge)