This might seem obvious. If your children were in public or private school last year, just add one and that's their grade level, right?
Well, here's the thing. If your child successfully completed that grade and wasn't struggling, then yes, they are probably in the next grade level up. With the pandemic and subsequent shut down of American (and many other country's) schools, many districts passed everyone on to the next grade.
If you feel that your child might not be ready to move on, that's something to think about.
If your child was already struggling in last year's grade level, that's something to consider.
Did you know (You probably did if you already studied up on your state laws) that some states require you to state what grade level your children will be in for the upcoming school year? So we better get a handle on that before you fill out and file your paperwork.
One way you could handle this is to simply put what grade they "should" be in. It's the "rule of thumb by 5". Take the grade level, and add 5. That's what age your child will be at the beginning of the year in that grade level. So, my youngest daughter is entering 3rd grade.
3 + 5= 8. So she should be 8 at the beginning of 3rd grade. She is currently 8, so I know I have her in the correct grade placement according to my state.
She did not struggle in 2nd grade, so I feel confident placing her in 3rd. Also, the curriculum we use comes with placement tests. These placement tests also inform me that I have her in the right grade. Many placement tests that come with curriculum are available online for free. But remember, each publisher levels their own stuff so if you aren't planning to use that curriculum, the levels don't mean much for you.
There are also some simple tests online you can give your children for a general idea of placement. Here are some reading assessments you can easily give at home. (Particularly The San Diego Quick Reading Level Assessment Test). There are tons of math level online assessments as well.
Understand that a child can be one one grade level in reading and a complete other grade level in math. That is the problem with having to "place" a a child in a grade level on your official homeschooling paperwork. For everyday work, knowing that your child is on different levels is great! Homeschooling allows you to slow down one area to shore up skills that may be lacking, while accelerating the other subject area if the child is having no trouble. In public school, it is necessary for everyone to stay on the same lesson. No teacher can teach 22-30 students different things at the same time. Schools talk a LOT about "individualizing instruction" but in homeschool it is much easier to do.
Study up on what is required for your state. I spoke to a friend in another state who has to put a grade level on her state paperwork each year. She said if that child doesn't do well in that grade level, it's not a big deal. Generally speaking, children can't "fail" homeschool. Mostly because when you see your child struggling, you are going to help them before you move on.
Easiest answer? Place your child in the level they "should" be in, unless you are choosing to delay the start of school from the beginning, which is also OK. (Especially for those kids with late summer birthdays). Have more questions? Feel free to contact me. Just click on "Contact" at the top of the site!