"My child is behind."
"They failed the test, now what?"
"Should I test?"
"Do I need a report card?
"How do I know when they are ready for the next grade?"
All of these statements show me one thing... We often get hung up on looking at the wrong type of "progress."
It's hard to switch mindsets when a family decides to begin homeschooling. The majority of people grew up going to public or private school - some type of "mass education." So picture one teacher with 20+ students in their classroom. They need to make sure each child is progressing to the next level. They can't work with each child individually on each subject. If they did that, they would never get anything accomplished! The only way for the teacher to know if a child is understanding the material is to give out periodic tests.
Now let's look at a homeschool "classroom."
There is one teacher and, on average, two to three students. Yes, there are larger and smaller families, but unless you are the Duggar's there are typically less than 20 students in a "classroom." The parent teacher has flexibility in how to present the material. Typically this type of learning is more like a one-on-one tutoring. It's far easier to know where your child stands doing this type of education. As long as you are active in your child's learning (planning, helping, etc), you will know exactly where they struggle and where they excel.
No one will ever ask your child how old they were when they learned to read.
I had a very good friend of mine tell me that above statement when I was stressing a bit about the own progress of my kiddos. And she was dead on. When your child is an adult and functioning well in society (our ultimate goal in my opinion), no one will ask them when they learned to read, learned to walk, learned to do fractions, learned to do ... add the thing they are struggling with the most.
I think we, as homeschool parents, struggle with all of this because ultimately, we are responsible for our children's education. We can't blame a school system or a teacher. We can't blame curriculum or lack of support. It all falls to us.
Now for a bit of encouragement...
An article in US News published in 2012 states that not only do homeschooled students graduate college at a higher rate (66.7% vs. 57.5%) but (my favorite part), it also states that they are better socialized! (That's another whole issue I'll address later.)
I'm getting ready to start my 17th year of homeschooling this fall. I have successfully graduated one child who is starting his third year of college. My middle son will be finishing up high school (at home) and my youngest will be starting high school (again, at home). I have found in all my dealings with colleges, the word "homeschool" no longer makes them wonder at the success of the child. We have been welcomed with open arms now at four different colleges. (My oldest attends one and my middle son has done dual enrollment at three colleges so far while in high school.)
Let me finish by saying this, stop worrying about grades - numerical or otherwise. Enjoy the learning process. Let your child's interests lead you. Follow their likes and dislikes (to an extent). Do not compare them to anyone, not their peers, not their siblings, compare them only to themselves. Are they gaining ground each year? Great! Are they struggling? Slow down, find the issue, and fix it. You have that ability, unlike most educational facilities, use it to gain the best outcome for your child. Don't feel guilty about doing it either! You want your child to be successful and enjoy learning. Take your time and do just that.