Are you homeschooling middle school and looking for resources and support? This is everything you need to make the transition to the middle school years.
The last thing that any adult wants to hear is that you have to relive middle school. I’m sorry to be the one to bring bad news to you, but if you’re homeschooling middle school aged kids, you are kind of reliving middle school. Without some of the bullies, but still there’s a lot of angst.
This was an age range that I taught when I taught in the public school system. I taught everywhere from grades six to twelve, and quite honestly, I liked the sixth graders, seventh graders, eighth graders, They were a little hard to handle, but there is a reason for that. There is a reason why six and seventh grade are such tough ages.
With this in mind, let’s begin by discussing what our kids are going through in this timeframe, and how homeschooling changes from elementary to middle school.
How Homeschooling Changes From Elementary To Middle School
The first thing we need to realize is that there are so many hormones involved at this age. Kids cry, and they don’t know why they’re crying. They don’t know what’s going on with their body. They don’t know why all of these things are racing through them. A further complication is that lot of this happens before we start to see physical outward changes.
Before they start getting the little hair on their upper lip, before they start growing taller, before their voices start changing, before other developments start happening, the emotions are there. The result is you can have a kid who pretty much looks the same as your little elementary school kid did last year, but they’re dealing with a whole new bit of angst.
These emotions and changes will definitely impact your homeschool.
What Subjects To Teach In Your Middle School Homeschool
We want begin by considering what is it that we really want our kids to do? What kinds of things should our kids be doing at this time?
My friend, Colleen Kessler from Raising Lifelong Learners talks about the fact that middle school is actually a lot of review. There is a large amount of learning that we’re doing in middle school, that we have already learned or taught our kids before.
The good news is that although a middle schooler will be dealing with new changes and emotions, there’s really not a lot of new material that you’re introducing. You’re going back through the same history cycles that you’ve done before. You’re going back through the same science that you’ve done before. You might be introducing some pre-algebra and algebraic kinds of math, but your grammar, your spelling, your writing – this is all material that they learned in upper elementary school.
You’re simply repeating this, honing it, and getting them ready, so when they go into high school, they can start taking in a lot of new, more difficult material. If you find yourself dealing with tears and developmental issues that are going on every day, don’t be concerned if you are not getting to a lot of new material. It’s completely okay, and actually an expected part of homeschooling middle school.
Independent Learning And Your Middle Schooler
Just like in the later elementary years, your middle school kids are not going to be completely independent. Unfortunately, you’re not going to be able to hand your child a book and say, “Go do your math lesson,” not check up on them, and expect that it’s going to get done .Even if they are working on a subject independently, you’re going to have to be checking with them at least once a week (even once a day) to make sure that things are getting done,
The middle school years are all about working on the habit of building independence, including study skills and how to use a calendar. This is a regret I have with one of my children. We didn’t quite work on planning things out on a calendar, and I wish we would have. This is a great age to learn how to do this and to baby step your child into keeping themselves organized, These are skills that kind of need to be taught for a lot of kids. You’re going to have a few who are a little more organized, but most kids need these skills taught. Middle school is about the age to really make sure that they have those habits down.
If we have a class that we’re taking, when are the times that we can study? Can we schedule in 30 minutes a day? What are we going to do during that time? What does a study routine look like? Those are all great habits and skills to build with your middle schooler.
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Homeschooling Middle School Electives
This is also a good time to to look at your middle schooler’s interests and get more input on things that are going on in your homeschool. As you’re setting goals for your middle schooler, ask them, “What do you think your weaknesses are?” “What are some of your strengths that you would like to learn more about this year?” Get their input on what subjects they want to study and start adding in some of those fun electives.
Electives are something that you can do through platforms online. We use Homeschool Connections which is a place for Catholic families to find electives. Outschool is another excellent option. These are wonderful places to go and find a variety of electives for your middle schooler.
They can also start learning things like coding or video production or taking a foreign language. TalkBox.Mom is one of our favorite foreign language providers. We’re doing Japanese this year with my middle schooler and he is so excited about this. My daughter enjoyed music and dance. Another child did karate. These were all classes that we did outside the home and really enjoyed.
Middle school is a time for your child’s interests to become an integral part of their learning. You are not at the point point where you have to worry about filling out a transcript, or making sure that you study a whole year of chemistry. That’s coming in high school. For right now still build that love of learning and keep it going with your kids.
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What Your Child Really Needs In Their Middle School Years
What does your child really need in the middle school years? Well, they need that habit building. They need a space for those big emotions that they’re having. They need some input into their education and getting to choose some electives.
The last thing they need is for you to remember that a middle school kid is still a kid. Maybe sometimes they’re going to tell you they don’t want to do morning time. Maybe sometimes they’re going to tell you that they don’t want to do the fun things or read the picture books. That’s just part of that give and take that’s going on in them as they’re trying to pull away from you and exert their independence. But trust me, there are just as many days where they don’t want to pull away from you at all.
Keep up the field trips, the read alouds, and the fun activities that you’ve always done with your kids. They’re going to roll their eyes sometimes, but if you just keep trying and don’t give up, they’re going to be just as many, if not more days where they thrive in the safety and comfort of their family. Just keep asking, keep inviting. Your relationship is just as important as it ever was in your homeschool.
A fun way to add a little fun and connection to your middle school homeschool is in exploring fun themes. This is something my kids like to do, especially if there’s food involved and also lots of quirky activities.
Because this has worked so well in my family, we have put together a monthly list for you of fun themes, quirky activities, picture books, different crafts and days to recognize during the month. There’s something for all ages.
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