Is your homeschooled middle schooler excited about the school year? You may be wondering how you can keep things real while homeschooling middle school. In fact, you may be wondering…what does that even mean? For middle schoolers, it means maintaining the core values of your homeschool while also allowing them some freedom of choice. To your pre-teen or tween, it means letting them explore and discover who they are and who they want to be. Here are some tips for homeschooling middle school without losing your sanity while helping your child navigate the liberty and responsibility that comes along with it.
Homeschooling Middle School
As your homeschool student gets older, they are often going to have very definite opinions about what they want to learn about. If your middle schooler is anything like mine, they are also going to loudly proclaim those opinions. These tips will help you and your middle schooler make it through the year and still like each other.
1 – Let your middle schooler have a say in what they learn
When it comes to learning, your pre-teen or tween is old enough to have as say in it. Sure, you could easily pick out their curriculum, but letting them help teaches them so much! With your oversight and guidance, they will learn how to make choices and how to take responsibility for their learning. Having a say in what they learn also helps them to really develop skills that they show interest in.
2 – Use Study.com
To keep homeschool real in middle school, you need the best resources out there. One of my favorite homeschool resources is Study.com. Study.com has several different plans for individuals.
They also have a Study.com Teacher Plan, which is the route I took.
The Study.com Teacher Plan is perfect for the Homeschool teacher. There are many benefits, including videos for the class, the ability to assign lessons and quizzes, and the ability to create unlimited virtual classrooms. That means I can create an Astronomy class for my son and an All About Animals class for my daughter. The student accounts are free when invited by the teacher.
You may recall from my Homeschooling 6th Grade post that we're allowing our son to help choose some of his curriculum. Some things were a given. He has to do handwriting because his leaves a lot to be desired. Other things he has liberty to choose. He chose the Astronomy 101 class on Study.com because he currently wants to be a NASA engineer.
This course is a “self-paced course” which means I can assign the chapters and give a deadline, then he completes them as he wishes to. The lessons are engaging, and have expert instructors who make even the most challenging astronomy topics simple. The videos are fun to watch. The quizzes are true to the material. He likes that he can retake a quiz if he hasn't done as well as he thought he should. Trust me, allowing him to take the Astronomy 101 class on Study.com will give him a greater understanding of astronomy than I could ever teach! He doesn't realize that the Astronomy 101 class is a college level class, and I have no intention of telling him before he finishes it. IF he does well, I will allow him to take the proctored exam for it, but he doesn't need that kind of pressure. For now, it's just a fun class about a subject he loves.
I am excited that Study.com is offering a coupon code for my readers. The coupon code ThatBaldChick2018 is good for 20% off your first 3 months of membership (must be redeemed by Jan 1, 2019).
***PLEASE NOTE – you MUST add the coupon code before checking out, it is not automatically applied!***
3 – Set standards for your homeschooled middle schooler
When in middle school, students are moving toward independence. They are learning to set and achieve goals. Set standards for your pre-tween or tween child, and allow them to do the same for themselves. Standards are not a bad thing. Helping your child know what you expect when they do their schoolwork and that doing their work with integrity is important. A few of our standards include not rushing through our assignments and doing quality work… the first time. Middle schooler's should be involved in the discussion of what the standards should be, as they need help establishing realistic expectations. The standards you help them set now will follow them throughout high school, college, and their work life.
4 – Give grace when necessary
You've set the standards, but sometimes grace is necessary. Your homeschooled middle schooler knows that they have a lot to do this year. However, some days things aren’t going to go as planned. You can keep homeschool real in middle school by extending grace when you can. Your middle schooler isn’t going to be perfect. They are in this no-man's land between being a child and becoming an adult. It’s valuable to realize that head on, and know that there are days when they will display a maturity level much younger than they are, and days when they will seem as if they've matured beyond their years. Remain flexible when possible. Extend deadlines if needed when the difference between failure and success is another day.
5 – Spend time with your middle schooler
Although it may seem as though your middle schooler wants to spend less time with you, this is the opposite. Don’t be afraid to set aside school for a little bit and spend time with your homeschooled middle schooler. In no time, they will be off to high school when friends become more important to them, and then it's off to college. These memories will be some of the fondest you have!
Keeping homeschool real in middle school is about making sure your kids learn to start taking responsibility for their learning, but also providing helpful oversight and extending grace when possible. Make time for schoolwork, but also make time for fun and spending time together. I'd love to hear from you! What are your tips for homeschooling middle school without losing your sanity?