The transition from elementary to middle school is a big one – for both children and their parents. If you are planning to homeschool your child through middle school, you will avoid some of the drama involved with a new school, cliquish tween/teen behaviors and other pitfalls associated with traditional school. However, you will still be facing plenty of change: puberty, more advanced learning and new demands from outside activities. Having solid homeschool resources to back you up during this period is especially important.
1. Homeschool Resources For The Changes Occurring In Your Child;
Your baby is growing up! For many children, middle school coincides with the onset of puberty. Be prepared for up-and-down moods, distracted behavior and, for many kids, an increased desire to be will their peers. As a parent and as a homeschooler, you may find these changes to be challenging.
One minute you are doing math with your familiar, sweet child. The next minute, they’re in tears. It’s a roller coaster ride for the whole family. Simply recognizing what is going on can help tremendously. Middle school is the perfect time to incorporate teaching skills your child will need when they become an adult. Not only do kids need these life skills, teaching them to your middle school child is a way for you to acknowledge that they are growing up, and that you know they’re ready for more responsibility. Luckily, those who have gone before you have left a wealth of information. The homeschool resources listed here are just the tip of the iceberg.
- Middle School Makeover While this book can’t be called a homeschool resource, it is a great parenting resource. It gives you some insight on what is going on with your tween/teen developmentally. Additionally, it offers concrete solutions to issues that typically arise in middle school.
- What’s happening? Again, not a homeschool resource as much as a kid/parent resource, this book comes in a boy and a girl version. It provides detailed answers to many of the questions you and your child might have about this new phase of their lives. It does provide anatomical drawings and goes into lots of details – check it out to make sure the information fits with your family’s views/beliefs.
- How do you . . . When you start thinking about all the things you want your child to know before they start their own adult journeys, you’ll find it’s quite a list! Cooking, sewing on a button, laundry, basic car maintenance, handling money, manners, and so much more. The site linked here is a great jump-off point. You still have years to help your child learn what they need to become responsible, functioning adults. Use these homeschool resources to create a plan to take you through middle school, and high school covering all the skills you feel are important.
- Special Education Tutoring. If your child has special needs, there are options available to assist them AND YOU along the way. Often, parents find themselves struggling to understand the learning style of their child, and an outside special education expert can help. Most often, Special Education Tutoring consists of taking the curriculum you are already teaching your child, and molding it in a way that fits their specific learning needs. Additionally, there are tons of special education resources available which cater to children with special needs.
2. Don’t Panic! Homeschool Resources Exist To Help With Middle School Subjects;
I don’t remember algebra! Homeschooling parents often go into a panic thinking about middle school. It’s one thing to teach your second-grader the basics of addition and subtraction. But middle school? Algebra? Science? Those are scary subjects that most parents have not thought about since they finished their own Algebra courses. Rather than panicking, remind yourself that there is an abundance of homeschool resources out there. You do not have to re-invent the wheel to successfully navigate your child through middle school.
- You can learn anything! This is the basic premise of Khan’s Academy, a free online homeschool resource for anyone who wants to learn. This valuable homeschool resource offers instruction in: math, science, economics, arts/humanities, computing, finance and college admissions.
- Get to know HSLDA. If you are not familiar with the Home School Legal Defense Association, check out their website. HSLDA is one of the oldest homeschool resources around. They have been advocating on behalf of homeschoolers since 1983. There website is full of resources and valuable links and is open to members and non-members alike. Their middle school information can help you find the right academic path for your child.
- Assess your child’s strengths and challenges. Now is the time to objectively look at where your child excels an where your child struggles with their school work. If you need to slow down or back up, do it now rather than plunging ahead. In the end, backing up will save you and your child time and tears. If your child is advancing rapidly in a subject, especially if they are close to exceeding your ability to teach a subject, now is the time to start looking for outside resources to help. For middle school children with special needs, help is simply a click away. Special education tutoring can help in areas where you become stuck.
3. As A Parent, It’s Important To Find Your Balance;
Find your balance. During middle school, many parents complain that they are living in their cars. In fact, homeschoolers often refer to this period as carschooling. If your child has been involved in a sport or other activity, it’s likely you’ll see increased intensity during middle school – more practices, more demands on the parents and more time. If you are also involved with volunteer activities, church groups, scouts or other activities and/or if you have multiple children it’s easy to see how you end up in your car full time. Conversely, if you have thus far been low key about outside activities, you may want to encourage your child to get involved in something that interests them now within the community. It’s a chance to learn something new, have fun and connect with their peers.
- Homeschool groups. Do an internet search of your city + homeschooling. See what options are available in your area specific to middle school children. More and more groups have begun offering sports teams, musical opportunities, field trips and other fun ways for kids to get together.
- Your local school district. You probably don’t think of your local school district as a homeschooling resource, but, for many, it is! School districts often allow homeschoolers (who are paying taxes that benefit the schools) to participate in sports, bands, art and other activities at no cost (or for the cost that other students pay).
- Trust yourself. What works for one family may not work for yours. It takes time to find the right mix of outside activity and home life. Ask your middle school child what they think. At this age, their opinions should count when making decisions about their activities.
Middle school is a big step. The next three years will be full of changes for you and your child. You will have great days where you get glimpses of the amazing, interesting adult your child is becoming. You will have days where you will feel like you’re living in a science fiction novel and an alien has invaded your child’s body. Rest assured that you and your child will survive and go on to thrive.