Homeschooling during the elementary school years means teaching kids the basics. It involves teaching, reading, writing, and basic math. Homeschooling during these early years also means setting your kids in the right direction in areas of emotional and social development.
Homeschooling during the high school years means preparing your kids for adult life. This means intensive academic preparation for the college bound. It means internships for trade bound students. It also means slowly transferring adult responsibilities to your children and helping them learn to step into an adult role.
Homeschooling middle school students are a different animal altogether. You have already laid the groundwork to get your children interested in a lifetime of learning. Still your kids are not ready to start taking on adult responsibilities. As a mom of middle school homeschoolers, I find myself in a very interesting place. Here are some I have discovered about homeschooling middle schoolers.
They bicker like two year olds: These are the “mom, he’s looking at me” years, and the “I’m not touching you” years (says the child with their finger 1 inch from the others eye). Homeschooling does not change this. Brace yourself.
They still need hugs: It seems somewhat awkward when a child the same height smothers you with bear hugs, but they are still kids who need lots of love, so I just try to take a breath whenever I can and enjoy the hug.
They have an uncanny ability to trash the house: There are times when I am at awe from the mess they are able to make and their inability to a disaster in front of their very eyes.
They may be reluctant to learn: This does not mean they do not want to homeschool. They just want to work on their favorite subjects. It may take a bit of cajoling to get them to work on their least favorite subjects.
They do not want to be treated like kids anymore: While they may act like little children, they certainly do not look like children, nor do they want to be treated that way.
They have short memories: It is a waste of time to give them a series of instructions as they seldom remember all the steps. You may be better off giving them written instructions at this age, granted they do not lose the paper.
They have an uncanny ability to concentrate: This is especially true when they enjoy what they are doing. I often force myself to not interrupt the kids during long reading jaunts or when they have been playing the piano for two hours straight. Homeschooling is supposed to allow such freedom.
They know how to take charge when they need to: They send me to bed and bring me tea and take care of me when I am sick. They make good financial decisions and can manage their own money wisely. They even give me advice on occasion that blows me away.
So you see, when homeschooling middle school students, you are caught in a strange world between childhood and young adult. Educationally, you need to reinforce what you have already taught them, help them develop habits that will prepare them for the rigors of high school. Emotionally, you just need to hold on tight and enjoy the ride.
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