Purpose for Students
Middle school is the pause between elementary school and high school. Children learn at different rates –not just homeschoolers, ALL kids! The pause, middle school, gives slow or reluctant learners time to catch up before high school. At the same time, it gives quick and academically capable children a chance to continue learning at their level. Do you find yourself becoming stressed out over middle school? Read my article, Taming Middle School Anxiety. It's sure to help you and your student calm any anxiety this stage of life brings.
The first purpose of middle school is to give students in need some remedial help. Students below grade level in math can spend time focusing on math. They can use the time to reach grade level. The good news about middle school is that it’s impossible for you to be behind. If your child is below grade level, then the purpose of middle school is to help them achieve grade level. You haven’t done anything wrong and your child is exactly where they should be.
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The second purpose is to give students who are ahead of grade level the chance to keep moving ahead, straight into high school level work. Children completing high school level work competently, using high school level material with good understanding, can obtain early high school credits on their transcripts. Algebra, biology, and foreign language are common high school level classes to teach in the middle school years.
Some children are right at grade level. Not all children require remedial work or are ready for advanced classes. Your child doesn’t have to do remedial or high school work; you can have them do remedial work in certain areas, move ahead into high school work in other areas, and remain at grade level for the rest.
Your job is to teach your children at their level in each subject, all the time. Your child might be on grade level for everything but math, or excel in foreign language but suffer in math, with other subjects right on target. The joy of homeschooling is being able to provide for your child’s academic needs in EVERY subject.
Middle school is a time for your children to learn something new. They need to learn how to learn, and should become increasingly independent and responsible. You want them to start taking ownership of their own education.
Parents often believe that on the first day of seventh grade their children will become independent and responsible. If you think they will, you’re going to be sadly disappointed.
Independence doesn’t happen abruptly; it happens in fits and starts. Children will be independent one day, and completely irresponsible the next. You need to be understanding. Like the hormones that affect a young person’s mood from day-to-day, the same is true of their independence.
For boys and girls alike, independence and responsibility is not a straight line. It has its ups and downs. It’s challenging; as a parent, you never know which kind of child you’re going to wake up to in the morning.
Purpose for Parents
The first purpose of middle school for parents is to spend time learning how to homeschool high school. This is your job. Home education is your chosen vocation. You need to include continuing education in order to avoid a crash and burn during the high school years. Learn what you need to know so you do not panic. You have to invest.
You’re not only investing in college for your child, you’re investing in yourself and your homeschool. Take classes about homeschooling high school and go on a business trip for homeschool parents; that is, attend a homeschool convention. Take parent education training classes online, read books about high school, and buy books about college admission and scholarships. This will all help you afford college and help your child go on to life beyond homeschool -college and career.
Middle school is the best time to learn about homeschooling high school. Identify your fears and educate yourself. If you’re petrified of teaching algebra, you can educate yourself on algebra and the different curriculum available.
Learn more about high school while your child is in middle school. This is training time for you, not the final exam. This is your opportunity to get better at homeschooling.
Your job as the parent is not to panic. Fear of high school is usually what causes parents to quit homeschooling. Don't let fear rule your life. Become more educated so you can make informed decisions about your child’s future, instead of fear-based decisions. Knowledge is power. Knowing more about middle school and high school will remove the fear so you can make an educated decision. Learn more to help you become more confident over time.
The second purpose for homeschool parents is to practice your record keeping skills. Begin to learn all about record keeping before your children are in high school. Keep great records and move forward with confidence. This is an opportunity for you to learn without any possibility of failure.
Practice keeping records as if your child was in high school. Begin working on a transcript and write course descriptions. Learn what type of attendance records homeschoolers must keep in your state. This will prevent panic when you face high school. For more information on record keeping, you might want to check out my book, Setting the Records Straight. It describes how to keep records and create transcripts and course descriptions.
Your most important purpose during middle school is to enjoy learning with your children. Enjoy this time with them while they’re young. These are the last few years they will value your opinion and won’t insist on having their own. Value this time; learn to love and cherish it.
Your role as parent is to work yourself out of a job within the next six years. Train your children to become young adults who can live independently. It is a six-year process; you won’t create an independent young adult instantaneously. From the time they’re 12 until they’re 18, it’s going to take a lot of effort on your part.
Would you like to learn more about homeschooling middle school?
This article is the first chapter of my Coffee Break Book, Homeschooling Middle School with Powerful Purpose: How to Successfully Navigate 6th through 8th Grade. Regular price is only $4.49 for Kindle, and $7.95 for paperback. Grab your copy here today! It's free through August 6 so go grab it before it's gone!
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