5 Tips for Homeschooling Middle SchoolAugust 24, 2021
This post is sponsored by AOP.
Whether you just began your homeschool journey or have been homeschooling your child since birth, reaching the middle school years can seem a daunting task. The change in the amount of schoolwork coupled with the metamorphosis they are going through as they begin to mature into teenagers appears to be a challenging mission to undertake.
It doesn’t have to be.
Middle school can be one of the best times to spend with your child learning together. This is the transition period in their life when they are maturing from a young child to the beginnings of a young adult, who, in a few years, will be creating high school transcripts and choosing their career paths.
As a parent who is teaching their second child through middle school and just started teaching a high schooler (who was homeschooled all the way through middle school), I want to encourage you along your homeschooling journey as you begin the task of homeschooling a middle school student. Here are my top 5 tips.
Involve Your Middle Schooler in Planning Your School Year
While no one knows your child as you do, your child also knows more about themselves. For our family, we are early risers. We can be out the door barely before sunrise to hike to a waterfall and be back by lunch. When we began scheduling our school year, I asked my middle schooler if she preferred to start school early in the morning or sleep in and finish school after dinner. I also give our kids the freedom to plan their projects around their schedules. If they want to schedule a nap on the day they are doing a late-night small group, I do not assign a book report to be due that day. While we know our kids cannot choose to skip taking math, they can help you schedule areas of their planning.
Have a Daily Routine
Let’s be honest, when most of us hear the word “routine,” we think of a rigorous schedule with deadlines to meet every single day. For example:
- 9:00 AM: Math
- 10:00 AM: History
While that may work for some families, we found that this type of schedule did not work with our three students in three different grades with three different personalities. This is why we choose Daily Routines over schedules. What we found works best for our family is to set guidelines for what timeframe all schoolwork is to be completed. On some days, that may mean starting school at 7 am and finishing by 2 pm. Other days, when we have grocery shopping (more on that in a minute), field trips, or PE outside the home, we may start school at 11 am, finish by 4 pm, and take time over the weekend to finish any projects that require more one-on-one time. This is one of the reasons why our family switched to using Alpha Omega Publications (AOP) Monarch online curriculum (see our one-year review of AOP Monarch). We select which days we do school, utilizing the free planner and calendar included with the curriculum. We can choose which times we start and finish our classes. AOP Monarch also grades up to 85% of the work, allowing me to have more time for one-on-one work with each child, and giving us the freedom to choose our own routine that works best for our whole family. Find a routine that works best for you and your child and stick to it.
Find Creative Ways To Incorporate School In Everyday Life
As we share in our recent video, “The Story of Our Adventure,” our family sees everyday life as a chance to learn and grow together. When I go grocery shopping, all three of my kids go with me. We talk about meal plans, balancing food groups, and budgets. While we are hiking, we discuss plants, animals, biomes, physical fitness, and practice courtesy towards others we share the trails with.
Here is one example of an everyday learning moment we recently shared:
My 5th grader was discussing how she was learning about compasses. She asked if we had a compass in our travel gear. Her dad showed her that our phones have compasses that work without WiFi or Location turned on, showing her that we always had a compass even when we have no connection. This brought up the subject with all my children, including my middle schooler who has astronomy this year, which direction the sun rises, sets, and how to find your location based on specific stars that appear at specific times of the year. It was only a 10-minute conversation, but it was a conversation that sparked interest in the study of astronomy.
Set Goals and Rewards
This can be super simple. If my middle schooler finishes school on time each day, she is allowed to have free time at the end of the day. Work with your middle schooler and see what goals they’d like to set each day and what rewards they can achieve if they meet that goal.
Let Your Child Know You Care
Like we said before, this is a time of metamorphosis for your child. Even though we don’t like to think about it, middle school is when they are growing up. Oftentimes, we find that even though our kids know we love them and are always here for them, we need to remind them that we are always available to help them through this time in their lives. Sometimes it’s as easy as, “I saw you made a lower grade on math today than you normally do. Let’s talk about this and see what we can work on together. I am here for you.”
Take the challenge of homeschooling a middle school student, and grow together in this special time in their lives.
If you’re interested in learning more, you can discover the Monarch homeschool curriculum here.
More About the Author:
Alicia is a ten-year homeschooling mom of three children. She shares on her YouTube channel, This Homeschooling Adventure, how she and her husband have a passion for teaching their children about everyday life adventures. Whether it be learning at home or on one of their many journeys as they travel the world, their objective is to learn and grow together as a family. She shares daily homeschooling tips and how her family utilizes AOP Monarch to allow their family to learn from wherever they are, from one adventure to another.
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