This post is from contributor, Megan Zechman.
My oldest daughter has hit the age when many parents consider putting their children back into public school – the often dreaded middle school years. This is also the time when some families move away from the style of education they’ve been utilizing for years and begin using textbooks or more formal learning tools.
I firmly believe that homeschooling is an individualized journey, meaning each family has to do it the way that works for them.
That being said, I’m often asked what changes we made to our homeschooling routine once my daughter started middle school.
The answer is, “Not many!”
Sure, we have made some adjustments as she transitioned into the higher grades, but if something worked for us, I looked to see if it could be adapted to fit her new requirements instead of just throwing it aside for something else.
So what is different?
3 Main Differences between Homeschooling Middle School and Elementary School
Less Teaching and More Coaching
My daughter can do a lot of work on her own now. For example, when she was younger, I would walk through her language arts with her, teaching and explaining sections as we went along. Now she reads the instructions and completes the work by herself. If she struggles with something, she comes to me and we work through it together. Because I’m always there to offer a different perspective, an opinion, or an explanation, she feels comfortable to tackle things on her own first.
Coaching doesn’t mean letting go, it means walking beside and guiding.
More Responsibility for the Student
Every week, I list what I want my daughter to complete on our white board. After I’m done, she takes those lessons and plans out her own school week. She is in control of where, when, and how she finishes her lessons. There are weeks when she doesn’t stick to her schedule and doesn’t finish everything. She then has to face the consequences, which usually means having to work over the weekend or having extra work for the next week.
Letting her be responsible for her schedule gives her the opportunity to take more ownership of her education.
Discussion Becomes an Important Tool
At this age, kids grasp abstract thinking and can reason logically, which transforms their conversations. Instead of just answering specific questions, my middle schooler is able to discuss what she is learning, ask more in-depth questions, and discover insights previously unseen to her.
I love having real discussions with my daughter about what she is learning. I’m always blown away by how much she comprehends.
I know the thought of homeschooling through the older grades intimidates some families. Personally, I’m really enjoying these years. It’s such a privilege to walk beside my girls, watching as they grow and change.
Just remember, you’re not alone on this journey. Many of us walking the same path love to share what works in our home. Hopefully you’ll find the ideas you need to make homeschooling middle school easier.
How has the arrival of middle school changed your homeschool?
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