A couple of years ago, I started worrying about homeschooling middle school. It was coming fast and I wasn’t ready. I was sure that I was going to have to change the way we did everything in order to move up to this next level of schooling.
I even told people that we might put our girls into school once they hit 6th grade, so they wouldn’t miss out on anything ~ I laugh about that now!
I’m so glad I didn’t give in to fear and instead stuck with it. I’ve not regretted homeschooling my middle schooler for one minute.
So, what secrets do moms who are homeschooling middle schoolers know?
1. Your role will change.
When you begin homeschooling older kids, you move from being just a teacher to becoming more of a coach, mentor, or guide.
My daughter, Abigail, can do a lot of her work on her own now. I’m still right there to offer a different perspective, an opinion, or an explanation, but she has started to take ownership of her education.
I have to remember (and tell my children often), that this isn’t my education. It’s all about them, so they need to be involved. My job is to set our plans and do what I can to make learning interesting and engaging.
Coaching doesn’t mean letting go, it means walking beside and guiding. We still do a lot of learning as a family, with me leading, especially science and history, but I’m letting her complete more on her own.
2. Discussion is important.
At this age, kids are starting to grasp abstract thinking, which helps conversations a great deal. Instead of just answering specific questions, Abigail is able to discuss what she is learning, ask more in-depth questions, and discover insights she wasn’t previously able to.
Schooling isn’t as one-sided anymore.
We talk about subjects and tie knowledge and experiences together. She’s able to tell me what she thinks about something instead of regurgitating what she just heard.
I love sitting and talking to my teen about what she’s learning. It gives me a glimpse into how her mind works, what she believes and what’s in her heart.
3. You don’t have to change the way you do everything.
Remember that you’re homeschooling. That means you don’t have to do things the way they do it in a traditional school (or the way you learned!). As you move into middle school, keep your teaching style and your child’s learning style in mind when building your lesson plans.
There is just no reason why you have to abandon everything that’s been working over the years. True, you will have to make some adjustments (you can’t just do crafts and call it art) but for the most part, you can continue using your favorite homeschooling methods.
For example, during our elementary school years, I frequently utilized lapbooks, living books, videos, and educational games. Now that we’re in the middle school years, we do notebooking instead of lapbooks, but still use everything else.
4. Life skills become a part of your lesson plans.
My husband and I have always believed in schooling the whole child, which for us means helping our kids grow into adulthood. It’s up to us, as parents, to make sure our children know how to cook, do their own laundry, meal plan and shop for groceries, handle their finances, communicate effectively, manage their schedule, etc.
Once middle school started, I started focusing more time on skills they were going to need once they moved out. Because let’s face it – I love my kids dearly, but I want them to move out on their own someday.
I treat life skills like any other subject by setting goals and creating schedules for completing lessons. We even participate in life skills co-op classes with our friends.
Do you want to know the biggest secret of all? Homeschooling middle school isn’t as hard as you think. In fact, it’s actually quite fun!
Do you homeschool middle school? What secrets would you add to my list?
Make sure to check out all of our other Simple Back to Homeschooling ideas!