This school year, both of my children are in the middle school years – one is at the end and the other is just starting out, and it made me start thinking – the middle of what?
The name is really so appropriate. They are no longer heavily influenced by mom. They have their own interests that they want to pursue. They are leaving behind the childish pursuits of elementary school. But, they are not yet mature enough for the challenges of high school.
Middle school (approximately ages 11 – 14) are the years to start laying the foundation for high school. But, you can’t move too quickly or you will scare them and make them dread the work years of high school. There still has to be plenty of fun and activities while slowly moving towards them being responsible for their own schooling.
These are also the years to focus on character training. Initiative and hard work will be mainstays for a rewarding high school and college experience.
What’s a homeschooling mom to do?
The best advice I can give is to remain confident in your skills as their teacher. Now is the time to start researching high school – not to push them too quickly, but to prepare yourself for the path ahead. Keep encouraging them, and they will dig deeper.
My children continue to surprise and amaze me with their insights and what they take on in their spare time. Monkey (rising 8th) is teaching herself Japanese, and Rex (rising 6th) is currently researching Vikings and battle strategies (although his interests do still change quite often).
My favorite resources (so far) to prepare for the middle and high school years have been The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling Teens and Educating the WholeHearted Child. I also read (present tense) everything I can by other homeschool moms who have already traveled this road.
There is a world of difference between 6th grade and 8th grade. You won’t believe how much they mature during this time.
Trust yourself. Empower them. Have fun. Enjoy this journey – together!
Gidget has been homeschooling her two children since the beginning with only one unfortunate year of deviation. Her homeschooling goal has always been to inspire a love for learning while recognizing that God has given each child special talents and has a plan for their life. In her spare time (chuckle), you can find her blogging at Homeschooling Unscripted and The Homeschool Post or tweeting as HSingUnscripted.