Since entering the middle school years, we've changed a few things but kept many of the things we've been doing. Teaching middle school doesn't have to be scary. I promise.
One of the big changes, I made in our homeschooling was taking our schooling a little more seriously. I look at the middle school years as practice for our transition into high School. I've increased their writing papers and have actually started grading more of their work. This was the first year that I actually gave the kids a report card to see how they were doing. The report card was a real eye opener to the them. They were able to see how a few good grades can be drastically changed with just one bad grade.
Greater independence with their schoolwork has been an important step for me this year. I want them to be able to think for themselves and learn how to manage their time. I'll be honest this is not going as well as I hoped. I've seen improvements as the year has gone on, but in the beginning it was a nightmare. At the start of the year, I bought each child a student planner. They were to use that planner to write done homework from their science co-op class and any homework that they may receive from me. Papers, book reports, workbook pages they can work on their own, etc. I will admit Therese has done exceptionally well with this. She often works ahead. Michael on the other hand, has struggled with managing his time. I added two workbook like curriculum to their learning this year. Memoria Press Geography and Editor in Chief. AT the beginning of the week I assign certain pages, it's their responsibility to complete the assigned pages by the end of the week. This gives them some accountability. I have tried to encourage some independent learning,but I haven't let them go completely off on their own. They still need guidance and will still have questions. They are not adults just yet. They are children still trying to find their way through this crazy world we live in. They will still need a loving word, a kind gesture, and the knowledge that you will always be their for them. The subjects are getting more difficult. The fears and frustrations are there.
Since school is getting more difficult, do't forget the fun hands-on projects. Many kids still learn better doing a hands-on project. Last year while learning about the different biomes, I have the children create their own biomes. They used old shoe boxes, items we found around the house, a few and items from the dollar. They had to do heir own research to see what would be in each biome. They had a blast and really got into the project. Independent learning, researching on their own, and a fun project. It was a win! Just because the classes are getting more difficult and more information is being introduced, ti doesn't mean that the fun has to stop.
Over the years, I have always tried to get Michael and Therese to give me topics they would love to study. This was a lot easier when they were little and we were doing our unit studies during the summer months. Everyone was able to study something they loved, even mama! It's a little trickier now that they are older. If they were working independently it would be easier. We do the majority of our subjects together. I still try to include at least one subject each one wants to learn about. The other student just goes along for the ride. I'm currently planning for next year and I'm eagerly waiting to see what they want to learn about next year.
Park days and play dates are a thing of the past. Gone are they days when you see them zoom down the slide. I miss those days, but a new day has dawned. They kids now get to hang out with their friends and us mamas actually get to socialize. While the kids hang out, we get to sip our tea while it's still hot and actually have an adult conversation. Seeing their friends is important. They need time away from mom and dad.They need time away from each other. Preteen and teenage moodiness is no joke. They need time to unwind and just do things with their friends.
Don't forget to plan field trips! This is a great time for filed trips. You can now skip the firehouse and head t more educational places. A lot of places actually offer classes to go along with the trip. Now that they are older, they can handle more in depth field trips. They can now walk further and sit still during a talk about a civil war battle field. All those places they thought were boring before are now on the table. It's wonderful way to spend time as a family as well. You're making memories!
The middle schools can bring a few challenges, but they can also bring you closer together. We often get told to enjoy the years when they are little. It goes by so quickly we're told. They're only little once. It does, but so do the teen years. I only have 6 more years until my babies are off to college. Enjoy the young adults you're sweet babies are becoming.
Nurture them and you'll be amazed even more at what God and you have created.
Till Next Time,
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