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It is important to take advantage of the middle school years, between 6th to 8th grades. This is an exciting time because your child is now moving towards more independence, but still enjoys the fun and adventure that comes with home-school. This is a great time to fill in any gaps as you prepare them for the next big phase in their life, which is high school. As their parent and home-school teacher, it is our duty to help our kids be successful during this transition. There are 10 things that your home-school middle schooler should do before starting high school.
1. Move Towards Greater Independence
Middle school is the perfect time to give your child more responsibilities in regards to their schooling. Teach them how to schedule their own week and maintain a planner or calendar. Every person has diffierent preferences. Give your student options like an online planner, paper schedule, a white board, or a phone app. Perhaps give them a week's worth of assignments and allow them to organize it and pace themselves. With giving them independence, I don't mean to leave them on their own. You still need to monitor and gently keep them on task. Work along side of them until they can manage on their own. Time management does not come naturally to most people.
2. Work On Life Skills
You will be surprised how many high school and college students lack real life skills. The middle school years are a perfect time to start building on your teen's life skills, such as cooking, cleaning, laundry, money management, sewing, effective communication, and etiquette. Incorporate them in their daily schedule or routine. Take advantage that they are more capable, but not quite as busy as they will be once they are high school age.
3. Discover Their Interests.
Some kids discover their interests early on and for others you will have to be more intentional on finding what they are. Remember that your child is not you! They may not enjoy the same things you like. Taking the time to discover what they are interested in will be useful in the high school years. You may be able to turn them into high school electives. School will be more fun when your student gets to get credit for doing the stuff they love.
4. Find Opportunities For Socializing
Believe it or not, but your "play date" duty is not over. Just don't call it that! Your teens and tweens still need plenty of opportunities to socialize with their friends. This is a great time to plan field trips and incorporate them into their homeschool curriculum. Even if you go to the same places you went when they were in elementary, it will be a new experience and perspective. And it will be more enjoyable if they get to spend the time with their homeschool friends!
5. Take An Online Course
It is important to prepare your student for today's world. The truth is that they may end up taking online college classes at some point. Online learning is different than in-person classes, so it will be beneficial to expose your teen to this educational method while you are still available to monitor and assist. Middle school is a great time to do this because there is not the pressure of having to complete a certain amount of credits by a certain amount of time. You have more wiggle room!
6. Get Involved In Something
Middle school is a "hit or miss" age. Some students want to be involved in everything and some have no desire to do anything extra. Even if your teen has no specific interest, do your best in finding something that they can get involved in. Then stick with it. It will teach them to follow through with something, even if it wasn't the most fun activity. But it also allows them to start building a portfolio of extra-curricular activities and volunteer hours. This may come in handy when applying for college or scholarships.
Once your teen enters college, they will be expected to write essays and research papers. High school is meant to prepare them for such tasks. If your student enters 9th grade as a struggling writer, they will struggle with the increased workload. So middle school is the perfect time to fill in those gaps. Assign more writing assignments and really break it down so that they feel more confident in writing. Change your writing curriculum until you find a right fit for your teen.
8. Know How To Find Information
We live in a digital age where you can just ask Siri or Alexa for information. But it is important for your child to learn how to be resourceful. They need to know "how" to find information. Middle school is the perfect time to plan a field trip to your local library and learn how to use the library for information. Teach them how to look up information in encyclopedias and how to read an atlas. Show them how to properly do internet research and introduce your teens to biographies and documentaries.
9. Know How To Take Notes And Study
Taking notes and knowing how to study effectively does not come naturally. Middle school is the best time to teach these skills. They will come in handy in high school, and especially in college.
10. Use Middle School To Begin To Practice For High School
8th grade is a good time to use it as a practice year for high school. You can begin by tracking grades and keeping a transcript (especially if you live in a state that doesn't require records). You can practice keeping up with their grade point average. Your student can practice with taking on a heavier work load and working more independently.
Middle school years are great! Your student is older, more responsible, more independent, and you are able to have great, in depth discussions. Soak it all in and enjoy every minute of it. And don't forget that they are still kids and still enjoy doing the silly, fun things!
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Author: Debbie Garza
I am a Jesus loving wife, homeschool mom of 2 boys, love to travel, and I'm always looking for ways to earn extra income and work from home. We strive to live a Joy and Valor life, all for the glory of God. The journey is not always easy, but it is well worth it. With this website, I will share our journey, things that we've learned along the way, and anything that may be useful to empower you to be the best version of yourself.