Category Archives: Middle and High School

What to Teach in Middle School

Middle school! Preparing for high school can be overwhelming. Wondering what to teach in middle school? Here are a few basic concepts that need to be taught in middle school.

The past few weeks we have been taking a look at homeschooling middle school. Check out part one and part two to see topics discussed thus far.  As we shared, homeschooling middle school is a time of transition for the homeschool mom and the student. It is a time of more responsibility, fewer hands on cutesy stuff, and more independent learning.  This week we are going to continue discussing what to teach in middle school.

How to Teach Social Studies

Up until this age many subjects — history, geography, current events, and government — are lumped into the social studies category, but once students reach middle school, they will start receiving instruction in each category.

 The separate areas that make up social studies, however, can all be taught within the context of history. Government, economics, geography, and sociology all come together in one particular time and place in history.

Typically during the course of middle school, a student will have one year of U.S. History. This year will cover the colonial period and the American Revolution and continue on through the Civil War.

During middle school students can also spend a year studying the history of their personal state, followed up by a year studying government including the U.S. constitution, the political system, and how citizens participate in it.

How to Teach Science

The key to teaching middle school science? Keeping it fun! Studies have found in schools where the focus of science is fun, students score higher test results and retain more information. How do you do this in your homeschool? Keeping them engaged and interested. This helps prepare them for more complex and abstract science in high school.

During middle school, a student will study a variety of different topics related to science. This includes:

  • Physical science-Including laws of motion, force, speed and the transfer of energy. They will conduct experiments, use tools to gather and organize data, and learn how to make graphs present their findings.
  • Life science-This includes everything from the human body to ecology.
  • Earth and space science-Students will learn how the earth was formed, about the earth’s orbit and how it relates to time.
  • Geology-This typically focuses on a single point of interest like the Grand Canyon. Students learn how to read geological lessons in the rock and discern the effect of erosion on the earth’s natural features.

The learning continues by taking trips to places like zoos, aquariums, planetariums, nature preserves, and tech museums. Students at this age will often benefit from participation in a science fair. If your homeschool group does not offer one consider setting one up yourself!

How to Teach Social Skills

This may be a time of great transition for your middle schooler—physically, emotionally, and spiritually. These years can be a challenge as your child deals with changes they may not understand. With these changes can come problems with friends, relationships, and peer pressure. It is important to teach your child respect, manners, and how to deal with situations that may arise. In doing so it is also VERY important to keep the lines of communication open. Let them know they can come to you with problems regarding social issues. Let them know you will listen without judgement. Take their concerns seriously and you will develop an even stronger relationship with your middle schooler.

How to Teach Health and Safety

At this age, middle schoolers are learning about food, nutrition, the importance of movement and more. Teach your child how to track what they eat, read a food label, count calories, and the importance of exercise. The key at this age is not to hone in on losing weight, or “looking” good, but to teach them the importance of caring for their body and staying healthy and active.

These are a few areas to focus on teaching in middle school. Keep in mind that in addition to the above it is always important to focus on areas that your child is interested in. Interest led learning is an important aspect of homeschooling. We hope this series on homeschooling middle school has encouraged and educated you to homeschool middle school.

 

Author Bio: Misty Bailey and her husband have been married for over a decade and have three beautiful children. She shares her struggles with time management, becoming unglued, homeschooling and finding joy in the everyday moments on her blog Joy in the Journey.

Homeschooling Middle School

Feeling overwhelmed at the thought of homeschooling middle school? Not anymore! This series will break down homeschooling middle school step by step.

This fall I will have my very first middle schooler. I’ll admit I am a little overwhelmed at the prospect of teaching higher level subjects. I also know after middle school comes…. HIGH SCHOOL! Where did my baby go?!

Anyway, in preparation for ME teaching middle school, I thought we’d start a series here on homeschooling middle school. Each week we will look at a different subject and I will share resources, tips, and a list of topics our students need to know. Maybe we can prepare for middle school together!

Homeschooling Middle School 

 At this age, the main focus is to teach our children to become more independent thinkers and learners. Much of the focus in Middle School is on problem-solving and finding more than one way to do things. As our kids enter Middle School the subject matter will be more complicated. But, guess what? We don’t HAVE to teach them everything there is to learn at this age it is important to teach them how to learn and to reinforce the basic knowledge and basic tools of learning.

Another focus at this age is on strengthening the basics.  Before they enter high school our goal is to ensure they  have a solid foundation in mathematics. Reinforcing reading comprehension, grammar, and basic composition skills are important also as they transition from report writing to essay and analysis.

Our middle schoolers have their own passions, interests, and talents. At this age, it is important to incorporate opportunities for them to pursue them. Some of our kids may be  ready to move into some high school level work. If this is your child encourage them to challenge themselves. It is also important to consider what your child may want to study in high school, and guys we can even begin researching homeschooling at the high school level.

Middle School Is Full of Transitions

This season of life for our middle schoolers is one of great transition —physically, emotionally, and spiritually. These years can be a challenging as they face changes they may not understand. With these changes can come problems with friends, relationships, and peer pressure. It is important to teach our children respect, manners, and how to deal with situations that may arise. In doing so it is also VERY important to keep the lines of communication open. Let them know they can come to us with problems regarding social issues. Let them know we will listen without judgement. Take their concerns seriously and in doing so we will develop an even stronger relationship with our middle schooler.

Homeschooling middle school is not for the faint of heart. Our days will look a lot different than they did in elementary school. Gone are the days of cut and paste, messy crafts, and hand holding. Instead, we will be focusing on responsibility, teaching our student how to complete their work independently, letting them explore their own interests, and have a say in what they are learning.

Our goal is to work ourselves out of a job right? And that starts when we are homeschooling middle school. Come back next week as we kick off this series on everything you need to know about homeschooling middle school!

Author Bio: Misty Bailey and her husband have been married for over a decade and have three beautiful children. She shares her struggles with time management, becoming unglued, homeschooling and finding joy in the everyday moments on her blog Joy in the Journey.

 

 

 

 

 

Top Tips for Homeschooling Tweens

Homeschooling tweens can be a challenge, but allowing your tween to grow and learn in the safety of their own home will oftentimes better prepare them for adulthood.

Oh the “tween” years otherwise known as Middle School :)  This is a time where our kids are experiencing a great deal of physical, emotional and spiritual growth.  It is a time where peer pressure and self image plays a huge role. These socially formative years are a great time to be homeschooling because our kids are able to learn in a safe environment free from a lot of these pressures.

However, it can also be a trying time because let’s face it, our tweens can drive us nuts! Mood swings and the desire to be independent can push them to their limits, and make us longing for that yellow school bus. However, homeschooling tweens can be done! Here are some top tips for homeschooling tweens that may help!

 Let them Sleep!

Gone are the days of bedtimes and early rising. At this age kids want control of their sleeping habits, and parents we need to slowly let them have it. Tweens need around 10-11 hours of sleep a day. This means if they are night owls it is okay for them to sleep until 10 or even 11 am. At this point we need to allow them to get up and get moving on their homeschool lessons at their own pace. This is assuming of course they are able to work mostly independently.

It’s okay to negotiate!

Tweens will naturally begin to think more independently and question certain boundaries. Negotiations are okay at this age as long as school gets done. For example, completing a report on time is a must. However, if your tween wants to wait until evening to work on their daily reading assignment, that can be a negotiation.

Negotiations at this age are important because tweens need to feel like they have some measure of control or independence, this comes from allowing them to have choices. Without this they may begin to resist school work in general.

Allow them to study things that interest them!

Have a child who loves animals? Let their science curriculum be all about animals! Have a child who wants to write? Let them take a creative writing course! Middle school years are a time of exploration and homeschooling gives kids the freedom to study subjects more in-depth.

Encourage them to work independently!

At this age our homeschoolers should be able to work fairly independently. Encouraging them to search for their own answers and check their own work is a must. Allow them to work alone and at their own will in a few subjects. This is not the time to check out completely but allowing them some time to work independently is an important part of teaching responsibility. Consider getting them their own planner or a checklist to ensure they get their work done each day and assignments turned in on time.

Teach Life Skills!

Now that your child desires more independence it is a great time to put some basic life skills into practice. Allow them to make a grocery list, purchase needed items for dinner one night, and let them cook the meal! Show them how to make a budget and balance a check book. These are practical living skills that your tween will be grateful you taught them!

Homeschooling tweens can be a challenge, but allowing your tween to grow and learn in the safety of their own home will oftentimes better prepare them for adulthood. By homeschooling your tween you will be able to show them how to deal with real life challenges in a manner that lines up with your families beliefs. It also allows them to focus more on their academics without having to struggle for acceptance in a public or private school.

Homeschooling tweens is a stage that just like elementary grades will pass all too quickly. Embrace the challenge, accept the challenge, and watch your middle schooler thrive!

Misty Bailey is a Christian wife and work at home homeschool mom. She resides with her family in Southern Ohio.  She shares her struggles with time management, becoming unglued, homeschooling and finding joy in the everyday moments on her blog Joy in the Journey.  You can also find her on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram.

Four Online Learning Tools for Teenagers

Online learning tools for teens

Our teens were born into a world where technology abounds. They easily adopt new technologies and many text as quickly as they breathe. Teens are tech savvy, and learn well through technology. Because of this, it is important to have tools available to them that are natural, and easy for them to use and understand.

Here are four online learning tools for teenagers that can make your and their homeschooling journey a bit easier!

  1. Khan Academy: Have a child struggling with math? Are your teen’s math lessons over your head? Khan Academy is FREE and there to help. With interactive tools, questions and videos, it can easily be a full on curriculum, or a tool designed to help when your teen is struggling with a certain concept.
  2. Evernote: Have a teen who is involved in co-op classes? Evernote is a great tool! Evernote allows teens to take notes on one device, and have them available at home to print. They can also share notes with others, discuss class topics, and much more. Teens are able to keep notes and gather sources for their homeschool projects, and then share when the assignment is due. Evernote as a high school learning tool would be a great way to get your teen used to the online world of note taking before starting college. The basic version is free!
  3. The Chemical Touch: Have a teen learning the periodic table? This app (99 cents) provides detailed information on the elements, standard amino acids, and nucleobases. This app provides your teen with a wealth of information right at their fingertips!
  4. Currclick: Offering a variety of online classes, books and resources, Currclick is a one stop shop for many homeschool families. Currclick can be used independently and is a great learning tool for teens interested in studying a certain subject in depth,  taking an online class with friends from across the world, or for a particular subject that mom may not be comfortable teaching.

Teens are able to teach themselves just about anything they want thanks to online learning tools. For more information about how teens are learning on their own check out this post, How Teens are Teaching Themselves. It also includes site recommendations related to comic strips, coding and game design.  

There are many online learning tools available on the web or mobile devices. Finding a learning tool that fits your teen’s needs and interests is easier than ever! Don’t discourage online learning, after all, our teens will need and utilize technology for the rest of their lives.

Author Bio: Misty Bailey and her husband have been married for over a decade and have three beautiful children. She shares her struggles with time management, becoming unglued and finding joy in the everyday moments on her blog Joy in the Journey.

How to Prep Your Homeschool Child for the ACT or SAT

ACT and SAT prep

If you are homeschooling a high schooler, you probably realize that college testing season will be here before you know it, and as a homeschool parent you may be concerned about how to best prep your homeschool child for the ACT or SAT. Homeschool parents are typically the sole person responsible for their child’s education so this can make testing season rather stressful. You may wonder if you taught everything your child needs to know, and if your child isn’t used to standardized testing you may wonder if they are fully prepared to take the tests.

There are a few things you can do to prepare yourself and your child for the ACT or SAT.

Prepare now for testing season

Students who study ahead of time tend to score higher on these tests because they walk in feeling confident and prepared.

You can find study test packets here:

Method Test Prep

ACT Test Prep

There are also free practice tests online:

SAT Practice

Powerscore.com

TestPrepReview

Consider allowing your child to take the PSAT in their early years of high school. This will give them an idea of what they need to focus on and will gauge their preliminary scores.

Standardize Test

Not everyone tests their homeschoolers and that’s fine. However, if you have a child in high school that you know is going to take college placement exams in a few years, test them now to prepare them for the big test later. This will allow them to gain confidence in their test-taking abilities and will make them less nervous when it comes time to prep for college placement.

Be confident in your abilities as a teacher

Homeschoolers have an advantage when it comes to college entrance exams because they can turn preparation into daily lessons. Studying for the test can become the school, after all, they will be focusing on reading, writing, and math while prepping to take the test.

Homeschoolers tend to turn out great scores on these exams, and consistently score higher than their public school counterparts. In 2002 and 2003 the average homeschooled students ACT score was 22.5 compared to the national average of 20.8. In 2002 the average homeschooled students SAT score was 72 points higher than the national average.

For more great articles on college placement tests, check out Let’s Homeschool High School and HSLDA’s testing page.