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. Last week we talked about homeschooling middle school and what we can do to prepare. This week we are going to discuss what to teach in middle school.
Here is a list of what your child needs to learn by the end of Middle School. This week we are focusing on Language Arts and Mathematics.
How to Teach Language Arts
Middle school children study reading in a variety of ways. At this age, they will read many different types of material including poetry, plays, literature, nonfiction books, newspapers, and more. In writing, they will learn how to organize their ideas, use and analyze information from different resources and hone in on their grammar.
This is the age when many parents quit reading aloud to their children; however, teachers in schools have found that reading aloud to students can help. How? It is teaching the reading fluency, comprehension skills, and the process of reading. Here are a few things your child will need to know in middle school language arts.
- Figure out the theme of something they read and support their answers with evidence from the text.
- Compare poems, stories, and historical novels, explaining the plot of each and how the characters react to the action.
- Use a number of reading strategies to figure out the meaning of unfamiliar words.
- Learn both the figurative and implied meaning of words and phrases.
- Identify specific claims or arguments in reading materials and decide how valid they are.
- Write arguments or opinion papers using clear reasoning and supportive facts.
- Write for longer periods of time for a number of different tasks, purposes, and audiences.
- Participate in class discussions and do short research projects using many sources to answer a specific question.
How to Teach Mathematics
Homeschooling Middle School Math is a topic that many homeschool parents fear. At this age, many students are studying math that is beyond the capability of their parents. Think about it, do you remember algebra? Ratios? Exponents? This is the time when parents need to make sure they have a solid math curriculum. A few to consider are Math U See, Saxon Math, Teaching Textbooks and Khan Academy. Here are a few things your middle schooler will need to know in middle school.
- Understand concepts of ratios and unit rates, and use the correct language to talk about them (such as the ratio of ears to noses in a class of kids is 2 to 1, because for every 2 ears there is 1 nose).
- Use multiplication and division concepts to divide fractions and multi-digit decimals.
- Understand that you can find positive and negative numbers on opposite sides of 0 on a number line. Know that the number 2, for example, is the same number of spaces to the right as ?2 is to the left of 0.
- Use number pairs to find a point on a graph.
- Use the properties of operations to solve problems, including those of area and volume. (For example, know that 2 (5 + x) is the same as 10 + 2x.)
- Understand that solving a problem with a symbol is asking “what number does this symbol stand for to make the problem correct?” (In order for 2 + x= 10 to be right, x has to equal 8.)
- Understand that assigning different values to independent variables affects the value of dependent variables. (In the equation y= 3x – 2, the value of y depends on the value assigned to x.)
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 judgment. 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.