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 your homeschool tween 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 with your homeschool tween!
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 your homeschool tween 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 your homeschool tween 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 your homeschool tween 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 checkbook. 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.