Between the stress of puberty and the increasing difficulty of academic material, middle school homeschoolers can feel more than their share of pressure. During these grades, parents can do a lot to help their kids build an independent love for learning. And, while this may involve lots of time now in terms of training, it can be a wonderful asset later on. When children learn how to direct their own learning, it helps them enjoy their educational journey all the more. Here are three easy ways to build independence in middle schoolers.
1. Assign Independent Reading
Independent reading assignments are one of the simplest ways to get kids interested in learning on their own. If children love to read, parents can simply ask them to choose a grade-appropriate novel and then write a few paragraphs about what they learned. Of course, all BookShark Reading with History programs schedule readers for your tweens and teens. Hopefully, your kids love reading so much that they want to read even more books!
To truly encourage independence, though, it’s essential that parents avoid micromanaging student work. Simply giving tweens and teens space to read and express their thoughts may help kids think about other ways they’d like to learn on their own.
2. Give Kids Freedom to Explore Their Interests
When children have a particular subject or topic they love, let them explore to their heart’s content! For example, if a student becomes enraptured with Medieval Europe, challenge him or her to come up with a craft or research project related to the period. You can serve as a support as he executes the plan, providing needed supplies or offering advice. But let the bulk of the project fall to the student himself.
The next time a library trip is planned, allow kids to choose their own books and plan a few themed activities around the stories they select. Or let them browse educational videos and choose a few to watch and learn about their favorite topic to a greater degree.
3. Invite Children to Teach a Lesson
But one of the best ways to give middle schoolers responsibility for their education is to reverse roles. Switch places with kids. You become the student for a day while your tween teaches you.
Show the children how to structure the information they gathered on their favorite topic into a lesson plan and give them a chance to present the information to you. They can plan a short activity and provide instructions or try to teach a longer unit that takes a few days.
It takes time and effort to help a middle schooler build independence, but the results are worth it. As children see where their education takes them, they’ll grow to love learning for life! Homeschooling is definitely one job that you want to work yourself out of!
About the Author
Selena is a homeschooling graduate and a veteran homeschooling mother of four, including three with ADHD. She and her husband, Jay, use an eclectic homeschooling approach to encourage their children to learn throughout their lives. Selena blogs about her family's homeschooling adventures every week at Look! We're Learning!