Middle School

5 Steps to Give our Middle Schoolers the Gift of Time Management

When people ask me about priorities or goals in my homeschool, I forego the usual “love of learning, top academic school acceptance, being a rocket scientist” answers for something a little more simple. One of my top priorities as a homeschool parent, is to prepare my children to survive out there in the big wide world. We teach math, foreign languages, art, and history, but how many of us really take the time to teach our children one of the most important skills they’ll need as adults? I’m talking about time management.

Why Time Management Is a Big Deal

When I was growing up, we were never explicitly taught how to manage our time as students. We were told what to do, when to do it, and if we were late, we were docked marks or failed the assignments. In between the giving of an assignment and the successful handing in of said assignment, there was a lot of work to be done, but no one taught us how to manage that work. 

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A Parent's Guide to Celebrating National Selfie Day with Your Children

Summer is about more than a change of season, it's about a change of pace. It's time to re-evaluate priorities, inject fun, and make memories. If you're a parent and you've done all the memory making you can come up with, jump into your children's world for inspiration, taking your cues from National Selfie Day, always on June 21. 

Stop! I Need to Take a Selfie!

We adults tend to poo-poo the lowly selfie. We've grown weary of pouty lips and duck faces. I'm not going to argue for selfies. I am going to challenge you to think outside the box and focus on the relationship with your teen. After all, isn't that one of the reasons you're homeschooling? You can do this, mom. So grab your teen and a smartphone and prepare to make some memories.

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Homeschooling During the Tween Years: Tips from a Mom of Tweens

There are many times in our homeschooling journey when we need to tweak our approach. We need to understand the phases our kids are going through, and make adjustments. One of those times is the tween years. As our kids move into this time between being kids and teens, everything in their lives begins to change. The way we homeschool them is no exception. One of the beautiful things about homeschooling is the ability to adjust to whatever phase of life our children are in and make their education suit their needs. The tween years are a time of increased independence as well as changes in attitude and interests. This is when kids start to really discover what they are interested in. Here are a few things I've learned about homeschooling during the tween years.

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The Lowdown on Independent Learning for Homeschooled Kids

As homeschoolers, the idea of having children who can complete school lessons, projects, and assignments on their own can be enticing. Mom, who usually bears the burden of the homeschool planning and teaching, gets a break, and children take responsibility for their own education. Sounds like a win for both parties, right? Yes, but let's delve into this idea of independent learning more deeply.

How do you know when your child is ready to learn on his own? How much should you push your children towards working solo? Exactly how do you train your kids to learn independently? Is independent learning even possible?

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Six Fantastic (and Free) YouTube Art Lessons for Middle School

I have always enjoyed doing arts and crafts projects with my boys as an add-on to our homeschool curriculum. But as they’ve gotten older, I have found it a bit harder to teach them art because they have less patience with the process of art. They want to have the satisfaction of a completed project at the conclusion of an art lesson instead of working for hours upon hours or days upon days to create something to be proud of.

In desperation to find art projects they would all be willing to work on, I turned to YouTube. Success! We found plenty of  wonderful videos and have now started using them once a week as informal homeschool art classes.

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Choosing Curriculum: Should Your Middle Schooler Have a Say?

How much freedom do you give your middle school child when it comes to homeschooling? Does your tween get to choose when to wake up, what to wear, and what order to study different subjects? Does he create his own research projects and find extra books to read or documentaries to watch? It's during these middle grades that most parents begin to foster greater and independence by offering more decision making power to their tweens and teens. When it comes to shopping for homeschool curriculum, do you make the decision all by yourself? Or do you look for input from your child, discuss the options, and let your tween or teen help make the final choice?

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3 Easy Ways to Build Independence in Middle Schoolers

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.

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What a 1912 Eighth Grade Exam Taught Me About Choosing Homeschool Curriculum

With one foot in childhood and the other entering adulthood, eighth-grade is a pivotal time. Choosing homeschool curriculum can be nerve-racking when you realize that eighth grade can set your child up for success or hold him back. I found inspiration for my son's curriculum choices in a very odd place—a 1912 eighth grade exam.

Learning the art of cursive or diagramming sentences from the Bible seems archaic by today’s educational standards. However, the old-fashioned testing standards I saw in this old test helped me find a middle ground between relaxed and restrictive homeschooling. Here are three lessons I learned from this relic of one-room school days.

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