Homeschooling a middle school kid? We are and, I'll be honest, it's been a bit of a roller coaster. This letter I'm writing is really to myself - reminding me that these years are just as precious and probably even more important than our early homeschooling years.
Dear Mom of the Middle School Kid,
These years don't last forever. Remember that, next time there's an emotional outburst. Who says tantrums are just for two-year-old kids?
Homeschooling a middle schooler is hard work. One friend recently told me that of all her homeschooling years (she has kids in college now) the middle school years were the hardest.
But there's hope!
In the midst of all these physical and emotional changes, you have the opportunity to create a special bond with your middle school child. Focus on building your relationship during these tumultuous years, even at the expense of that grammar lesson.
Middle school is a time of transition and growth for kids but it's also a time that we can connect with our kids in a deeper way. Parenting is so much different during this time. Some days they can act like little children and other days like little adults - each has it's own challenges and blessings.
In the middle of all these changes homeschooling can almost feel secondary. But it's okay to let the school books take second place once in awhile. Share this growing experience just like you did with your baby's first steps and first words. You're birthing an adult and it takes time and a little pain.
Sincerely ~ a mom who's going through this right now
Tips for Middle School
We're in the middle of these in-between years now, and there are a few things I'm learning - small things that have been making a difference for us.
- Focus on our relationship - sometimes homeschooling can take second place. Our relationship as parent and child is more important. If that means setting school aside for a day so we can just spend some time together (without the teacher and student labels) then so be it. Our relationship is so much more important than that math test or grammar lesson.
- Give her some independence - TJ wants to have more say in what she's learning. So I try to offer choices when I can. I let her choose books for history or give her a variety of options for writing assignments. She's also learning to work by herself. Instead of needing me at the table with her, she's starting to work more independently.
- Give her some space - along with that independence comes the desire to have some personal time. This is even more necessary when she is feeling emotional or out-of-sorts. Just taking a 30-minute quiet break by herself can make a big difference.
- Learning to manage emotions - one of the big jobs this year is teaching my daughter that emotions are okay and it's perfectly normal to have some ups-and-downs. The real work comes in learning to take breaks when needed, get alone when you are grouchy, and take time to work through those feelings.
- Don't react to their emotional outbursts - along with TJ learning to manage her emotional state, I need to remember not to react to her emotional outbursts. When I do, the feelings just escalate for both of us. Instead, when I keep a calm and happy demeanor, things go much more smoothly.
Have you homeschooled during the middle school years? What advice would you share with a mom who's struggling?