In elementary school, parents have the final say on their kids education, including curriculum, program and schedule. This is because young children need organization, structure and they need instruction to see the lesson   before they can do it on their own. Homeschool families have several years to develop these skills by seeing what works, what doesn’t work, and by establishing stability with a quality online homeschool program. However, once the student enters the 6th grade online, when they reach their “tween” years, it’s time to make a few changes so they can take the next steps in maturity and in learning independence.

Middle school is the transition period between elementary and high school where students need to start doing more for themselves, having more voice in their education and learning how to do things for themselves, mistakes and all. Parents should already have them settled in an accredited online school 6th grade  which offers electives for students. Instead of choosing all their classes, allow the student to review the list, ask questions and decide which class they are most interested in. This will ensure they are invested in their studies and it should start them thinking about what they want to do in the future. It becomes more important to have these conversations and increased focus as they progress through 7th and 8th grades so when they start high school, they have a clearer vision of their path to graduation.

The next responsibility every middle schooler should be given is to create their weekly and daily schedule of work to get done, keeping in mind their activities and chores in the house. Tweens need to develop personal organizational skills that aren’t given to them, but rather thought through and instituted on their own so they can develop time management and assume personal responsibility for their use of time. It may look different than what you as the parent had in place or would recommend but it’s important to let them figure it out and make adjustments when they realize it’s not working. Thirdly, study skills are crucial for high school and college and since the online school 6th grade work is where subjects start to require more of this, it is the perfect time for them to start practicing. Parents and students should identify the various study methods and techniques, so the teen has an idea of where to start and then let them decide what study technique works best for them. It could be note cards, highlighting by color, writing bullet points or re-reading material multiple times. By developing these skills in middle school, the student will enter high school and be confident that they can handle the work at that level.

Whether you have been homeschooling for years, or beganwhen your child started middle school, take a moment to check with experienced homeschool families, read online blogs and talk with the teachers in the online homeschool program. The goal is attaining success by challenging your tween/teen to take on independence while still supporting them and keeping them on track.

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