I was pretty confident I could write a book, when we finished homeschooling elementary grades!
I would sing an anthem of encouragement to all new homeschool moms:
1. Be Flexible.
2. Discover your child’s love language and learning style.
3. Enjoy your time together.
The year we started middle school, I was not prepared for the change ahead. After years of feeling like I had this homeschool thing in the bag … I felt like a brand new homeschool mom. I felt lost.
Kiddie cute curriculum became boring. What curriculum should we be using now?
Fire stations and petting zoos were lame. What field trips are left to take?
The interest level has changed … what does he mean he has a “girlfriend” at co-op?!
I was not prepared for middle school to change the ease of our homeschool. For the first time in many years, homeschooling felt strange. I was out of my comfort zone.
Middle School Change Ahead
I quickly learned a few things about middle school boys:
1. They Want Space. The boy does not enjoy me leaning over his shoulder working together. He doesn’t want me to read science chapters to him, he wants to read them to himself. He wants to do work on the computer and he wants to keep his journal writing private.
2. They are Mature He grew out of things he always loved to use. His desire to build things with Legos has faded. Wild Kratts and Magic School Bus are not “cool” science resource. Modeling clay collects dust. There are less “crafts” to hang up. The wiggly eyes no longer wiggly.
Where to Turn
In my effort to adapt to this new season, I went online looking for middle school bloggers. I only found a few, so I tried Pinterest to find some “mature” science projects, but again, I only found a few. For 4 months I found very little regarding the transition from elementary homeschool to middle school homeschool.
I called a few friends and cried on the phone, why is this so hard for me? Their reassurance was unanimous. They all agreed this stage, the preteen middle school years is hard. Especially for a boy. I wasn’t alone. I wasn’t a failure.
I prayed long and hard over my son, our homeschool – even doubting if we should still be homeschooling at this point. But I came to realize and accept the changes ahead. It is selfish for me to ignore them.
It is funny, but what I would share with a first year homeschool mom I realized God had been sharing with me.
1. Be flexible. If something that once worked (for years) does not flow smoothly now – go ahead and change it. We did more online courses and subjects than the traditional workbook. He decided which subject to work on next and graded his own work.
2. Fill their tanks. The year required more reassurance that he is loved because his self assurance / confidence seemed to be questioned compared to superheroes on the big screen.
3. Enjoy your time together. It might no longer be cuddling on the couch and holding hands crossing the street. The cutesy crafts are now replaced with life-size trebuchets and working motors. We took walks and talked about “the girl” in his co-op, why he thinks The Hobbit is better than Star Wars, and why he can’t watch the latest PG-13 movie. We talked about a moral compass, laws, politics, what we believe, and why.
In summary, Middle school mom you are not alone in this change. I encourage you to pray often. Seek wisdom. Encourage open communication – even if it’s not exactly what you want to hear. Trust God. Change might be ahead but your path is straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.
Bio: Stef Latyon has lived in Florida for majority of her life. She is wife to Thad, a golf course architect, and homeschool mom to two hands-on active boys. When she’s not planning the next great field trip, she enjoys yoga and tennis.
Over the last ten years Stef has been a conference speaker, online community encourager, magazine columnist, brand ambassador, social media strategist, guest blogger, vlogger, ebook creator, blog manager, field trip planner, and most recently Geography teacher to 24 students. Stef is considered a prominent hands-on learning home educator.
This article was originally published on our Homeschool Launch Blog.
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