I enjoyed third, fourth and fifth grade. But, now that we have hit sixth grade, I have to tell you, I feel the pressure increasing. I know I am not the only one, too.
As I talk to other homeschooling moms who have middle schoolers, we say to one another, "I hope I am doing enough," and roll our eyes looking for a reassuring "yeahhhh."
Why does this happen when our kids hit sixth grade?
Let's face it, it's a time filled with changes.
Here he is going off to his first sleep over camp.
1. MAJOR social changes are occurring at this age. My son has had to work through some real friendship challenges this year. Acquaintances have tricked him, teased him and there is a definitely unspoken "are you cool?" thing going on. He has started to comb his hair (shock), care about what he wears (well, at least a little) and insist on brushing his teeth before we leave the house (even if he already did - I am NOT complaining).
2. He is looking for his VOICE. This is that age I remember when everyone was looking for someone to "hang out" with. Where do I fit in? What group do I belong to? As a homeschooler, I think we are spared some of this sort of pressure. He doesn't have to choose yet between being an athlete or a word-nerd, but he is sensing the difference between his interests and his friends' interests. "'So and so' REALLY like sports, Mom...." says my son who plays baseball, with varying levels of interest every Spring.
3. I am thinking about HIGH SCHOOL. Yeah, I have to admit it. I am thinking about high school. I am also wondering if I will be able to handle homeschooling high school. I am wondering if he will want to go to public school - and what I need to cover before he gets to that point so he's not totally behind.
So what am I doing this year?
I decided to utilize an online curriculum for him. I am using Time4Learning and so far I am happy with the material. The reason I did this is because I felt I could not cover everything I needed to with Language Arts especially.
We are attending co-ops regularly with kids of his age group. We belong to two groups that have a bunch of 9-12 year olds and it helps him feel he is connected to friends who have the same interests as him.
He continues to be involved with Boys Scouts which is a great confidence and independence builder.
What kinds of challenges are you facing with homeschooling your middle school age kids?