10 GREAT REASONS TO HOMESCHOOL FOR MIDDLE SCHOOL
Homeschool for Middle School??? Me!????
Day after day it’s the same routine. You’re up early with the kids, helping this child with his assignment, that child with her assignment, trying to keep your little ones busy so they don’t interrupt the older ones (which they do anyway). You’re doing the grocery shopping, keeping up with laundry, cleaning up your toddler’s messes, cooking dinner, and even answering the phone every now and then. As busy as you are, you know that homeschooling for Middle School can be even harder. Your pre-teen may be itching to meet new people, the subjects your student is studying become more complicated, and on top of all that, more paperwork for you! Is homeschooling for Middle School worth all the trouble?
Consider the following:
1.) Educational Advances: There’s no question about it. When it comes to academics, homeschooling works. Statistics show that, in general, the longer you homeschool, the better and better your child will do. (See this site for homeschool statistics: http://www.home-school.com/news/homeschool-vs-public-school.php.) Middle school is a time for your child to learn great study habits, as well as how to teach himself new concepts and ideas. You can expect to see your child take ownership of much of his work and pursue deeper, more independent learning. If your child has already been performing well on his/her standardized tests, those scores will likely continue to improve.
2.) Specialization: In general, public schooling seeks to cover a broad range of topics. It encourages students to learn the basics in many different subjects. However, the Middle School years are a time when you begin to see your child’s special interests and talents really develop. Homeschooling gives families the time and freedom to pursue excellence in these special interests. Does your child like music, sports, art, robotics, drama? When your student enrolls in one or more special classes, his talents will be nurtured, his self-confidence will grow, and his dreams for the future may become more focused.
3.) No Homework = More Family Time: Middle School is a time when the level of homework really increases. Students come home from a long day of school with many more hours of assignments to complete. Throw after school sports or music programs into the mix and very little time is left for family relationships. Homeschooling through Middle School gives you more time to connect with your child, to communicate with them over the new issues, challenges, and temptations they are confronted with. It also gives your student more time to connect with his brothers and sisters, relationships he will have for the rest of his life.
4.) Peer Pressure Minimized: Middle School is a time when kids face many new temptations. Drugs, alcohol, clothing styles, language, gossip, etc. all may become part of the daily struggles of a typical middle schooler. Why not avoid all that until your child is emotionally and spiritually mature enough to handle these pressures?
5.) Positive Friendships Build: Middle School is a time when your child’s friendships become very important to him or her. It’s extra important for them to have time with peers, so making sure your kids are involved in activities with other youth is important. However, they don’t need lots of shallow relationships. They need strong, good friendships with a handful of great kids. This is a time when such friendships can begin, grow, and build.
6.) Bully Problems Minimized: When did you see bully problems reach their peak in your school growing up? For many, middle school is a time for real bullying problems. Kids can feel unsafe, unappreciated, unimportant, even suicidal when they face the same bullies day after day. Kids who are homeschooled often avoid these issues.
7.) Childhood Prolonged; Dating Delayed: “Who are you going out with?” “You mean you’ve never kissed anyone?” “What base did you get to?” Unfortunately dating becomes a regular part of the life of a typical Middle School kid. Certainly kids are growing and changing; they will be thinking about their sexuality more and more. But they really don’t need the pressure of dating relationships at such a young age, nor do they need the sexual temptations that accompany such relationships. Why not avoid it all? By homeschooling through middle school, you can help to preserve their purity and prolong their childhood and innocence.
8.) No Cheating: Unfortunately cheating isn’t the exception, but the norm for many public school students. It’s an incredibly strong temptation for many reasons: too much homework, forgot the assignment at home, doing poorly in class — it’s the only way to pull up the grade, laziness, time constraints of extra-curricular activities, etc. Students who are homeschooled learn the importance of completing and taking responsibility for their own work. They learn the importance of grasping the information for its own sake, rather than to perform well on a test. They learn that learning in itself can be rewarding and even fun.
9.) No Labeling: “Jock”, “slut”, “geek”, “nerd”, “slob”, “prude”, “teacher’s pet”, “weirdo”, etc. It’s a fact of life. Kids label each other in Middle School, and unfortunately, when a child is called a name often enough, he begins to believe it. Homeschooled middle schoolers often represent themselves in a confident, enthusiastic manner because either no labeling or only positive labeling has shaped their character. (You’re smart, you’re funny, you’re talented!) Students enveloped in a loving, Christ-centered environment with positive labeling see their worth in being God’s children. They learn to lead because they haven’t been regularly belittled or torn down.
10.) Discipleship: Most importantly, the pre-teen years are a great time of life for deep discipleship. Students are reading at a level that they can study and comprehend Bible passages. Daily time in the Word of God can become a welcome habit. Christian fellowship with friends becomes richer, prayer time can become more intimate. What does God say about purity, about my friendships, about how I use my time, about salvation? Free Will vs. Predestination, Creation vs. Evolution, Pre-Tribulation vs. Post Tribulation? Was Jesus a liar, a lunatic, or Lord of all? These are all topics that can be discussed in a meaningful way with a Middle School student.
So is homeschooling for Middle School worth it? Absolutely! Homeschooling gives families the time to pour into their children, to make God’s Word a priority, to encourage their children academically, socially, and spiritually. And because students are becoming more independent learners, teaching academics to the homeschooled pre-teen may not be as difficult as you think. May God give you His wisdom and direction as you make this next decision in your homeschool journey!
Copyright January 3rd, 2014 by Gwen Fredette