Homeschooling has been a breeze and you love it: reading aloud, field trips, doing projects together, and learning new things. You are close to your child and enjoy life together.
One day you wake up and there is a new person inside your son's or daughter's body. They look the same--well, a little bit more manly or womanly. But, whoa, he or she is a completely different person. And yet, sometimes, they seem just like they did before.
What is happening?
Welcome to the Middle School years. Bodies are changing, hormones are raging, intellect is sharpening, and emotions are all over the place.
To experience joy and success in Middle School, you must determine to redefine normal for your young man or woman. Middle schoolers are transforming into men and women. That transformation isn't always easy.
Lavish your middle schooler with love and respect, whether they deserve it or not. Make yourself available as a listening ear and be a safe person they can pour their hearts out to.
On the positive side, middle schoolers are entering new phases of thinking, reasoning, analyzing, and other ways of thinking and learning. You can have intellectual and deep conversations with a middle schooler. They have interesting and exciting perspectives--it's so much fun to hear them!
This is the transition time between childhood and adulthood, both emotionally and intellectually.
But, don't see that as a time to "prep them for high school." These are the last years to do whatever you want before you have to think about transcripts and college applications.
Consider rabbit trails of delight-directed learning.
Make sure all your time isn't spent on going places and doing things with other people. Pencil staying home in on the calendar, as well as spending time together that is fun.
Use this time to shore up weaker areas (in a positive way). If they have trouble reading, focus on reading aloud to one another and reading books they love. If math is a source of frustration, consider a math tutor for a season. If they dread writing, shore up writing skills.
Relationships matter deeply. Build a friendship with your son or daughter. Yes, they still need to respect your authority, but you need to give them some autonomy and let them be successful in new opportunities.
When Shine and Jimmy were in Middle School, they joined the sound team at church and were faithful to serve week after week setting up, mixing, and tearing down. It was a great way to serve the Lord and His people.
Middle schoolers can serve in so many ways in ministry, volunteering, and helping you out with projects at home. They can start businesses tutoring, mowing lawns, babysitting, or making things to sell. Don't limit them because they are young.
Carve out time to spend with your sons and daughters to impart the life of Jesus Christ and the wisdom he has given you. We start mentoring our children in middle school, setting aside time to pray, study the Word together, and draw closer. This is the season to pass the baton of faith.
Sometimes relationships are strained at this point in time. You may have wounded your child in the past and not know it at all. Now is the time to work through the hurt and ask forgiveness. Go the extra mile.
Don't make life to serious, though. Have fun! Laugh together! Inspire! Encourage! Affirm! Let boys, I mean young men, protect you! Shop with your daughters! This is a great time to get to know the young man or woman that is emerging as you study together and draw closer to Jesus.
Middle School is just part of the homeschooling journey. We have loved it all! Including Middle School.
If you want more tips and practical wisdom on homeschooling with joy and success, you've got to read Joyful and Successful Homeschooling, available at Amazon. The E-book is available at Payhip and Currclick. Joyful and Successful Homeschooling covers it all: how to teach, homeschool record keeping, how to make lesson plans, how to choose curriculum, choosing outside activities, managing your home, philosophies of home education, and teaching tips for each subject. Recipes and personal stories are included.
Enjoy the journey! It passes so quickly!