I homeschooled my son last year to get him through freshman year so that he could then go to a technical high school which was better suited for him. The homeschooling was a success( I used Christian enlightium academy online). My question is I am considering homeschooling my sixth grader who is already an “A” student but there are a lot of distractions at her new middle school, a lot of profanity and sexual talk. She is a gifted student but is not being challenged at her school (she never has homework because she finishes everything at school) she is acing all classes. Is it hard to have a younger child at home alone, homeschooled ?
Tanisha, St. Louis
My sister and I have been home schooling our children together since, well the beginning. Her children are a lot older than mine are. She has two girls and her oldest went off to Gordon College this year leaving little sister, a 9th grader, at home by herself. We knew this was going to be a major shift.
As you go about trying decide what is the right choice for your daughter, I encourage you to hold tightly to your reason for wanting to homeschool her. It seems you have two very solid reasons for keeping her at home: the academic rigor (or rather lack thereof for her) and the social environment. Sixth grade is an extremely important year–some say it is the pivotal year because a lot of aspects about a child get set. You want to make sure that your daughter has the opportunity to be stretched and challenged in a positive and nourishing environment.
See home schooling as a gift. One of the gifts it offers is the gift of time.
Here are 7 things you may want to think about to help you make a decision:
Consider your needs first. I know this may sound a bit odd because it is about the child, right? As I plan our schedules I try to remember the lesson we parents are taught on airplanes and that is to put the oxygen mask on yourself first. Consider what you currently have on your plate, your energy units, your personality as you are crafting your daughter’s home schooling experience.
Co-create with your daughter. The great thing is your daughter is in 6th grade so she has a sense about what her interests and needs are. Be sure to include her in the process of thinking through whether or not to homeschool. Allow her to share what she would like to do/have as well as things that she doesn’t want to experience. Work together to create what homeschooling her will look and feel like.
Embrace the opportunity. My sister really embraced the fact that she is able to spend such different time with her youngest daughter, and she is enjoying that. When you go through the experience of sending a child off to college, or out into the workforce I think you begin to realize in a much clearer way, just how fast time really does fly. So I see my sister embracing time with her daughter more.
Get help with classes. This year my niece is taking more online courses. This has been a bit trial and error with some of the classes, but for the most part it has been a success. She enjoys interacting with other classmates and it also has taken some of the pressure from my sister to teach all the subjects.
Change up where she works. My niece changes up where she does her work. Sometimes it is at home and sometimes it is at a coffeehouse or museum. Simple things like that enhance the overall look and feel of school and provides something for her to look forward to.
Respect time with friends. My niece is able to consistently interact with her friends which is important. I also want to note that her closet friends are not homeschooled and they don’t even live that close. They are part of our church’s youth group. I say this to say that there has been intentionality to allow space for her to gather with her friends.
Build community. The biggest change has been joining a co-op. This is our first year actually joining a co-op (I tried a couple out in the past and it wasn’t a good fit). Last year, in preparation for this change, my sister and I took time to investigate the co-op to determine if it was a good fit. Since we already have the cake part of homeschooling sorted out (our curriculum) we were really looking for a co-op that offered extra-curricular activities and community. Even though my girls are young, we wanted to make sure that there were older kids for my niece. My sister and I both have pretty full plates, so we couldn’t participate with a group that was too demanding. Our co-op meets for classes on Fridays for half of the day. The kids are with their age groups and they do fun classes (like debate, art psychology and theatre) that we simply cannot provide at home. They also get to have lunch and recess together. It is just what we were looking for.
Tanisha, I hope this helps gives you some ideas as to how you can create a successful homeschooling environment for your daughter. Thanks for sharing your question with me. Please let me know what you decide!
As always, Stay Encouraged & Be Blessed!
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