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Is Middle School too late to begin homeschooling?

Good morning Moms!  I am mother to three children (17 son - rising senior, 11 daughter -rising 6th grd, and 4 daughter -rising K).  My 4 yr old completed pre-k in a private school, my 11 yr old completed K-5 in the public school, and my 17 yr will graduate from the public school in our area.  Unfortunately, the value of the education offered in our public schools zoned for our area have declined to the point that it is no longer acceptable even with additional tutoring and teachings at home.  Not only is the education subpar, but also there is a high rate of pregnancy and gang activity in the middle school.

 Unfortunately, with limited income, we are not in the position to afford private school for the upcoming school year.  My daughter's teacher mentioned the cyber academy offered through the school system (GA - DekalbCo.). However, I have come across numerous reviews that state it's nearly impossible to keep up withand extremely daunting as the kids spend hours on the computer.  With my 11 yr old being recently diagnosed with adhd, I really feel the extensive time at the computer would prove to be more overwhelming than managing the changing of classes, impatient teachers and constant distractions she struggled through this year in the 5th grade.

Homeschooling has been placed on my heart and heavily considered. Surprisingly, my husband was instantly agreeable to the idea.  Because I'm not a trained educator, I researched home schools in my area and found two that seemed great. However, they charged between $150-$160 a week.  Although I have a degree in English, I question if I am adequately prepared to teach a comprehensive 6th grade curriculum.  Despite my fear, I know that home school would be beneficial as it would allow me to go back over some content I feel my 11 yr old barely mastered in 5th grade.

Are there any middle school homeschoolers that may be able to share their experience, insight, and/or curriculum choices? Also, it is common to be nervous about serving as the teacher of all subjects?  Thanks in advance! 

by on Jun. 14, 2012 at 8:43 AM
Replies (11-17):
by on Jun. 14, 2012 at 4:12 PM
1 mom liked this

You can absolutely start homeschooling at any age!! My children are 13 and 11 and I just began homeschooling them this year, and they are doing wonderful!

I do have a college degree, but it is in Health Care Administration, so not very helpful for teaching, but what I've found is that you don't need college or a fancy degree or any formal education in order to teach your own children. You're their mother. You've been there from the first breathe they took. You've taught them how to walk, how to talk, how to read, how to write their name, and answered the millions of "why" questions that we've all had throughout the toddler and even adolescent years. Nobody knows your child better than you do, and nobody can do as good of a job at teaching your children as you can.

What I found helpful was collaberating with my children to find out just what they had learned so far in public schools. I searched their textbooks, compared it to curriculum ideas I found online for their grade level, then determined exactly what grade level they were truly on, and created a curriculum for their specific needs. I said at first I wasn't going to buy textbooks, but in the end I did end up purchasing everything but science, because I found an awesome science textbook that I could download online.

My advice is start digging into everything. Go through past homework, textbooks if they have any, tests, projects, anything from public school, then Google suggestions for that specific grade level. The great thing about middle schoolers is that they're learning to be independent and a lot of times they will self-teach themselves if you just provide them the tools. With my two boys I go over the lesson, explain the main points, and then generally they're both working on their assignments before I even finish my explanations. If something comes up that none of us really understand we simply Google it. Google is a homeschool parent's best friend, TRUST ME!!

And yes, it is absolutely normal to be nervous. I was so nervous our first day of school that I almost threw up! It almost felt like I was the new student in class lol. Just take it slow, follow your child's lead, and have fun with it. If it's something you don't know, don't be afraid to say so. Not only does this reinforce researching skills for your child, it also shows your child that it's okay not to have all the answers, and when you don't have the answers you search them out.

Homeschool groups in your area are definitely great places to start. You can also typically find a ton of information at your public library too. I know at mine they have an education magazine the city puts out every month, as well as other informative educational information. You can also ask the librarians if they know of any homeschool groups in the area. Some groups do meet at either the library or the YMCA so definitely ask. There is also several homeschool groups on Yahoo and Google as well. All you have to do is Google "homeschool groups" and list your city and they should pop up.

by on Jun. 14, 2012 at 11:16 PM
3 moms liked this

Glad that I had the chance to read this post. I'm new to homeschooling also and trying not to let my nerves get the best of me for this upcoming school year. It is nice to know your not alone.

by on Jun. 14, 2012 at 11:58 PM
1 mom liked this

Thanks again for the support! I am sure I will be back with more questions as I embark on this new journey.

by on Jun. 15, 2012 at 9:43 AM

I just starting homeschooling my 9th grade daughter at Easter this year, so I know it's possible!

Because of a number of factors, we started out slowly with just one subject before adding more. We're following the local high school schedule for classes in case she wants to go back to finish, but finding the right curricula to cover those broad topics is a fun challenge.

Best of luck!

by on Jun. 15, 2012 at 11:35 AM

I pulled my sons out of school years ago. With the vast array of homeschooling curriculum, there is something for everyone, so curricula will be the least of your problems (except choosing can drive you crazy).My 6th grader was very independent and completed his work nicely.

However, I want to give you a heads up on some issues you may encounter. Just hang in there, give it some time to work out. Don't give up! Middle school is a hard time for any kid, even in the best of schools, so just assure yourself that having your child home is better for the long-term. Your child may balk at the homeschooling as they are indoctrinated from early to the classroom routine and setting and being around kids their own age. Time will cure this problem.

You may have to devote more time at first because she is used to constant guidance. She should be able to be fairly independent, but she is not used to it. Schools usually have a lot of busywork and seatwork, which is unnecessary. Homeschool does not have to be like school. It is ok not to test. It is ok just to have her tell you about what she read and not answer pre-set comprehension questions. Anything that has multiple choice or true and false should not be a part of your homeschool, IMO.

As others have said, you could use Unit Studies to get her started. Just do some research about the different types of homeschooling approaches. There are textbook or workbook curricula, but there are also some that use something called a "living books" approach. We use Heart of Dakota for history, science, poetry and Bible, which is a Christian livings books curriculum. We use Christian Light Education (workbook type) for math. We use Rod & Staff (textbook) for grammar and writing. So, we use a little bit of the types, depending upon the subject.

by on Jun. 15, 2012 at 12:07 PM

When I first began home educating apx. 20 yrs ago my oldest son was just going into high school so NO, it is never too late to begin.  I know of some people that begin in the 11th and 12th grade.  I was a high school drop out but I successfully home educated all my DC.  I am down to my last now (she is 14).  My oldest is now 32.  We also have a whole slew of grandchildren that are being educated at home :-)   You do not need to be "trained" to educate your child and yes, you can do much better than the schools!  You as a parent will care more about your child's education than any one else.

by Sonja on Jun. 15, 2012 at 9:15 PM
1 mom liked this

 Yes. You can do this. No, you don't need any degrees. You R the best person qualified to know what is best for your children.  Kudos for knowing you needed to do something and made that change. :)  

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