When I began home schooling my children I had no intention of teaching them beyond third grade, but it is amazing how your path takes a different course than you intended. Each year my husband and I would discuss the previous academic year and look at the upcoming one to determine what we thought was best for our sons. After prayerful consideration we would proceed on to the next grade level of our educating at home.
The first 6 years flew by and I was thoroughly enjoying teaching, but seventh grade began to turn out differently. My son and I began to have conflicts and disagreements. I realized that something had to change! Guess what that “something” was? Yep- ME! As my attitude changed, I realized that teaching middle school/junior high could be a lot of fun! (most of the time) My son never really found me half as funny as I found myself, 🙂 but our approach to learning took a=on a different approach. We were able to study subjects more in-depth and have “life conversations” that I doubt we would have had otherwise. It even gave me the confidence to continue teaching senior high.
Why do I share all of this? I think there may be a few of you who need reassurance that you can teach junior high. Here are some areas where you will start to see junior high students begin to excel:
Doing independent work Your student will not need your help as much as they did in elementary school, but do continue to check on them and their progress. Helping them do this will be easier if you begin with a subject in which they are mastering. After teaching the lesson, set the timer for 30 minutes and walk away! After the time has expired, come back and check on him and see what work has been done. Praise him and answer any questions about the subject. If more time is needed, set the timer for any additional minutes needed and leave the room again. As your student gains confidence and is competently completing assignments, add another subject.
Checking/following a schedule Give your scholar a daily schedule at first and eventually allow her to write out her own with your supervision. This will help her see the schoolwork load for the day. You can help her prioritize her subjects and help with her independence.
Checking their own work Show your pupil that you trust them by allowing them to check subjects. I would suggest one at the beginning, such as spelling because that will actually help them if they see the correct spelling once again. when first beginning this process, let them know you will be rechecking it to see of they have missed anything and to hold them accountable. After they have been able to do this successfully, spot check once a week. Do not allow a student to self-check subjects daily that they still are learning and developing. They still need you to catch errors and reteach to clarify the subject matter.
Finding a sense of humor Junior high students are a lot of fun! They are understanding the nuances of life and have finally gotten past the knock-knock and chicken jokes. Schoolwork doesn’t have to be all work and no fun. Find the joy in the daily things of life. Take your junior high student out for a “date”. It doesn’t have to cost anything; a trip to the park to enjoy the outdoors, go window shopping, watch a favorite movie and fix popcorn.
The interesting thing that has happened in my life is that I now teach junior high. I love my students and helping them navigate through these years. I find it fun to throw puns at my student because they either laugh or groan, but I do get a reaction, which is right up my alley. 🙂
Speaking of, here are a few for you to try on your junior high student, educational of course!
- Without geometry, life is pointless.
- The roundest knight at King Arthur’s table was Sir Cumference. He acquired his size from eating too much pi.
Have a great week and enjoy your junior higher!
Lisa, loved reading this post! I agree~ so many of us are intimidated by jr. high material, but there is so much out there, and so much support! Our attitude is so important in how our children respond to us and you are right~ we have to change how we think and give them ownership and encourage independence. We are pretty lucky to have PEP as an option~ we definitely have the best of both worlds (working at home and having an amazing place for them to learn from you!) Thanks for the great insight!
Thanks so much, Melissa! I am blessed beyond measure to have your daughter in my class. 🙂