The middle years are the years where our children are growing in their independence and almost becoming free agents in our home, so to speak. These are the years that great potential begins to be displayed in our homeschooled children. This potential needs lots of guidance and direction, so as to hone in on the giftings our children possess.
As this website’s focus is on the relaxed styled homeschool, you are probably aware that creating a tailor-made curriculum for each individual child is almost essential in unearthing the potential that our children have buried within them.
Ways in which to do this will be so much more than could be covered in this article. Therefore, for time and space, consider these ideas as just the tip of the iceberg.
Homeschooling children during the middle years usually means they are between the ages of 10 and 13, or thereabouts. This is the time of life when our kids are blossoming in personality, character and their ability to shoulder responsibilities. Go with this natural progression.
In addition to the actual curriculum you may be covering during these school years, include your own homemade curriculum. There are many ways to do this. For example, if you have a daughter interested in writing, let her write for a homeschool newspaper, create her own e-newsletter or web blog. Or, perhaps she is interested in sewing. Let her teach her siblings to sew or allow her to take on her own project as part of her homeschool requirements for that school year.
Or if you have a son who is interested in hunting, let him take those wisely supervised hunting trips, but require that he write an oral or written report about it or have him create a list of hunting equipment. What if he is interested in cars? Give him time to take apart and reassemble small engines as well as explore the possibilities of small engine repair. Maybe he would like to research how to start a small engine repair business. Now that is an education!
Think about the endless possibilities there are in allowing our children to start their own businesses. Do not limit this to only your sons; allow daughters the chance to experiment in this area too. Not only are math, research, and thinking abilities developed, but also relationships and communication skills – in both verbal and written forms. Be sure not to let fear of failure hinder this process. Failure is a great learning experience, even though it hurts.
Both boys and girls can learn a lot through babysitting siblings and other people’s children. It teaches them responsibility, gives them a love for children and for serving others.
Community service could be implemented through visiting nursing homes or seeking out elderly neighbors who may welcome help with their housework or yard work. These are things we want to encourage our children to do, hopefully laying the foundation for a life-long desire and practice.
Do not forget to model as many of the above ideas as possible. So much of what our kids do is what they catch from us. No, we won’t be perfect, but if we admit our failures and keep on in spite of them, they will learn to do the same. If we are actively helping others, so will they, at least for the most part. There will always be one or two children that throw us for a loop. The important thing is that we are living lives that are worthy of imitating, making our homeschool a place our children desire to be more than other places. That is the key, no matter what the age of our children are or how long we have been homeschooling.
There is nothing wrong with boxed homeschool curriculum; however, there is something special about creating your own curriculum to go along with that boxed curriculum so that your children are not only thinking inside the box, but also outside the box.
Making the most of the time our children are with us is so very important. As Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894) said, “Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant.” Plant good seeds, beginning long before the middle years, and keep doing so; you will reap what you have planted within your children.