Junior High (Middle School) Is a Waste of Time (Yours and Theirs)

Government schools drown kids in busy-work for 2 years of Junior High (now frequently expanded to 3 or 4 years and called Middle School) until the hormones have subsided enough to allow the students to settle back into learning mode. If you have been homeschooling for a few years before your first student reaches the ‘tween years, you probably will not have to deal with this problem — at least not to the degree that the government schools do — freeing you and your students to move on with real learning.

First, you will not have nearly as many distractions (other students) to deal with. Also, those students in your home, being siblings, will not be interested in attracting the romantic attention of the student across the room. Second, the students you have will all have the moral character imposed by your own family’s values, not questionable or even non-existent morals imposed by undesirable family situations. Third, you have the ability to distract your students with subjects of interest to them, allowing them to continue learning, often at an increased pace from before because they suddenly can see their future looming in the distance as they begin to put childhood behind.

Junior High/Middle School curriculums tend to repeat and repeat and repeat the same things the kids have just learned in the upper elementary grades, because there are too many other things going on in the classroom to attempt any new material. By this age your students probably have several interests outside of the “normal” curriculum topics. Let them explore a little, reading magazine articles and library books, or do some internet research to delve deeper into the subjects they find interesting. So what if all your Melissa seems to care about is her pet rabbit? Let her read everything she can find about rabbits — you may have a budding veterinarian on your hands. Maybe young Scotty eats, sleeps, and breathes toy robots — a little extra devotion to researching and a career in robotic technology may get the required kick-off. My young children used to play with three sisters who were obsessed with playing hospital — every one of those girls has since grown up to become a medical professional. Let your students indulge their interests and see what develops! They will appreciate their newfound independence with self-directed study, and you will be rewarded with not having to nag and prod those students into repeating the same (now stale) information again and again.

Comments

  1. thank you! We’ve been homeschooling from the beginning but I’m getting nervous at my oldest reaches the middle school years.

  2. Pulling my last child out of public school! I want them to learn something more than global awareness! Also tired of being ostracized for being a christian family! She is going to seventh grade! I pray she doesn’t rebel! I just can’t send her there! Public school is full of lies and propaganda!

  3. To MB70 –
    GOOD FOR YOU!!. We pulled our grand daughter out after 2 months in her 6th grade year. Teacher said she would not give homework because that would be unfair to the other students as my grand daughter would then be a head of the class – would not teach above what the lowest learner thought she/he could handle. Also the issues of being a Christian family came into play. Peer pressure from the wrong group is in HIGH demand for this age group. Get your child into several group activities and then they will not miss it so much. Between church, volleyball through the YMCA, diving and 4H she was extremely busy. We found that we could keep her too busy also in which we did not know that she needed to have time to decompress from the stress of public school. Last year we did a lot of field trips correlating with what was being taught. I also had her chose a subject that she was interested in. That was one of the greatest gifts to me. The hardest part is finding a curriculum that would keep her interested on her level as we found out that what she was doing in JR High was really more on the 4-5th grade level of most home school programs. You will first have to unschool yourself. We found out quickly that the biological clock for a teen is totally different than mind. Her learning was actually better during the hours of 10-2 So sleep ins were encouraged. This also gave me quiet time to complete anything I needed to get done before class started. Be flexible but keep to a schedule. Understanding that there will be times of daydreaming or just not getting as much done one day compared to the next is also normal. You have to be flexible but guiding – we cover the same topics just not as deep – use this time for more hands on project work. Now as we pass by her old school – she just waves and says she has more fun and looks forward to her “brain hurting”.

  4. I wish I would have been home schooled because I went to school with horrible kids for 12 long damn years and they bullied me terribly! People say kids should be exposed to others their own age, but if the same age kids are bullies in and out of class, how can a kid learn with the distraction? If I would have reported what was happening to me, the repercussions from the mean kids would have been traumatic. I applaud the father who slapped the 5 year old boy with a restraining order because the boy threatened the man’s 6 year old daughter. She should feel safe to learn all she can and feel good about herself!

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