Junior High is a tough age for students. They are not little kids anymore and they need to start taking responsibility for their learning, but they still need someone leading them. They can be irresponsible and forgetful, constantly needing to be reminded to do their work and turn it in. This is so frustrating as a parent. We want them to be able to navigate their world of learning on their own, but sometimes we just feel like there is no hope.
Don’t fret, parents; there are a lot of good things coming your way! As homeschool parents, you have a unique opportunity to guide your children and watch them grow into the responsible adults we hope they will become. You are pouring your heart into them and it will pay off.
As a parent of four kids, I constantly worry about whether or not I am doing everything I can for my kids. Am I signing them up for the right classes? Do I have the right classes on their roster for that year? Maybe we should be doing more field trips or lab intensives? I want to push them to be their best, but sometimes I find myself doing too much for them. So am I really helping them become responsible adults who can navigate their own education? Probably not, but “I just want them to be successful” is what I tell myself.
Homeschooling Junior High Students … You REALLY Can Do This!
However, as my first child has made it through Junior High (not without tears from both of us) and is now entering his senior year of high school, I realize that the best thing I did for him was to let him fail. In Junior High I let him take on the responsibility for his schooling. This meant we had some missed work and bad grades. I worried that I was hurting his academic future, but I kept reminding myself that this young age was a time for learning more than just academics. I was teaching him the value of hard work and responsibility, which would pay off in the future. Now as a high school senior, he manages his own schedule, turns in all his work, and is able to find answers to problems that he may have without my help.
Why do I tell you about my struggles? Well, because Junior High is a tough age and we want to do it right. Use the time your student has in Junior High to focus on teaching them things like responsibility and taking pride in their own work. Rejoice in the small victories, like when your child turns in their assignment on their own without you having to remind them, or when you both figure out how to upload a project to the Dropbox in Haiku. These are successes that will be oh so rewarding in high school.
Now when people ask me what I teach, I can’t wait to tell them that I teach Junior High science. I get to teach students to learn to love all the wonders that God has created, but most of all I get to help them learn to be responsible for their own learning and grow into the wonderful young people they will become. How lucky we are as homeschool parents to be able to watch this and know that we were there to help foster their love for learning and raise up lifelong learners!
Heather Getson has been teaching science classes online for the last 7 years and loves watching her students find connections between science in their everyday life. She has been married to John for 20 years and has four kids, who she is currently homeschooling. As a family, they love to be outdoors. Camping, hiking, and traveling are their favorite things to do together.