If you are considering pulling your child out from Public School and plan to begin homeschooling your 7th grader for the first time this January, here is my advice to you!
No matter how excited you are today, there will come a day when you want to quit. Homeschooling is optional, after all. Decide before you start which day you will reevaluate your commitment. Maybe you will wait until Saturday, or perhaps you can wait six weeks. But don’t just wait till you have a hard day, because then you will be reactionary and threaten to re-enroll your child in public school. Though it may be appropriate to enroll again in public school, you don’t want to do it out of fatigue or frustration.
Teach Until Noon
Yes, the school day in mainstream education is much longer, but you do NOT need to teach all the subjects at the beginning. If you are new to this, ease into it. Try only four subjects at first, and make them your favorite four subjects. The more feasible your new schedule, the less likely you will be to give up.
Give your child time each day where they dictate the agenda. Let them be lead by their own interests. They will love having the chance to choose.
Begin to find friends through daytime classes Does your community center offer homeschool PE? Are there homeschool skate times at the ice skating rink? Ask around at church or in your community.
Consider attending a homeschool conference. The biggest one is Great Homeschool Conventions. Thrive is a convention in Winston-Salem. LDSHE has classes for youth ages 12 and up in its family-style symposium. The Homeschool Mom posts many links to local co-ops and support groups nationwide. Here are some North Carolina specific ones.
Will you be planning on re-enrolling your child into the public school? You might want to ask the school counselor what will need to be done to demonstrate your work. Will you need to use certain textbooks approved by the school district? Will you need to prepare your child for a test? These requirements vary widely by county.
Be Gentle With Yourself
Beginning to Homeschool can feel really scary! Surround yourself with positive messages. You might like reading “Brave Learner” by Julie Bogart and “Teaching from Rest” by Sarah Mackenzie. There are many instagrammers, but beware–the trap of “my homeschool doesn’t look like that…” can be very easy to fall into!
There are many websites that review curriculum. You will find your favorites. I personally aim for low-tech, long-lasting and inexpensive. Here are some of the things I love for 7th Grade: (no affiliate links, just my unbiased opinion!)
The Story of Science by Joy Hakim The personalities behind the science principles written in accessible language. Great illustrations. Very engaging.
Madrigal’s Magic Key to Spanish: A very approachable way to learn Spanish, even if you don’t speak it yet as the parent.
“Everything You Need to Know…”: These Middle School Guides from Workman Publishing are engaging. They aren’t super in-depth, but provide broad overviews that become a good base for further learning.