Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Skipping Middle School as a Homeschooler


Skip...Skip...skip to the next grade.

SKIPPING YOUR KID A GRADE

I never even considered skipping my kids a grade before we started this endeavor homeschooling. However, both of my children have seemed to sprout butterfly wings while learning at home.

When they were in public school, their wings were clipped. My daughter, the 7th grader, was placed in advanced math and science classes but wasn't classified as 'Gifted and Talented'. However, after spending the last several months teaching her, I realized that, although she didn't grasp facts the first time their were introduced, she did have a real understanding of subjects. Also, she's a hard worker, rather thoughtful, and a fabulous writer.

This school year I've had to change two of her classes in order to keep her challenged, and it made me really put some thought to SKIPPING MIDDLE SCHOOL.

COMPARE COURSES for DEPTH

Okay, so with the thought of skipping my daughter in mind, I compared the MIDDLE SCHOOL grades curriculum (from my provider for all my curriculum materials) and 6TH GRADE with 9TH GRADE.

Math - MIDDLE SCHOOL math from 7th, 8th grade is just the SAME as 6th GRADE math. ONLY more problems and an introduction to Algebra and Geometry concepts.

English - MIDDLE SCHOOL for grades 7th, 8th really is just a lighter version of 9th GRADE English, with book reports and less difficult literature. Also, 7th and 8th grade drive home those grammar facts.

Science - MIDDLE SCHOOL is debatable for science. A smart kid can go from Earth Science or Physical Science straight to Biology (used in 9TH grades).

SKIPPING 7th and 8th GRADES is a DOABLE action for HOME SCHOOLERS

I truly believe they put Middle School in there to give kids time to grow up and mature. Also, to solidify skills of Basic Math, Intro to Algebra and Geometry facts.

So, I plan on having my youngest son finish 7th grade, then skip straight to 9th grade materials. Or if he continues to eat up subjects as well as he has, I'll move his courses up to 9th grade level in the areas of his strength.

THE TRICK TO DO THIS SUCCESSFULLY IS....

In order to pull this off, you have to make sure that your child REALLY KNOWS, the following:

- Rules to Grammar
- Math Facts with Speed and Accuracy (addition, subtraction, complex division, complex multiplication, fractions, percents, comfortable with Algebra facts and Geometric understanding).
- Science (strong ability to read and understand techincal or scientific dialogue, good memory or understanding and strong writing skills)
- Writing and Reading (child should be able to read above grade level and be able to write well).

Extra Assignments to Get Your Kid Ready for the big SKIP

- Book Reports (start as early as 3rd grade)
- Journaling (start in 3rd grade)
- Math Fact Test (find fun ways to really solidify the core math facts of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division to the point of Mastery)
- Science Experiment (add mini-experiments to your curriculum to teach kids how to reason for science)
- Logic building (The Art of the Argument is a great tool to teach at 6th grade) also games like Lumosity or mind bending games will help

WHAT ABOUT GROWING UP TOO FAST?

They can take their time in Community College once they've finished their High School classes which gives them the ability to improve their grades. Taking 2 classes a semester instead of 4 required to be full-time.

Also, at this time they can benefit from being both a Community College student and a high schooler, still able to participate in age appropriate activities and see what a beginning to College is like. Many Universities also allow 'Early Entrance' programs and the classes can be taken online. You don't even have to take the class to gain college credit you can 'audit' a class to just be able to learn about a specific topic.

Camps, work in real life internships, or go for it by CLEPing their courses and enrolling into some of the online colleges to earn out 2 years of school before transitioning to a traditional 4 yr college.

The sky is the limit if you are creative.

*Going to College early allows your student to enjoy Co-ops, Internships and even study abroad, yet still graduate at the same age as their peers, experiencing college and the advantages of that explorative time in life in a much fuller way but in less time.

HOMESCHOOLING ALLOWS US TO TEACH OUTSIDE BOXES

The best part of homeschooling for us has been the ability to 'teach outside the box'. My7th grader never would've been ready or permitted to skip to 9th grade material in public school. However, after moving her from Math 7th Grade to Algebra 1, then adding Geometry (at her request) I knew she could rise to the challenge of 9th grade work.

There are no boundaries to learning when done at home.

SO WOULD YOU SKIP MIDDLE SCHOOL? 7th or 8th GRADES?

7 comments:

  1. What will your kids do once they are finished with high school? I started my son in school a year early, but by the time 6th grade rolled around, I decided there was no real benefit to him graduating a year early, I wanted him to be able to graduate with his friends that were the same age. I saw no reason to rush things. I am not putting you down for your choices, I am just wondering what your post high school plans are.

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  2. My oldest son went to regular public school and graduated at 17yrs old. He's now in Community College and graduates with AA in the Summer then transfers. He plays sports, works and will be 18yrs old when he goes to a 4 year college. My older daughter is pretty much doing the same thing. She goes to camps, dances and does activities with her friends, and also goes to Community College where she is playing lacrosse, is a teachers assistant. We enjoy the activities gained by both areas and she is academically challenged. No there isn't a rush, but there is no reason to not allow them to be academically challenged. Another option is to start CLEPing, do online school and then attend a 4 yr school for 2nd major which complements the first.

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  3. You know - it's about doing what works for your child. My oldest son pretty much skipped middle school too! And my daughter may just skip through math.

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  4. I skipped 6th and 12th grades while being homeschooled, and started college at age 16. My 12 year old just started CLEPping, so she's not really skipping anything, just studying high school courses and taking the CLEP at the end to earn the credit for them.
    I'm not worried about the future- there are so many options for them: graduate degree, start career early, mission work, gap year, spend extra time on talent/hobby, etc!

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  5. Thanks Courtney for sharing with us. Many times I do wonder about the immaturity but each kid is different. My youngest son may need a bit more time, but we will be creative when the time comes for a path specially fit for him.

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  6. I would agree with the others…it totally depends on the child. In my area there is an option for kids to do community college courses for free while they are in high school. It is part of the homeschool charter program we are in. I don't know all the details but many homeschooling kids are graduating high school with a full two years of college courses completed! Isn't that awesome? You have to also consider their childhood. Do you want them growing up so fast and starting college? I know that Universities are not really the safest place so my jaded self would be worried about that. With that said, I finished high school early…I still graduated when I was suppose to but only had 2 classes for the first half of the year. The rest of the year I started some college courses that weren't included in the high school package. I wasn't able to do my sport my senior year because I finished early. I regret that now.

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  7. Thanks for weighing in Heather! My oldest daughter is now able to play the sport she loves at the Community College level at 16yrs old whereas she was 'cut' from her high school team since she hadn't been playing with the team since Freshmen year. It was a rather clichy school. Now many more opportunities have opened for her. However, she still does do the age appropiate high school activities with her homeschool group and her friends who are still in high school, so she gets the best of both worlds without all the 'drama' that goes with high school. Having done both public school and homeschool as well as graduate early, she keeps telling me it's the best of both worlds for her.

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