Middle school (formerly called junior high) is one of the peak times for transitioning from a traditional classroom to learning at home with an online program. As a parent, it is important to research and find the right curriculum and school that will guide your student to success and set them up for their high school years and beyond.
Typically, middle school is 6th-8th grade and those years can be challenging because of the age and all that is transitioning for the child personally at that age and school is a significant part of that transitioning as well. These years are crucial for the student to be successful and to build confidence as they both in themselves and their future. Many families choose to start homeschooling around these grades because of the environment at school which has increased bullying, peer pressure and learning differences are challenges that kids are not as open about. Instead, by teaching them at home, these pressures are removed and teens can focus on their studies and developing personal skills that will help them in the future.
When looking for online school 8th grade curriculum, it is necessary to find a school that has accreditations from the top agencies in the country. This designation signifies the school’s dedication and official adherence to national standards at the curriculum, teaching and administration levels. Accreditation is also something that colleges look for when they receive a student’s transcript because without it, they have no way of measuring the quality of classes and learning that is listed on the paper. Online homeschool websites should have a section where their accreditations are listed but if not, call the admissions office to ask further questions.
It is important that students have a smooth transition when they are going from one form of learning to another (regardless of direction) so the next thing to look for is the subject matter offered by the online school 8th grade level. Starting around 7th or 8th grade, students have the ability to take ‘standard’ or ‘higher’ classes in certain subjects such as math and English so it is necessary to review the curriculum options and determine which track is the best. For example, many 8th grades can take pre-algebra (standard) or Algebra I (higher) in math so parents will need to review the curriculum to see which course is right for your student.
Online schools may also offer a variety of electives and world languages which seek to prepare students for the high school course load and identify areas of interest. The guidance counselor can use this information at the start of 9th grade to work with the student and build a path to graduation based on what they want to do in the future. Transition can be challenging for pre-teens so ask about resources that are available for tutoring and providing additional information so students can get the support they need to understand the material in addition to the hands-on teacher instruction.
Homeschooling is an option that is available at any grade but, like any other lifestyle, it is easiest when that is all the child knows if you start with it in elementary. However, the best way to ensure this method is successful is being open to change and flexibility as some students may need to transition to a traditional classroom while others prefer learning at home and will do better with the online homeschooling. Parents and teens should work together to find the best solution for each grade.
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