Whether you are just getting into homeschooling or have been doing it for years, making sure your student is using the right program is always the most important decision. Some families start with a program that only goes up to 8th grade thinking that the student will transition to a traditional institution for their high school years. However, many high school students actually favor online schooling at home because an 8th grade online school gives them the flexibility that they want to create their own schedules and balance the many activities they get involved with at this age. Eighth grade is the final year of middle school which makes it a critical transition point because students can take advanced courses that will count towards high school credit and students should have their study skills developed by this point.
The students who enroll in 8th grade online school are new teenagers and are often facing a lot of changes like peer pressure, bullying and stress. Homeschooling may be the best option as it removes these unnecessary stressors. Depending on the courses selected by the student, some of the grades earned in 8th grade can be part of their official high school transcript, so parents need to be sure their teen is ready to take on this extra work and help them balance responsibilities. At this time, online teachers typically take over as full-time instructors because of the more complicated coursework and the parents become the student’s support system and should also remain involved in checking grades and holding the student accountable for their progress throughout the year.
The best 8th grade online school should offer the standard classes in core subjects, an alternative path with Honors or AP options and a list of electives the student can select to build their own schedule. Parents should encourage students to develop good study habits and learning techniques prior to this grade, preferably starting in 6th grade when middle school begins. By 8th grade, students know how they prefer to study and are familiar with the online technology, distance learning, and online teachers so they only need to focus on the new studies and the challenge of the complexity. The online portal should be easy to navigate between classes and students should be able to see their daily schedule, their course progress and their grades. Parents can take a step back and give the teen more control over their schedule so they develop self-study and discipline skills that become even more critical later on in the educational process.
From the school, curriculum should be challenging, meet national standards and be easy for students to follow from one grade to the next. Teens are going to have good and bad days; but, with a strong support system and a reliable education platform, these can easily be navigated to keep them on track and prepared for high school. It’s important to get them involved with other homeschooling teens so they can talk about concerns and different ways of doing things with their peers. Parents can also use these resources to help avoid pitfalls, plan events and get tips on how to help their 8th grader become a thriving high schooler when the time comes.
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