In public school, the move to 6th grade often comes with switching schools and going from the top of the elementary hierarchy to the bottom of the middle school group. This can be scary and overwhelming but as a homeschool student this entire situation is avoided. The environment doesn’t change if the student was previously taught at home so this challenging event is completely avoided. It’s interesting to note that middle school is a peak time when parents decide to make the switch to homeschooling because of the atmosphere at this level and the typical social behavior.
Online school 6th grade contains work that builds on the prior grades but starts to take the student from concrete questions and answers to a more thoughtful approach. Students are required to engage their personal thoughts and opinions more and interpret what is on the page instead of just reading it. An excellent curriculum plan is a great way to make this transition easier because it gradually introduces the student to these concepts and changes and then spends 7th and 8th grade incorporating this even more so they are ready and confident for high school when it comes.
This grade aligns with pre-teen and teenage development during which there are physical and hormonal changes. The benefit of homeschooling is that the parent can be flexible and help the student find a new schedule if that is what they need to do well in their studies. Where the child may have been an early riser before and done their best work in the morning during elementary grades, they may now do better if they sleep later and then engage in their studies. For some, it can be a complete switch from a morning to an evening routine and while it takes compromise and communication, it’s possible for the entire family to work together to make this successful. Social pressure is not significant because of the lack of a traditional classroom but there may still be some levels of this within their peer groups. One way to help with this is to listen to what they are saying and provide tools that can help them feel like they fit in a little easier. A backpack to carry their books in is a small gesture that can make the teenager feel like they are no longer in elementary but have advanced to the next level.
Finding the right support system through an online homeschool program is just as important as everything mentioned above because the information needs to be presented clearly and, in a format that the student can absorb and use on a daily basis. When there is so much changing around a student, one of the best ways to help keep them calm and confident is providing stability and continuity with a balance between home, education and friends. This is accomplished using the same quality homeschool program they are familiar with and introducing them to new activities that help them develop outside of the books.
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