Disclaimer: YMMV a LOT, depending on your student. An advanced/accelerated student would be far beyond the following; a struggling student or one with LDs or delays should not be expected to be at these levels, but should progress at the student's pace and ability. With that said, the following is JMO for students in the average range -- and tweak as needed/desired for YOUR individual student(s).
What is the bare minimum of work you'd consider acceptable for middle school in order to be decently prepared for a good high school education? Not only subjects, but skills and whatnot.
As with the elementary grades, in middle school, the bare minimum in academics is proficiency in reading, writing/grammar, and math -- the core subjects. So, by the end of 8th grade:
- ability to read with comprehension works at a young adult level and beginning "classics" level
- ability to remember what has been read, and very beginning analysis (look/think deeper than just plot; make connections, predict, have opinions about themes and big concepts, etc.)
- write complete sentences and complete paragraphs, and moving into or towards multi-paragraph short essays
- understanding of grammar in the context of support for correct speaking and writing
- solid in foundational math skills up through Pre-Algebra topics
Content subjects, such as science, history, geography, foreign language, logic/critical thinking, the arts, etc., can be spread on top like frosting as you have the time and ability. I would assume that a middle school student would be getting at least some small weekly doses of science, history, and geography. And at least exposure to arts in the form of creative expression and appreciation in at least one area of interest to the student (music, theater, film, photography, drawing/painting, textiles, woodworking, jewelry-making, etc.).
Skills that would be helpful to have by the end of middle school (but not a requirement, if your student just isn't there yet):
- touch typing (keyboarding)
- basic computer literacy (can use a word processing program, can email, basic internet search/internet safety)
- beginning study skills
- beginning logic/critical thinking
- beginning public speaking or oral presentations
I would also suggest starting to work on some non-academic skills throughout middle school/high school -- Christine Fields' book of Life Skills for Kids has GREAT suggestions for over a dozen areas, and then provides ideas for implementing at the elementary, middle school, and high school ages. A few ideas off the top of my head:
- basic cleaning/maintenance of rooms of the house
- beginning food shopping, food prep
- beginning money management
- health, nutrition, physical exercise
- mental health, relationships
- volunteering/community service
- developing family traditions and taking time to celebrate
- religious and spiritual -- personal "ownership" and development
Is middle school an appropriate time to go a little lighter or should that have been done in elementary?
This will totally depend on the student's interests/abilities and the parent's goals. I personally saw middle school overall as the time for:
1. getting solid in the foundations
2. starting to move forward into high school level work, if appropriate for the student
3. last window of opportunity to explore bunny trails of interest in depth (as high school has so many requirements if planning on keeping as many future doors open as possible by providing a college prep high school set of credits)
Just my few thoughts to start you off. Warmest regards, Lori D.
Edited by Lori D., 12 October 2017 - 09:41 PM.