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Inspiration for Middle School revisited...


swimmermom3
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There have been so many threads on sending kids back to school, burn out, and rocky starts to the school year. I think sometimes it's easy to become overwhelmed when we've lost sight of the day-to-day goals or brass tacks. I have found this post of Janice in NJ's to be most helpful especially in view of other recent discussions regarding content vs. skills for middle schoolers.

 

Hopefully Colleen in NS will chime in with some of her favorite inspirational threads as she is much better at organizing them than I am, even though she has tried to teach me.:D Anyone else that has favorite inspirational threads that will help us move through our days with grace or at the very least humor, please tack them on. I am a little short on originality these days; hope you don't mind that I borrowed from the rest of you.;)

 

:grouphug::grouphug::grouphug: to everyone who has started or is starting another year on this wild, demanding, and yet rewarding ride called "home schooling."

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Not a thread... but an idea I came across recently discussed middle school as a last, but sadly a missed opportunity to allow kids to do several things:

 

--to develop their own individual interests and a high degree of competency in at least one interest

 

--to be able to try out new things, be they activities, books, friendships, ideas for the future, career exploration, classes, etc. -- without the fear of failure following them to college applications on a permanent high school record

 

--to be given educational "gifts," things the teacher or mentor loves and shares just for the joy of it, without any requirements or tests.

 

But homeschoolers have the luxury of encouraging their middle schoolers to do any or all of these things, to develop a sense of emotional and educational selfhood, to be active shapers of their own educations rather than passive receptors of "content."

 

I realized this when my dd briefly attended an oh-so-elite private school one year ago. She came home after three months, at first simply because she developed mono and was exhausted; I kept her home after the school kept pressing her to do make-up work and return to classes before she was well. But as we gradually talked about what she missed and what she didn't miss about school, a whole slew of questions came out of a child who, as an Aspie, adores rules and regulations, being told what to do, having a schedule. Why, she asked, did schools seem fixated on social realistic fiction to the neglect of satire, farce, science fiction, and fantasy? Why did she have to annotate her books in a specific way, rather than take notes in the way she had figured out that worked for her? Why did she have to take notes on certain subjects when she learned those better without notes? Why was there such daily emphasis on grade point averages? Why did schools begin so early in the mornings when, as we had discussed often, teenagers' biological clocks kept them awake later and made getting up early difficult? What was the use of her sitting through forty-five minutes of everyone else's homework questions if she understood it already and could be moving on?

 

In the end, I realized that my conformist, passive Aspie child had actually been developing radical roots all along. She was used to participating in her own education. She was used to thinking about how she learned best, to helping choose materials that suited her, to writing when she had something to say rather than when the teacher decided the kids ought to do a "free" write on, say, a sailboat. She had already found service work that did not require social skills that she as an Aspie did not possess.

 

In other words, she'd learned the difference between schooling and education. Not a bad outcome at all.

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