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I was listening to a homeschool talk yesterday and one of the main issues the speaker talked about was the concept of skipping middle school and going from 5th grade to high school.

 

The whole premise behind it is she believes, middle school is just drawn out and dumbed down and there isn't much that students learn during those years so you can either compact it or just do away with it all together.

 

I am just curious what others think about that

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Uh, I think that depends on the child and the materials and the instructor but also the physical development of the brain.  I think the 6th grader genuinely ready for true High School level material is not going to be the norm.  Are there some?  Yes.  The majority? No.   And rushing kids through if they are not ready is harmful.  Besides, some material for High School might be genuinely frightening/disturbing for a 6th grader.  They may not have reached that level of maturity.

 

There is a TON that a middle schooler could be doing, lots of skill sets that can be honed, interests pursued, etc.  

 

ETA:  Those can be great years for doing all kinds of wonderful things, especially in a homeschool setting.  Are there materials out there that seem dumbed down or just marking time?  Sure.  Just avoid those.  Lots of other great options out there for middle schoolers.

 

 

Edited by OneStepAtATime
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Middle school used to be a time focused on study skills and growing responsibility which comes with maturity. As such, the academic side was lighter. The whole point was to not penalize growing understanding of personal needs as adults pull back. If you threw a whole pile of new content in with it, the student's brain would liquify. However, this does not seem to be reality anymore. Somewhere in the 80's to 90's, the concept died.

 

In our homeschool, we are skipping middle school in terms of content. It is study skills practice, life skills practice, hygiene practice and high school content at a very slow pace. Honestly, I could care less about if any content is really retained. I want Ds to learn time management, scheduling, morning and evening routines which work for him, basic note taking, those sorts of things. We are beginning outsourced classes. He is learning how to fail well. As well as self advocating. If some content sinks in, all the better in high school.

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As a homeschooler, you (general) can match your kids ability to whatever materials be it middle school, high school or MOOC courses or OpenCourseware lectures. There is no need to do a triple grade skip. Public/private school is a different kettle of fish and there are kids who need the triple skip and early college.

 

Local 9th graders start with Algebra 2. Is the speaker thinking of starting kids in Algebra 1 in 6th? That would depend on how solid a foundation the child has in k-5 maths.

 

I think the kids in the book The Brainy Bunch had a compacted get it done schooling that worked for their family. My hubby read it at the library and was too bored to finish it.

 

Since the speaker believes, middle school is just drawn out and dumbed down, won't she as a homeschool educator have the obligation to fit the curriculum to the needs of who she is educating be it her children or someone else's children.

 

If she thinks public school should do away with the middle school years then that is a different issue altogether. I don't think most kids want to leave home for a 4 year college at 14.

 

My 11 year old 6th grader enjoys being a kid for 3 years rather than being a high schooler now. There are 11 year olds happy in college. Blanket opinions aren't helpful. How detailed and balanced was her talk?

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I am not sure it was very balanced- she believes all kids not just the gifted should be able to skip middle school but some might be able to skip all 3 years while others skip 2 or 1.

 

It was quite an interesting talk but it was all streaming and there is no free recording so i can't link it.

 

She believes they should use the middle school years as high school and then start dual enrollment in high school.

While I do like some of what she has to say, I believe like Arcadia that blanket generalizations won't work.

 

I read the Brainy bunch and really do not like their method. Most of their 12 year old in college barely passed the placement test and it was just rush, rush to graduation.

Each one to his/ her own but that is not the way for us.

Edited by Lilaclady
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I don't believe in "middle school" for homeschooled children. I believe in teaching them as much as they are able to learn, however old they are. So in our house, we wouldn't "skip" anything; we would just keep learning. FTR, both my dds began taking classes at the community college when they were 14. They were not "dual-enrolled." They were taking classes and earning college credit (in California, we didn't need high school credit).

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She believes they should use the middle school years as high school and then start dual enrollment in high school.

It is possible to dual enroll at 9th grade without having to push down and compact a typical public high school 4 years scope and sequence down to middle school. E.g. there is no need to finish high school precalculus to dual enroll for math. The child just need to do well for the placement test. English is by placement tests too so no need to finish 12th grade english to dual enroll.

 

ETA:

Biology, chemistry and physics have placement tests too.

Edited by Arcadia
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I  think that many middle school kids would not be able to do high school content.  And in progressive subjects that would not work.  Even if they read the same books, they would not have the level of abstraction, or the experience, to get the same things out of them.

 

To me this sounds like someone who will essentially be teaching dumbed down high school to younger kids.

 

That being said - I have noticed that there are a heck of a lot of people that have zero memory of things that were in their middle school curriculum.  I have a feeling that many kids are too distracted to take a lot of it in, or somewhere along the line it gets dumped.  It's always seemed to me that there would probably be some real value in keeping a fairly short school day at that age, concentrating on certain skills and habits, and having the kids spend quite a lot of time doing other kinds of non-academic work. 

 

 

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Middle school used to be a time focused on study skills and growing responsibility which comes with maturity. As such, the academic side was lighter. The whole point was to not penalize growing understanding of personal needs as adults pull back. If you threw a whole pile of new content in with it, the student's brain would liquify. However, this does not seem to be reality anymore. Somewhere in the 80's to 90's, the concept died.

 

In our homeschool, we are skipping middle school in terms of content. It is study skills practice, life skills practice, hygiene practice and high school content at a very slow pace. Honestly, I could care less about if any content is really retained. I want Ds to learn time management, scheduling, morning and evening routines which work for him, basic note taking, those sorts of things. We are beginning outsourced classes. He is learning how to fail well. As well as self advocating. If some content sinks in, all the better in high school.

Words of wisdom that I really needed to hear this week (um, year).

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While I agree that middle school in US public schools is keeping students in an academic holding pattern for several years, I do not find that the concept makes any sense in a homeschool setting. In my homeschool, I educate my students by offering them material at the level that is appropriate for them and challenging them appropriately. Learning happens constantly, and you can educate a student continuously through the logic stage without resorting straight to high school curriculum which, I do not believe, is appropriate for the average 5th grader.

The middle grades are a wonderful time in the homeschool,because you can tailor the students to your students without having to keep an eye on constraints like college admissions and credits. Why would anybody want to skip this???

 

It would be better to forget any such artificial boundaries and simply educate the student in front of you with whatever material is appropriate. That may lead to a student who, at age 17, has earned 30 college credits because she was ready for that level of work - or  a student who completes a typical high school level curriculum by the time he is 18, but has experienced gradually increasing academic levels and been challenged throughout his school time.

 

ETA: Elsewhere, the school system treats 5th graders differently and does not operate under the assumption that students are incapable of learning during puberty. Back home, expectations ramp up in 5th grade, students start a second foreign language in 6th grade, begin systematic science studies, are taught to become more independent in their academic work.

Edited by regentrude
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Just agreeing with the fact this really is not a factor for homeschoolers.  I just work with my kids where they are that. 

 

Technically (very technically) I am skipping one of mine on paper.  It's not so much that we skipped entire pieces of information though.  It's just on paper (filed with the district) it'll look like he went from 7th to 9th.  In the grand scheme of things nobody is going to care about that.

 

 

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There's something in that.  Calvin (bright boy) started working on middle school science, but the content was very superficial.  We went straight to high school biology and it was a much better fit: he could really delve deeply into it.

 

On the other hand, I didn't try to do the same with English (he lacked the life experience and emotional readiness) or maths (he needed a steady progression).

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There's something in that.  Calvin (bright boy) started working on middle school science, but the content was very superficial.  We went straight to high school biology and it was a much better fit: he could really delve deeply into it.

 

On the other hand, I didn't try to do the same with English (he lacked the life experience and emotional readiness) or maths (he needed a steady progression).

 

I found the same thing.  The stuff in books claiming to be at that level is often just a rehashing of stuff we did several times already.  I suppose the one major difference is the level of output.  A high school level text might require more output.  But in homeschooling, that's hardly an issue because we can easily deal with that.

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When I was a teacher, I said that we'd be just as well off not to send kids to school during middle school. Go have them build houses for the homeless, clean up parks and build trails, travel around the world with Aunt Mame, preferably to countries with a very different world view and out of the tourist areas....something to get them focused on others and not on themselves, because, honestly, little academic learning seemed to happen during those years, and the focus was much more on what their peers thought of them, how they looked, and how they felt. And most of the kids seemed to feel so insecure and uncomfortable in their own skin. Honestly, teaching middle school age kids felt like babysitting and hand holding and counseling.

 

Now that my DD is in that age group, that's kind of what she's doing. Lots of focus on advocacy and educating others, lots of focus on saving the world (or in her case, saving the world's animals). Less academic focus and more focus on skills for life. And yes, I still sometimes feel like I'm babysitting, hand-holding, and counseling, but at least she's exploring and expanding her world, not just repeating it. We're reading a lot of material from around the world and getting an expanded world view. I'd love to, sometime in the next couple of years, take 6 months or longer and go to a different country (except that our rather large menagerie may make that impossible. Snakes don't travel well...)

 

She doesn't want to graduate early, and, in fact, the idea of starting DE sent her into panic attacks, so I do feel that she needs some time to grow up.

 

 

Edited by dmmetler
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There's something in that.  Calvin (bright boy) started working on middle school science, but the content was very superficial.  We went straight to high school biology and it was a much better fit: he could really delve deeply into it.

 

On the other hand, I didn't try to do the same with English (he lacked the life experience and emotional readiness) or maths (he needed a steady progression).

 

I can see that with the biology.  To me the difference though would be that for a middle school student I would really not want to abstract the subject without also being very careful to keep it connected to the concrete, which might not matter so much in high school.  The math required might also be a limit in middle school.

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I can see that with the biology.  To me the difference though would be that for a middle school student I would really not want to abstract the subject without also being very careful to keep it connected to the concrete, which might not matter so much in high school.  The math required might also be a limit in middle school.

 

I think it depends on the child.  Calvin suffered through the experiments that I insisted upon, but he was never happier than when moving to the abstract.

 

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Based on my experience with a brick and mortar school, I would have to disagree. I followed along with the sciences -- physical science, biology, and earth science. The classes were full of info and challenging. LA covered a wide range of skills. For example, kids had to write a persuasive letter -- many of these were later published in local papers. Kids had to do a research project/presentation that involved calling experts in the field and doing interviews. This was one of ds's favorite assignments. Math varied -- some kids took basic courses, others did advanced algebra or even high school,courses by 8th grade. History and foreign language were also different from elementary school and provided a strong foundation for high school.

 

And ms work called on students to develop more independence and executive function skills. Well organized kids thrived. Others had a difficult time adjusting. But, IMO, it is extremely valuable for a kid to flounder or even fail sometimes, because learning to cope with and recover from failure is an essential life skill.

 

Btw, teachers and staff took a lot of special training in what makes ms students different from younger and older kids, how best to deal with them, and how to make sure that ms is not a holding pattern.

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We skipped 8th grade because DD was ready academically, but we later reclaimed that year.  She wasn't ready as far as maturity and emotion for a more rigid atmosphere and increased work load.  We should have just ramped up the academics, but not gone into full high-school-checking-off-requirements-and-hours mode.

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ETA: Elsewhere, the school system treats 5th graders differently and does not operate under the assumption that students are incapable of learning during puberty. Back home, expectations ramp up in 5th grade, students start a second foreign language in 6th grade, begin systematic science studies, are taught to become more independent in their academic work.

This is actually what happens in my area (I already posted above) except for the language -- students choose a *first* language. (I am not counting the elementary school language intro as real language.)

 

I would say that the ms classes are challenging and demand a lot of discipline and hard work.

 

Also, students in elementary have a home room teacher. In ms, students move from class to class, but teachers try to coordinate, so that kids don't have too many tests in one day. In high school, students sign up for individualized mix of classes and they can have a day with a big test in every class.

Edited by Alessandra
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I am not sure it was very balanced- she believes all kids not just the gifted should be able to skip middle school but some might be able to skip all 3 years while others skip 2 or 1.

 

It was quite an interesting talk but it was all streaming and there is no free recording so i can't link it.

 

She believes they should use the middle school years as high school and then start dual enrollment in high school.

While I do like some of what she has to say, I believe like Arcadia that blanket generalizations won't work.

 

I read the Brainy bunch and really do not like their method. Most of their 12 year old in college barely passed the placement test and it was just rush, rush to graduation.

Each one to his/ her own but that is not the way for us.

For me, streaming would be a frustrating way to listen to a talk like that. I would want to see the audience reaction.

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Skipping middle school sounds like a bad idea to me. Since one is homeschooling is this even a question to ask. If one has a super bright, gifted student, then working ahead in subjects to meet student need is what most homeschool parents do. But along with working ahead there is also the idea of going deeper into topics of interest, community service, or pursuing the arts.

 

Researching high school options such as accelerating high school and completing high school with enough college credit to gain junior standing upon admission, many kids who go this path regret missing out on being a freshman in college with the opportunity to explore academic options.

 

I had the option to skip some middle school grades and high school grades with my oldest DD, but I chose not to take this option. For the same reason that I am not choosing to skip middle school or high school with my youngest DD and place her into a community college. The level of maturity is not there yet, and being surrounded by students much older is not always the best plan. For both my girls, they are/were in 8th grade doing high school level work. Academically they are ahead. In college my oldest DD remains ahead, well prepared, and a straight "A" student. For this DD, being academically ahead did not equal the maturity to manage her time well. It took all four years of high school to master time management. Time management is the one skill that sets her apart from many of her peers at college. DD is currently working on a "group" project. Her partner cannot manage his course work and do the project, so DD is doing the entire project. They both have the exact same classes. 

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My first reaction was basically  :lol:  :lol:  :lol: .

 

Middle school can mean a lot of different things, but at its base all it is is the years one spends from about 6th to 8th grades. You can't skip that any more than you can skip the ages 11-13. I mean, don't we all wish we could, right? But we can't. Because that's not a thing. Sorry, folks.

 

A small number of kids will be able to "skip" grades and finish high school early and head off to college at 15, of course, but just telling your kids "now we will begin high school" when they're 11 is not going to make that happen. A much larger number of kids will be ready for some high school level work during the middle school years, but that's been true for ages. Lots of kids do "high school" algebra in middle school. Most of those kids won't be ready to be finished with high school work until the "normal" age though. Maybe a year early, but so much of it is maturity coupled with academics. This whole concept just makes me laugh. You can't force a child to mature on your timetable. And if you rename middle school "high school" and just do seven years of it, then all you've done is play a little name game. It's pretty laughable to me.

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ETA: Elsewhere, the school system treats 5th graders differently and does not operate under the assumption that students are incapable of learning during puberty. Back home, expectations ramp up in 5th grade, students start a second foreign language in 6th grade, begin systematic science studies, are taught to become more independent in their academic work.

 

Although my husband said this was one of the worst times for him.  He felt the jump in expectations was huge. 

 

Not saying kids can't handle it during puberty!  Just saying maybe "the way" to go about this is somewhere in between huge jump and remaining stagnant. 

 

But I don't know what they do these days compared with when I went. 

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Although my husband said this was one of the worst times for him.  He felt the jump in expectations was huge. 

 

Not saying kids can't handle it during puberty!  Just saying maybe "the way" to go about this is somewhere in between huge jump and remaining stagnant. 

 

But I don't know what they do these days compared with when I went. 

 

I agree with this... it's hard to find the balance and figure out what the ages 10ish to 14ish should look like, no matter what you call it. It's an age of a lot of contradictions. Kids need deeper learning and more in depth experiences, but they also are genuinely starting to experience brain growth that looks like the toddler years and can lead to the grouchy rebelliousness that most of us are familiar with. Just saying things like "high expectations" doesn't really fix that. And anyone who thinks it does either got lucky with their kid or is selling hogwash. Kids need more independence at this age, but they aren't always ready for it fully. I think you can make those years (since "middle school" is apparently a no no word) filled with rich content and increased learning but it's not some simple proposition. It's a balancing act. I get why schools have struggled and why a lot of homeschoolers struggle.

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I agree with this... it's hard to find the balance and figure out what the ages 10ish to 14ish should look like, no matter what you call it. It's an age of a lot of contradictions. Kids need deeper learning and more in depth experiences, but they also are genuinely starting to experience brain growth that looks like the toddler years and can lead to the grouchy rebelliousness that most of us are familiar with. Just saying things like "high expectations" doesn't really fix that. And anyone who thinks it does either got lucky with their kid or is selling hogwash. Kids need more independence at this age, but they aren't always ready for it fully. I think you can make those years (since "middle school" is apparently a no no word) filled with rich content and increased learning but it's not some simple proposition. It's a balancing act. I get why schools have struggled and why a lot of homeschoolers struggle.

 

Yeah it's weird.  My kids never went to school, but they both have been in drama classes for years and most of the kids are in PS.  So the middle school years my older kid was in it was hell for him.  The kids are freaking off the wall.  He barely hung in there because he couldn't hack the craziness.  He has never really been like that.  The teacher skipped him into the high school group this year.  I didn't ask her to do that, but I'm sure she noticed the situation.  I don't know what to make of that though.  Is he just very different (possible) or is there something else that is going on that makes the kids nutso?

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I had a wonderful middle (public) school experience. I adored Current Events (elective), Math Counts, Pre-Algebra & Algebra, French I, and science classes. I was able to take part in Toastmasters. I learned to advocate for myself to join the Gifted & Talented Program when the list came out & I wasn't on it. I had a small core group of best friends (2 that I'd had since 5th grade & they were still 2 of the 3 best friends I had at high school graduation) that went through everything with me. The teachers were magnificent & I was definitely challenged. (English & Geography were my most-hated-classes.)

 

Not every school or kid will be like that.

 

I will echo that in homeschooling, you meet the kid where they are. It is a time to shore up weaknesses, address study skills & time management, and pick some areas to explore that are interesting. I don't think there needs to be a rush to high school. And, sometimes, your kid has a hormonal brain mush period where you might be in an academic holding pattern while their body grows & changes. Some kids don't have this. Some have only a short period of it. Some seem to be in that brain fog for a couple of years. Meet your kid where they are. Much easier to do in homeschooling than in a one-size-will-have-to-do-for-all approach in the private/public schools.

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I think it depends on the child. Calvin suffered through the experiments that I insisted upon, but he was never happier than when moving to the abstract.

 

I think of experiments as abstract too. Essentially you are taking something that happens in nature and putting it in an unnatural and restricted environment. That has benefits but it also has limitations. Someone who only sees something in a lab, or a text, will be missing out on the thing in its natural environment.

 

I always think about Gerald Durrell talking about students who knew a lot of details about frogs but had never seen actual frog spawn in a pond and couldn't easily find or identify it.

 

If something is in a lab or a text, someone else, or sometimes your own presuppositions, have already redacted it for you.

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I remember middle school, or Jr High, was the time when we learned how to write a basic 5 paragraph essay.  We learned the Constitution and about our government.  We began sifting the math advanced from the regular math from the remedial math students. We learned to write science labs.  We learned to change classes and manage bathroom breaks between.  We learned to keep an assignment planner and a locker.

 

There is a lot to middle school, I think.

 

Some kids can learn all of those things early, but others cannot.

 

Some kids might be able to handle high school level content, but function on a 4th grade responsibility level.  Those kids still need middle school executive function skills.

 

It's a moot point for homeschoolers anyway.  Move forward in everything, a little bit each day.

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This boggles my mind.  I do agree somewhat that some classes can be a holding pattern.  In our homeschool, that means we are shoring up skills or focusing on working more independently and self-management.  For my oldest, we are shoring up math skills. 

 

However, in our homeschool, I am also meeting skill levels that our children are ready for.  For my rising 8th grader, that looks like more detailed science classes.  It looks like expecting more writing responses and essays and making forward progress in math.  

 

In our household, asynchronous learning is the standard and something we have grown to accept and not feel like we are "behind."  My amazing mentor once found me mid-meltdown.  I kept saying that we were "behind."  She asked me, "Behind who?"  I've clung to that for a long time.  As long as my children are making progress and growing, they are following their pace. When we become stagnant, I start looking at the reasons behind it.  Sometimes we change methods, sometimes we change curriculum, sometimes we move ahead and come back a little later.  

 

I'm fully prepared to have children capable of taking some classes through dual enrollment and possibly CLEP and still be shoring up skills in their weaker subjects.  

 

It's the beauty of homeschool.  

 

When I hear speakers share what they have done, I'm very careful to remind myself that we became homeschoolers to provide a safe learning environment where we could tailor their educational plans.  Speakers discussing things in absolutes when it comes to planning, curriculum, goals and learning styles go against the reason we homeschool.  So I'll take the meat and spit out the bones. 

Edited by GAPeachie
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The speaker is advocating starting higher-level courses requiring self-discipline, good study habits, high levels of attention (thinking HS level math), higher level of literary analysis- all while the children are going through puberty.  THis sounds insane to me!  I purposefully backed off the level of studies this year- in order to accommodate hormone fluctuations and their accompanied mood swings ;)  We were erady to start Algebra 1, but in the end I decided WHY!?!?!  When math is already stressful, why would I push her into the next level when I could choose another PreAl text and solidify Pre Al, and make math more of a review year to work on fluency?  On hormonal days we just skip math!  I'm able to do just a few lessons per week if I need to!  Science was a finish up of RSO, and now we are going to do Ellen McHenry Chemistry the rest of the year- 8th grade will be interest led (as far as I can tell right now).  I feel it's just as important to give my kids the autonomy to study their own interests right now, before I need to worry about a HS transcript.  Instead of pushing HS level material (and HS level understanding), I would rather give my student TIME to mature and grow.  If you look at HS level literature courses, of course my child could read the books, but I feel that maturity will bring more introspective analysis of characters, more ability to see the world as it really is- these are maturity things that you can't just teach- they come on their own as your child moves through puberty and into adulthood.  Right now I know her literary analysis is not very mature, I can lead a discussion, and while she's a very smart kid, I feel like a lot of the depth will come as she gets older.  If I push her into doing HS level courses, she will be expected to perform at a HS level in writing an analysis- her brain isn't there yet!  No matter how smart someone is, those skills will definitely get better with age and experience.  If I wait until HS to do HS level coursework, I feel my child will be ready to deliver HS level work.  Middle School, IMO, is the perfect time for HSing kids to start delving into their own interests, solidifying problem areas, maturing (think responsibility, organization, life-skills type stuff), starting to read and understand the news, seeing how history relates to current events and how countries interact today, just adding a lot more depth to their personality.  I don't think MS and HS level work are the same- even if you choose to use HS level books (which I am not opposed to).  

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I have friends who have done this. They used a basic, boxed curriculum and compacted it. Their children graduated at 14 and went to CC (which is not free, low cost, whether DE or for hs grads). With myriad of quality resources, free MOOCS, and ability to provide a rich learning experience at home...which is also less expensive than CC (not including scholarship opportunities to 4 year universities, and problematic transfer agreements), I don't see the allure or view this as best interest of the whole child. Sure, it sounds impressive, but generally speaking the work level for high school at this level is much lower than what my kids have been doing.

 

This is not to say that some kids need more, but these kids are outliers anyway.

 

My 3rd child will be entering middle school next fall. He will have some high school level work (input and output), due to his interest and ability, but it will not be across the board. This is my first child interested in early graduation, but that does not mean easy work.

 

My oldest DD already has 3 science credits, four math credits, 2 foreign language credits, and easily two English credits. She has zero interest in early graduation. She doesn't see a benefit. She starts 9th grade officially in the fall. We are tailoring her high school to her interests.

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When I was a teacher, I said that we'd be just as well off not to send kids to school during middle school. Go have them build houses for the homeless, clean up parks and build trails, travel around the world with Aunt Mame, preferably to countries with a very different world view and out of the tourist areas....something to get them focused on others and not on themselves, because, honestly, little academic learning seemed to happen during those years, and the focus was much more on what their peers thought of them, how they looked, and how they felt. And most of the kids seemed to feel so insecure and uncomfortable in their own skin. Honestly, teaching middle school age kids felt like babysitting and hand holding and counseling.

 

Now that my DD is in that age group, that's kind of what she's doing. Lots of focus on advocacy and educating others, lots of focus on saving the world (or in her case, saving the world's animals). Less academic focus and more focus on skills for life. And yes, I still sometimes feel like I'm babysitting, hand-holding, and counseling, but at least she's exploring and expanding her world, not just repeating it. We're reading a lot of material from around the world and getting an expanded world view. I'd love to, sometime in the next couple of years, take 6 months or longer and go to a different country (except that our rather large menagerie may make that impossible. Snakes don't travel well...)

 

She doesn't want to graduate early, and, in fact, the idea of starting DE sent her into panic attacks, so I do feel that she needs some time to grow up.

 

 

I love this. My dad will be going into middle school grades this fall, and this is exactly what I am planning. Oh, we will still 'do school', but most of life will be spent gaining a global perspective and focusing on others.

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Yeah it's weird.  My kids never went to school, but they both have been in drama classes for years and most of the kids are in PS.  So the middle school years my older kid was in it was hell for him.  The kids are freaking off the wall.  He barely hung in there because he couldn't hack the craziness.  He has never really been like that.  The teacher skipped him into the high school group this year.  I didn't ask her to do that, but I'm sure she noticed the situation.  I don't know what to make of that though.  Is he just very different (possible) or is there something else that is going on that makes the kids nutso?

I wonder if these kids are just very tired.

 All the PS middle school kids I know go to school all day then go to activities (ballet, music, gymnastics), then eat at some point and have an hour or two of homework. I think they're exhausted.

I'm so thankful that my kids are able to pursue their interests and still have lots of time to recharge.

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Is he just very different (possible) or is there something else that is going on that makes the kids nutso?

Kid and school culture dependent. My nearest middle school have girls applying to transfer out to the lottery middle but the boys are happy at school dismissal walking to the library to play minecraft. A mom friend who thought the school was okay transfer her child the next year because academics was weaker than the lottery school. The girls are also more fashion conscious at middle school age locally.

 

One of the further away middle school is in a rougher neighborhood and the school bus goes door to door. That area around the school gives a not walkable vibe.

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Friend of my ds skipped high school and is graduating with an associates degree from CC this summer at 14, transferring to a 4 year.

Using CC for high school is becoming plan A for parents now as CC is much cheaper than outsourcing and the transfer agreements to state Us are clear. The tuition cost of a full time student is estimated at just over $1k at $46/unit.

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Using CC for high school is becoming plan A for parents now as CC is much cheaper than outsourcing and the transfer agreements to state Us are clear. The tuition cost of a full time student is estimated at just over $1k at $46/unit.

She didn't use it for high school though. She is enrolled as a full time student and looks like she will graduate from college (4 year) at 16 or thereabouts.
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She didn't use it for high school though. She is enrolled as a full time student and looks like she will graduate from college (4 year) at 16 or thereabouts.

Here more often people use it for high school because kids haven't decide what they want or want more than a major. So four years of CC is affordable while kids try out different subjects.

 

The transfer agreement path is quite rigid on subject choices at my nearby CC according to their brochure. Good for those who have already decided on what they want.

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I was listening to a homeschool talk yesterday and one of the main issues the speaker talked about was the concept of skipping middle school and going from 5th grade to high school.

 

The whole premise behind it is she believes, middle school is just drawn out and dumbed down and there isn't much that students learn during those years so you can either compact it or just do away with it all together.

 

I am just curious what others think about that

 

It sounds good on paper but our experience was that puberty coincided with middle school, and that brought in a whole new dynamic. Sometimes you just need holding patterns in life, you know? There is a LOT of maturing that happens in those short years, both physically and mentally. For us at least, it would not have worked to pile rigorous academics on DS during that time. I much prefer my students to tackle subjects when they are truly ready for them. There may be some kids that are the exception to this, but I would not recommend it as a rule.

 

Middle school is great for solidifying math and writing skills, reading, learning practical skills, and following interests. Once you hit high school, there is less time for all of that.

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I was listening to a homeschool talk yesterday and one of the main issues the speaker talked about was the concept of skipping middle school and going from 5th grade to high school.

 

The whole premise behind it is she believes, middle school is just drawn out and dumbed down and there isn't much that students learn during those years so you can either compact it or just do away with it all together.

 

I am just curious what others think about that

I completely disagree. If your 11 yr old, the age of a typical beginning 6th grader, is ready for geometry and biology and so on, then, I guess it is fine. But if your 11 yr old still needs general math or even pre algebra, no way.

 

Hormones change the brain and the way people think. I seriously doubt that any 11 yr old would be capable of the abstract thinking required for high school level courses. And if the child is not an an advanced track for high school, the child should not be advanced to high school. If the child is average for 6th grade, the child belongs in 6th grade or lower. 

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When I was a teacher, I said that we'd be just as well off not to send kids to school during middle school. Go have them build houses for the homeless, clean up parks and build trails, travel around the world with Aunt Mame, preferably to countries with a very different world view and out of the tourist areas....something to get them focused on others and not on themselves, because, honestly, little academic learning seemed to happen during those years, and the focus was much more on what their peers thought of them, how they looked, and how they felt. And most of the kids seemed to feel so insecure and uncomfortable in their own skin. Honestly, teaching middle school age kids felt like babysitting and hand holding and counseling.

 

Now that my DD is in that age group, that's kind of what she's doing. Lots of focus on advocacy and educating others, lots of focus on saving the world (or in her case, saving the world's animals). Less academic focus and more focus on skills for life. And yes, I still sometimes feel like I'm babysitting, hand-holding, and counseling, but at least she's exploring and expanding her world, not just repeating it. We're reading a lot of material from around the world and getting an expanded world view. I'd love to, sometime in the next couple of years, take 6 months or longer and go to a different country (except that our rather large menagerie may make that impossible. Snakes don't travel well...)

 

She doesn't want to graduate early, and, in fact, the idea of starting DE sent her into panic attacks, so I do feel that she needs some time to grow up.

 

A friend who is an experienced Montessori teacher and raised two kids of her own recently told me that she thinks all middle school kids should be sent out to the country to live and work on a farm.

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My personal (public) middle school experience was one of academic boredom and social awkwardness. In addition to all the "normal" middle school girl drama, there was a girl that I sat next to in my 7th grade Texas History class that was pregnant. Three more followed in her footsteps in 8th grade.

 

I had Algebra I and the weekly GT program that were academically appropriate; everything else in 6th-8th grades was somewhat "wasted" in academic busy work waiting for all of us to mature socially. However, there was little if any guidance in that area. Study skills, hygiene, life skills, etc. were never specifically and explicitly addressed.

 

I say all that to indicate that the speaker probably had some valid points in her reasoning if her goal is to reform public schools so that they produce better educated students more efficiently. Much of the time spent in middle school probably *could* be better spent academically (IMO, exploring topics at a deeper level, not necessarily more quickly progressing through the sequences...) if students were not socially promoted and everyone arrived at the middle school orientation with basic reading and mathematics skills.

 

However, as most of you have already pointed out this is a pointless discussion for most homeschooling families. My goal is not to reform the public education system. I have intentionally removed my family from that setting completely, and my plan is to continue to challenge my guys individually regardless of what "grade" they should be in. My goal in educating them is to continually adjust so that they're in the learning zone (working with materials that were not previously mastered and not at frustration level).

 

So, while I agree that the public middle schools (and elementary and high schools, for that matter) leave a lot to be desired, I don't feel like it should influence what my husband and I choose to do for our children.

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