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Getting ready for middle school!


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Hey all! My son (11yo) will be entering a new phase of learning in the fall and while I have been able to piece things together (with local help) to meet our needs for elementary school, I feel the need to connect to the larger hive mind for more specific help for the pre-teen/junior high years. I will do a search on the topics that interest me but also wanted to post a few of the things that are really on my mind right now:

1. Is there anything I just shouldn't miss - something that saved your pre-teen homeschooling experience? A book, a weekly ritual, a rite of passage ceremony, an essential curriculum or field trip experience, a hobby or sport?

2. Has anyone used Inspire Charter School for junior high or high school? If so which "path" did you choose and what was your experience? We have never used a charter and I am not inclined to do so, however several people have mentioned to me that Inspire is quite flexible and I like that they offer different "paths" for learning especially for high school. I would like to know more.

3. My son is very interested in learning more about public speaking. Any class, curriculum, youtube video that you would recommend to help him? We visited our local Speaker's League but found it too formal for our needs right now. He isn't currently interested in something with strict rules about what you can and cannot do for the sake of competition. He is more interested in learning how to communicate his ideas more clearly. I could do this at home with him if I had the right resources or I am happy to find a small class or short course that would get him started. Something along the lines of Charlotte Mason's oral narration only secular. 

4. We are hoping to do 2 years of Latin for junior high. Several friends recommend Lively Latin. I think this might be nice if done in a small class setting. Is there one being offered in Los Angeles? I would love to hear about other people's experiences with Latin.

5. Lastly, my son is very interested in social justice and has inspired me to start getting more educated and involved myself. We would like to start using Howard Zinn's A People's History of the US. Has anyone used that? Do you recommend the graphic novel version, the kid's version, or the adult version? Is there curriculum to go along with it?

Anything else? I welcome all advice. Be as specific as you like - what did you do day in and day out that worked for your child and you?


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The Zinn Project is the online help for A People's History. Other great reads along those lines are Lies My Teacher Told Me by David Lowen, An Indigenous People's History, Blessed Unrest (Read an *entire* story at once. Do not stop or the book is depressing as all get out), and Letters to A Young Activist.


If you want your son to really understand social justice, read the real stuff. Do not sugar coat. It hurts, badly. It should. These are people losing their lives and fighting for their humanity. That should hurt. If it doesn't, we won't get anywhere. It is painfully slow. If he begins to exhibit depression on a large scale, pick a single issue and become involved in a larger organization. Activists lift each other up. It is the only way to not get completely destroyed.


If he is needing lighter resources, let me know. My son has been actively working in environmental and social justice since he was 4, and regionally public speaking since he was 6. It is a main reason we homeschool.

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