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What You Need to Know for Homeschooling a Middle Schooler

Anna Smith

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Deciding to homeschool may be one of the biggest and far-reaching decisions you’ll make. Homeschooling a middle school student comes with unique challenges and considerations that elementary and high school students don’t face. Here are some things to think about before you homeschool your middle school student.

They Develop Fast

During the middle school years, students experience some of the greatest developmental milestones on their journey from childhood to becoming teenagers. Physical changes can seem to happen almost overnight. While physical changes can be easy to spot, emotional and cognitive changes may not be as obvious or the same as their outward growth.

E-Achieve explains, “Middle school is also when students begin to start taking personal responsibility in full force. They start to do more and more things on their own.” It’s important to let them grow and develop on their own. Allowing children to grow and learn on their own is a huge step to helping them prepare for their future.

When homeschooling a middle schooler it’s important to consider the cognitive and emotional changes your child is experiencing. During this time your child may begin questioning the information they receive, refusing to accept it at face value as most elementary aged children will.

Their reasoning abilities will grow leading your child to develop a set of values and formulate a world view. Language skills also increase at this time. Your middle schooler may become interested in debate, metaphors, and testing different ways to use language to express themselves. Problem-solving really takes off at this age too.

Challenges Facing Middle Schoolers

Middle schoolers face unique challenges and requirements. There are many things they have to learn during these years to prep themselves for a lifetime of success. The skills that they’ll need to learn during this time will help them succeed in high school and college.

Bags in Bulk explains, “students should develop good study habits, develop time management skills, reading comprehension, test-taking skills, and more while they’re a middle school student.” Instilling the importance of organizing will also benefit your student and is necessary for a lifetime of success.

Acting Like a Middle Schooler

According to Beyond Book Smart, “because their emotional maturity may not be equal to their physical maturity, middle school students can have issues with gossiping, name-calling, insecurities, having a strong desire to fit in with the crowd, and sometimes being outright cruel to their fellow classmates.” In order to encourage strong social skills, students should learn to have respect for self and others.

For a lifetime of success, a student needs not only the self-discipline that comes from great study habits and time management but also the skills to navigate social interactions with others, especially those they disagree with or who may be different than them. Students should learn how to disagree in positive ways that don’t require them to lose self-respect or change a healthy world view.

Homeschooling your middle school student could end up being one of the best decisions you’ve made if you take the unique needs of your child. Account for their cognitive and physical changes as well as the academic and emotional skills they need, and you can position your student for a lifetime of success.

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Education

How You Can Go Back to School While Your Children Are Still Young

Anna Smith

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woman looking at black and brown stroller

Have you put off your education to raise children? This is an admirable choice. Children are this world’s future. At the same time, you may be hoping to give your children a better life by finishing high school or getting a college degree. While this goal may seem impossible, it can be achieved through careful planning. Here are three things to consider about going to school with young children.

Go to Night School

Children are exhausting. They need your constant attention. They simply aren’t capable of sitting in a lecture hall for hours. Most colleges won’t even let you try. Leaving them alone while you go to school isn’t an option. The best solution may be night school. You can take classes at night and make it work with your spouse or partner. Try getting dinner ready for your spouse or partner before they arrive from work. When they get home, leave them with the kids and head off to class. You can do your homework while your children are on play dates or taking naps. Just make sure that you don’t overload yourself with coursework. Slow and steady wins the race.

Get a Degree Online

There may not be a viable night school option around. Your spouse or partner may have a job that causes them to travel. If this is the case, you may want to try school online. There are many benefits to getting an online degree as a parent. You can take classes whenever and wherever you want. Most classes are extremely flexible and allow you to complete units and modules at your own rate. You may worry that you’ll have trouble without being able to discuss material with a person. However, most online schools offer video conference options for students with questions and concerns.

Grants and Scholarships

Even if you can get your schedule sorted out so that you can accommodate school classes, you may not have the funds for school. Even online, education simply isn’t cheap. Fortunately, there are ways to get assistance. Through the kindness and generosity of many people that have been in your shoes, grants and scholarships have been set up to assist people in going back for further education. A simple internet search will give you hundreds of options that you can apply to.

There are a lot of things that might stand in your way when you try to further your education. But don’t let that hold you back. You owe it to yourself to get an education. Your hard work will pay off in the future.

Read this next for more great tips: Single Moms: You Don’t Have to Do It Alone

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Education

4 Tips to Reduce the Environmental Impact of Your Commute in 2020

Anna Smith

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If there’s one thing that climate scientists agree on, it’s that stopping and reversing the environmental damage that carbon dioxide and other byproducts produced from industrial waste and our consumer culture is going to be a Herculean effort if it stands a chance of success. As a responsible member of the global community, you have a responsibility to do what you can to mitigate the damage. The evidence is in—we have only a few years to avoid the worst consequences of climate change. Here are a few practical ways you can start contributing to the solution for our environment by changing the environmental impact of your commute in 2020.

Convert Your Car to Natural Gas

Natural gas is much cleaner than traditional fossil fuels like petroleum. Changing your vehicle’s fuel source from oil to natural gas can significantly reduce your carbon footprint. Depending on the type of engine and work involved, transitioning to natural gas can be costly. However, local incentive programs in some areas offer significant tax advantages or other rewards for drivers who make positive changes like these to their property. The upside is that natural gas is a widely available fuel source, so keeping your car stocked on fuel once you make the switch will be a breeze.

Buy a Hybrid or Electric Vehicle

Electric cars are much more affordable now than they ever have been in the past. While it’s true that they are generally still more expensive than gas-powered cars, major companies like Honda and Ford have produced the Honda Clarity and Chevy Bolt at mainstream prices that can be worked out on a middle-class, modest budget.

Organize a Carpool

Studies have suggested that Americans are driving more than they ever have. Not only is all that time alone in a car using more gasoline than necessary (and therefore pumping more pollution into the atmosphere), but studies have shown that, as a society, we are undergoing a mental health epidemic due in part to our growing isolation. Share a ride with your coworkers, socialize, and build a social network of environmentally active people.

Consider Cycling

Because of the way that cities are designed, it’s understandable that walking or running may not be possible for commuters who travel long distances. If possible, though, and if you live in an area safe and friendly to bicycles, consider cycling to work. In addition to helping reduce harmful pollution, cycling provides the additional bonus of giving you some extra exercise, so it’s really a win-win situation.

Our environment is in trouble, so it’s important that we do something to preserve it. Make these changes and become part of the global solution to the massive environmental challenges we face.

Here’s another article you might like: Go Green: Ways to Make Your Home More Environmentally Friendly

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Education

Help Your Child Win Scholarships—4 Ways to Be on Top of the Game

Anna Smith

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The busy back to school season also signifies the beginning of the college scholarship application process. The complex system of applying for scholarship money necessitates that parents and students keep careful track of deadlines and other pertinent information. Here are four ways to help your child win scholarships:

Do Not Delay

Procrastination is the enemy of any scholarship search. The deadlines will come up a lot faster than you might imagine. Do not wait for your child’s senior year to start looking into scholarship opportunities. By that time, many of the deadlines for the application may have already passed. Taking the time to look into options during your child’s junior year and creating an organizational system to keep track of the specifics will pay big dividends down the road.

Related: FastWeb

Empower the Student

It is essential that parents allow the child to own this journey. You can achieve this sense of ownership by equipping your child with the tools needed to stay on top of the academic game. Central in this knowledge is always being aware of the GPA. You can help your child calculate their GPA so that they are always cognizant of where their academics stand.

Related: GPA Calculator

Harness Multiple Resources

With so much scholarship money available from a wide variety of organizations, it makes sense to keep your options open when looking for suitable scholarships. In addition to leveraging the knowledge and expert experience of the high school guidance counselor, your student should also look to sources such as your local civic groups, churches, philanthropic organizations, and businesses. By harnessing multiple resources, you will be more likely to be granted the scholarship opportunities.

Related: Clark Howard

Make it Easy

As a parent, you can help to make the scholarship application process a lot easier by helping your child to organize the essential pieces of paperwork. By having copies of the pertinent information always ready, you can equip your child with the organization needed to make this process as easy as possible. Items to have on hand include copies of your student’s official high school transcript, a well-written personal statement that can be easily edited to fit various applications, and a variety of letters of recommendation.

Although this time can be a stressful time in your family’s journey, a little organization and research can go a long way in lessening the burden and ensuring that your student makes the most out of their opportunities. By allowing them to learn and grow on their own, they will rise to the occasion and become even greater in time.

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