Our First Month of Middle School | What’s Working and What’s Not

Our First Month of Middle School | What’s Working and What’s Not

As we come to an end of our very first month of homeschooling middle school, I thought I’d write about what worked this month and what didn’t. In my mind, homeschooling is like ‘lean management’. We run such a small, tight school (currently just one student) that we can make small adjustments to our plan whenever needed to provide the greatest outcome in the end. We’re so lean and nimble we can shift on the fly. OK, enough philosophizing …

If you want to see our plan for this year in detail, I wrote a ton here.

Math – Life of Fred is working so far. We started at Butterflies (book 2) solely because my library didn’t have Apples (book 1). There are 19 chapters and she worked through 2 a day, before moving on to the next book. This was neither too little, nor too much. She likes the stories and has no complaints. Sure, she knew everything so far, but I’m OK with that. I want to re-build her confidence and fill in any gaps.

Reading – I overestimated how much Isabella could read in one day (30 pages). It’s totally fine; she’s building up those ‘muscles’. Now that I know what she averages, I can plan better. She is currently  reading “The 65-story Treehouse” much faster (60-75 pages/day) than she read “The Lost Hero”, but it is a much easier book. Also, I plan on having her work through “The Hired Girl” next. We have the audio version as well as a paperback for her to follow along so we can see how that method works for her.

Handwriting – I had high hopes for cursive handwriting practice. It’s only 10 minutes, I told myself. I had printables that I made, printables that I downloaded, and ‘Handwriting without Tears’. She hated every. single. one. And, she may be 11, but she can whine with the best of them! Her argument was that she was never going to *use* cursive so why should she practice. She claimed that her generation (yes, she used that word – LOL) will only ever communicate via keyboards so why bother? She said she knows *how* so what if each letter isn’t perfect! All valid points. I argued that if her generation is forced to live in a post-apocalyptic dystopia, she may be the only one left on earth to know cursive handwriting and it could help her fend off a zombie invasion … it didn’t work.

I’m mulling over how to attack this from a completely different angle.

PhyEd – Just like eating lunch, we both get caught up in what we are doing and forget about PhyEd. We need to be more consistent and just get it out of the way sooner in the day. The town we live in has zero options in terms of a gym/YMCA and little opportunity for after-school activities. Thank goodness it was a temporary move and we relocate (permanently) about 45 minutes west to a larger town with so many more opportunities. All three kids will be homeschooled then and will more than likely have swimming lessons at the YMCA.

Word Rebuses – So, a word rebus is a picture puzzle where a phrase is represented with a combination of words and pictures that you need to decipher. MILONELION is a great example (One *in* a million). They are great for logic as well as sparking creativity. Guess what? You have to *know* common phrases and idioms in order to play along. Guess what else? My kid doesn’t. I ordered this book of idioms so we can practice those first.

Spelling – We are still working our way through all 1,000 Fry Sight Words by taking a 25 word spelling test each day. Once we finish, I hope to have a better understanding of where she is at and where we need to go.

That’s it. Super happy so far. Homeschooling middle school (and eventually high school) was *so* the right decision for us!


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