Home Schooling Nine to Twelve Year Olds

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When home schooling a child between nine and twelve years old, there is a lot of pressure for peer pressure.  Keep in mind that not all children undergo this pressure to be with and like their peers, while distancing themselves from their parents.  These preteens still need plenty of attention, eye contact, positive reinforcement and praise, personal communication, and good interaction with their parents.  Believe it or not, children at this age do still enjoy being read to.  Keep having positive attitudes toward learning; focus on making learning interesting and engaging.  Make sure you use positive constructive criticism with the least amount of academic pressure possible.  Focus on providing a safe, secure learning environment that encourages love, acceptance and reassurance.  This will, in time, raise their feelings of self worth and help them understand where their values lie. 

At this tender age of hormones, mixed emotions, changing feelings, group planning in curriculum is suggested.  Preteens prefer learning skills that have a reason or purpose in real life.  For instance, instead of offering busy work in language arts, ask your child to write a letter to a manufacturing company in regards to a defective household product for you.  Not only would this make the child feel important but the learning task would be a skill much needed in real life.  When learning math, use real life examples with money and budgeting, perhaps even balancing a checkbook.  Use graphs and charts to set goals with earned money and savings.  Reading about science from a textbook is one way to learn the subject, but performing experiments or identifying specimens in nature is much more engaging.  Daily and weekly chores are necessary to learn responsibility and accountability as an integral part of the family. 

Remember to always model what you want to teach.  Learn new topics together.  Dissect a grasshopper for science, work on the family budget together, etc.  Home schooling allows parents to design a curriculum that benefits their children.  Find out where your preteen has strengths and weaknesses and plan your curriculum around that.

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