work and homeschool challenges work and homeschool lifestyle working homeschooler videos

Working, Homeschooling, and Household Management with "Middle" Kids


If you have been watching this series on working, homeschooling, and household management, you already know how this can work with older kids who have a lot of independence or with very little children who do not require a lot of formal schooling. But what about those who are in the middle - your upper-elementary or lower-middle school ages? 

In this video, we look at how this works for the child who is not as independent as a teen but has a heavier workload than than a first grader.

Download on Soundcloud or listen here:

Here is the transcript:

Well, hi there. This is Kelly Harbaugh with working homeschooler. We have been talking lately about how you do it all? How do you work full time and homeschool and manage the household? How do you fit all that in? Now, if you have been reading or listening to me for any length of time, you know that I will tell you that your life can actually be less chaotic and more streamlined when you take control of everything and homeschool. But we have been talking about how that works with different ages of kids.
To recap where we've been, we talked about your older kids, and the independence that your high schoolers and maybe your older middle schoolers can have with not only their work, but taking on a good share of the housework and still having more free time than they did when they were in school. Then we went all the way to the other side. And we talked about your little ones, and how the sliding scale in the amount of time you have to spend with them, and the lack of pressure and the lack of burnout they have from not being pushed in school all day, how all of those things can add up to an easier evening. And you don't really have to spend a lot of time on schoolwork. And you can mentor them a little bit and have some together time as they follow you around and maybe don't do any meaningful help with chores but they are spending time with you and starting to develop that work ethic. So you can get more detail on both of those from the last two videos.

Today we're going to talk about where that leaves us. That leaves us with those middle grades. Your upper elementary, lower middle school grades, those who are not quite Independent enough yet to do a lot of their work completely on their own, but they do have more work than the younger ones. And so you're right in between that skill. So how do you make that work? Well, we'll talk about two things. One, you can be very intentional in how you choose to teach and what materials you use. And two, you can be very intentional about multitasking- that can be a bad word - about using your time to work and learn and walk together in the evening.

So, first, let's talk about the way you choose to teach. Let's remember that it is not really as efficient to do a bunch of, you know, busy work and tests as it is to have a conversation with your child and understand what they know and what they've learned. I am not telling you to not do any book work, do not do any worksheets, but let's think about how we want to spend most of your time. The most economical here if you don't want to really invest in audio or video teaching, and I suggest this anyway, even if you are doing those other things, is to really encourage a love of reading. This is the time and the age to load your kids up with those books. Go to the library, check out lots of whole books on what they are studying. Check out lots of books on things that maybe aren't part of your curriculum, but the things that they want to learn, they're going to pick up and read the other parts of the day. really encourage them to read and it is more important for them to do a lot of reading then for you to decide what those topics are. And so, in the evening that can look like you do doing dishes together and discussing what they read today. And you can get a lot more out of that. We're going to talk about that more in a minute.

Let's talk about those audio video streaming curriculum, those self grading math programs, and all of these, you're going to want to work with your child's strengths with their individual learning styles with what works best for them. But know that there is a lot -there are a lot of curriculum that are based on audio and video teaching, and then there are a lot of traditional types of curriculum that include optional audio and video tracks, or internet streaming, teaching. There are a lot of options like that where you can add that on and start teaching your child independence during the day.
So if you combine that with say, if your child works well with checklists, you're going to give them a checklist each day with the things that they can work on themselves. Let them go through and check them off. So at the end of the day, you're sitting down and going through that checklist with them. With them doing a lot more reading and discussing with you than busy work. All of those things in combination, like I said, can look like the two of you working side by side. We talked about doing dishes and discussing your book. What if you are using a video math program like Math-U-See, and the two of you are sitting down, folding laundry together and watching the Math-U-See video. You are together for their math lesson, you're teaching them a life skill, and you're having parent-child time. You see, all of this is less pressure than when you are trying to finish something for tomorrow that a teacher assigned where you don't have any say-so in the curriculum. You can fit things together better. And guess what, that's the biblical model that you walk together, learn together, work together as much as possible. And so that's what you want to start modeling.

And you want to think about how you can slowly mentor your child towards independence. If you're a working parent, then you know very well how this works when you start a new job, right? Your first days, you get a lot of hands on training, a lot of one on one time. And then you are hopefully given good instructions and tools and an assignment, directions on what to do. And then those beginning days, your supervisor will probably be checking in with you a lot more often than in those later days once you've got it down. And that's how you have to look at your child's education journey and really how you're teaching them to do everything, even these chores that you're doing together. In the beginning, you are doing a lot of hands on training with them. And then slowly you are backing away, and seeing how much they have learned to do on their own. And by the time they are older, and then those high school years, hopefully they have learned enough independence to really be prepared for adulthood and really be able to take on those heavier workloads on their own.

So think of yourself as their guide. And your middle grade students are the new recruits, the people that you are just bringing on for job training. And so you're going to do a lot more side by side, but you are still not going to sit down with them, even on your new jobs, did your boss sit down with you the entire day and watch everything you were doing? You're not going to sit down with them through all of it, you're going to walk with them along the way, teaching them and training them.

And so that is how you can make everything kind of work together. You know, work side by side, learn side by side as much as you can, and then when you have to put those things aside and sit down at the table together to do some things, there's still not as much pressure you are controlling the amount of that that you are doing and you are controlling the pace of it. And a lot of this is up to you to not get impatient. And remember that you don't have to worry about being behind. It is more important to make sure you park on something until they understand it. And it takes some time to learn that but once you do, it can really streamline your day. It can really make life easier.

And so this is really my mission is I want to to have deeper conversations. I want your children to have better education and I want your days to not be so chaotic, and they can be and homeschooling can help your family to have a better life, even when you are working full time. And so hopefully these videos have helped you and if you have missed those other two. Just go back and watch part one and part two where we address the high schoolers and the little kids. And hopefully that will help you to create a plan according to your child's ages. Have a great day.