When homeschooling a child between the ages of nine and twelve, there is a lot of pressure from peer pressure. Keep in mind that not all children experience this pressure to be with their peers and like them, while distancing themselves from their parents. These tweens still need lots of attention, eye contact, positive reinforcement and praise, personal communication, and good interaction with their parents. Believe it or not, children this age still like to be read to. Continue to have positive attitudes towards learning; focus on making learning interesting and engaging. Be sure to use positive constructive criticism with as little academic pressure as possible. Focus on providing a safe learning environment that fosters love, acceptance, and ease. Over time, this will increase their feelings of self-worth and help them understand where their values lie.
In this tender age of hormones, mixed emotions, changing feelings, group planning is suggested in the curriculum. Tweens prefer to learn skills that have a real-life reason or purpose. For example, instead of offering you busy work in language arts, ask your child to write a letter to a manufacturing company regarding a defective household product for you. Not only would this make the child feel important, but the learning task would be a much-needed skill in real life. When learning math, use real life examples with money and budgets, maybe even balancing a checkbook. Use graphs and charts to set goals for money earned and savings. Reading about science from a textbook is one way to learn the subject, but conducting 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 together on the family budget, etc. Homeschooling allows parents to design a curriculum that benefits their children. Find out where your tween has strengths and weaknesses and plan your curriculum around that.
Homeschooling and socialization:
When parents talk about homeschooling their children, the most common concern is socialization. Parents worry that their children will not learn to adapt to social situations. Unless the homeschooling parent decides to completely isolate their children from the outside world, this is impossible. In fact, homeschooled children interact more with people of all ages, not just their age group. The average homeschooled child attends more educational field trips during the year than the nonhomeschooled child. Additionally, homeschooled children have more opportunities for extracurricular activities, such as music lessons, sports, and hobbies.
Homeschoolers are equally comfortable with younger children, peers, and adults of all ages. Homeschooled children have daily social interactions with family, neighborhood, and community. Because of this, studies have shown that children who study at home have higher self-esteem. Children who attend school do not experience real world situations, while homeschoolers are definitely more prepared for the real world.
The type of socialization that is experienced in schools is usually negative. Large school environments harbor conformity, teasing, bullying, defiant behavior, popularity contests, and competition. Not surprisingly, homeschooled children have higher self-esteem; the children at home are learning kindness, patience, sharing, respect and understanding. These homeschooled children are not exposed to peer influences that foster peer dependency. Peer-dependent children show diminished positive socialization such as self-esteem, confidence, reverence for their parents, and trust in peers. Although homeschooled children may play with other children in the neighborhood and experience this dependency on peers, strong values and morals are taught at home that override these negative experiences.
Homeschooled children learn to listen to their own instincts and let that guide them in making their own decisions. Conforming to a social group of peers that does not value individuality does not encourage independent thinking, which is necessary for a successful life.