Homeschooling Middle School
If you’ve been following our homeschooling life, you know we’ve been homeschooling since our oldest kiddo was preschool age. It’s hard to believe that now we’re homeschooling middle school!
If you have preschool-age kids in your house, you might enjoy exploring what the preschool years have looked like in our homeschool.
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Over the years, I have shared grade-level specific blog posts to assist other families as they walk through homeschooling their elementary school age kids.
Beyond the fifth-grade year, we do not provide grade-specific breakdowns on our site, but in this blog post, I want to give some general tips for homeschooling middle school students.
These are suggestions I would share with another family who may be walking the same middle school path we are right now.
When we get to the high school years, I may put together a similar post. I’m wrestling with the fact that my kids continue to get older and older – no matter how much I try to freeze time – so let’s not rush things by thinking about a high-school homeschooling post just yet. 😉
I’m sure we’ll get there sooner than my mama heart can handle!
Homeschooling Middle School
In my experience so far, homeschooling a middle-school age student is in many ways different than homeschooling a preschool or elementary-age child.
Throughout those pre-k and elementary years, homeschooling parents are more actively involved in the teaching and learning process. Much time is spent encouraging your younger children as they grasp foundational information that will set them up for even greater learning as they grow and mature.
As they progress through those elementary years, it is important that a transition to more and more independent learning. Many children begin to crave this in a new way as they get older, so providing them opportunities to be successful without you as the homeschooling parent playing such active role can be such a gift to them. This is true for any kids this age – whether they realize it or not.
As they go through these middle-school years, parents can expect their child to go through many changes. Not only will they experience physical changes, but possibly others as well.
More than anything, they need the consistency and support that a loving home provides. I don’t believe this ever goes away for a person – no matter how old they get!
This desire you have for them to develop into the person God designed them to be will also be what drives you to encourage them academically as well.
Whether you are just getting started with homeschooling or have been educating your children as home for many years leading up to this point, my hope is that these tips for homeschooling middle school-aged children will be helpful to you.
Tips for Homeschooling Middle School
1. Help them get organized.
If you’ve been homeschooling for several years, a planner of some kind has probably been your best friend. These middle school years may be a good time for your student to try using a planner or agenda of their own. Learning how to utilize a planner to organize their daily/monthly schedule could have many long-term benefits for your middle schooler.
- Does your student have a variety of different assignments they need to keep track of each week?
- Are they accountable to instructors outside of the home?
A planner could be a great tool to help teach them important organizational and time-management skills.
Maybe a planner would be too overwhelming for your child at this point. Would a daily to-do list be a better option? I’ve created an editable one for you! You can print this on cardstock and either laminate it or place it down in a dry erase pocket of some kind. It is perfect for daily use!
What other specific tools or school supplies could your middle aged kids take more ownership of at this point? How about a specific container or basket just for them to use for their things? Maybe they have their own desk set up in their preferred learning space?
2. Continue to read aloud with them.
This one may surprise you! It may even make you (and your child) feel a bit uncomfortable – especially if you haven’t been consistent in reading aloud with them in recent years. However, I’m a firm believer that no child is too old for read-aloud time with their parents.
Yes, read aloud with your middle schooler! Need some book suggestions? We save our favorite chapter books here. You will notice there are titles for a variety of different reading levels.
Not sure when to do this? How about in the morning – during breakfast? What about some down time in the family room after lunch? My kids love when everyone is sprawled out on the couches and I’m reading to them. Would evening time – possibly before bedtime – work better for your family? Get creative and do what works with the dynamics in your home.
Have a reluctant reader on your hands? Try audiobooks! These can be great for them to listen to throughout the day or when traveling in the car.
Sharing stories together is a great way to stay connected with your kids – no matter their age!
3. Teach them how to recognize important info.
Take every opportunity to teach your child how to spot important information! This is key to strengthening those study skills.
- Are they able to retell the portion of the story you just read aloud to them?
- Do you discuss the key information in math story problems? Are they able to differentiate between necessary information and extraneous detail?
- Would taking sermon notes during a church service encourage them with this skill? This can lead to great family discussions following lunch on Sundays!
- After watching a television show or movie, can your student tell you the key takeaways intended by the creator?
- When asked to summarize a paragraph they’ve read (or maybe even a book they’ve just finished), what stands out most to them? Are they comfortable with how to separate what is important to remember from the rest of the text?
Depending on your homeschool style, you may not necessarily have your child take notes during your daily lessons with them, but as you can see, there are simple things you can do to help them recognize and understand key information.
This skill will be of great assistance to them as they enter different learning environments in the future where more formalized note-taking skills will be necessary for gaining understanding (and studying for exams).
Book Reports that Spark Creativity
Want to assign your child a book report, but don’t want to do them the traditional way? I get it! That can be so boring! Try these unique twists on the traditional book report.
4. Provide opportunities for interest-led learning. Let them explore new things!
As your child gets older, you may notice their interest in a specific topic or subject area deepening. Or you may recognize that their interests are changing. The middle school years are a important time to let them explore the things they enjoy at their own pace, providing you with the opportunity to tailor their educational experiences to their unique interests.
- Is there a specific sport your child would like to play? Beyond the physical benefits, what might that sport teach them about math, physics, etc.?
- Do you have a creative student who would like to explore a certain style of art?
- Has your child shown an interest in learning a foreign language?
- Would your child enjoy more opportunities to write creatively? Could they start a blog? Submit an article to a publication?
- Is your student interested in coding? Graphic design? Video creation?
- Has your middle schooler shown an interest in learning how to bake or cook?
These days, there seems to be countless opportunities for kids to explore their individual interests. In fact, the homeschool program you create for your middle schooler can provide them with more than they would ever have available to them at what some might consider the more traditional schools in your area.
- Do you have any local summer camp offerings that would be a good fit for your child? Check the private schools! We have a couple in our area that offer fantastic camp options through June, July, and August.
- What local sports teams/league options are available for homeschooling students? Some families fear that the only way for their child to be involved in sports is for them to attend the local public schools. Do a little research – You might be surprised what is available to you where you live!
- Would an online course be a good option for your child? There are so many online classes available these days. At times, I’m not even sure where to start in my search! When considering options like these, other homeschool moms have been the best resource for me.
Have you ever heard of Outschool?
It’s an online learning hub, and it has been another fantastic option for our family! My kids have tried a variety of different online classes available on this learning platform: music, chess, art, creative writing, etc.
While I do encourage families to choose their teachers on Outschool wisely, there are some amazing instructors on there as well!
If you want to give Outschool a try, here’s a link that gives you $20 toward your first classes! It also gives me $20, so if you sign up – THANK YOU!
5. Remember, your child is going through physical and emotional changes.
This is an important one! During the middle school years, you may notice your child’s body is changing and their emotions are…um, unpredictable. This can be challenging for families – especially if this season is new to them!
At these times, gift you and your child an extra measure of grace.
Remember that when your middle schooler seems to having a bad day or handling things in a different way than they have in the past, we’ve all been there! Hormonal changes are something we’ve all experienced. While it may not be an easy season, especially if your student has additional special needs, your encouragement and support will make all the difference for them – even if they don’t seem appreciative in the moment.
As a parent, this is a good opportunity to help your child learn how to manage and deal with their emotions, new stress levels they may be experiencing, etc.
6. Have fun!
Did you hear that? It’s still okay to have fun with your child! Just because they’ve entered middle school doesn’t mean the lessons have to start being boring and all the fun experiences stop!
In fact, maybe it’s time to ramp up the fun for them a bit. It may take a little work to keep things interesting for a student this age, but it is definitely possible to enjoy this stage of learning!
- Create opportunities to spend time with them, teaching them life skills along the way.
- Take them places maybe you never explored with them in their younger years. Don’t stop planning field trips. In fact, do more at this stage!
- Provide them with new responsibility that includes working alongside you on a project – or contributing to the family in a new way.
- Involve them more in the family business or the family’s most recent project. Working together can provide you with the best time to communication with your kids as they go through these middle years.
- Allow them to start learning how to invest their money! This can be pivotal time in a child’s life for exploring how to successfully manage finances.
- Let go of a previously-used curriculum option and try something you sense may be a better fit for them.
- Consider educational video games that reinforce skills you feel are important.
- Don’t stop the hands-on learning experiences. Keep those engaging activities like science experiments and such going strong! Need to outsource some of that at this point? Go for it!
When it comes to home education for middle school, sure, it can be challenging in new ways, but have you ever stopped to consider that it might end up be the time in your child’s life when they make the very best memories at home with you?