We’ve had requests for this post so here it is: Tips from moms who’ve been there: How to Homeschool Middle School!
How to Homeschool Middle School
We 7Sisters homeschooled kids through elementary, middle and high school. That’s a long time and we loved it (most days)! We spend a lot of time on high school curriculum and how-tos but we haven’t forgotten the elementary kids (check out our delightful classic literature activity guides for young readers).
We haven’t forgotten the homeschool middle schoolers, either! We get requests often about how we homeschooled middle school that we decided to share. (Here’s our thoughts on Marvelous Middle School.) We also highly recommend this comprehensive post about homeschooling middle school from our friend, Misty, at Year Round Homeschooling.
How to Homeschool Middle School, the 7Sisters Way!
The first and most important thing to know about homeschooling middle school is this:
There’s not ONE right way to homeschool middle school!
One reason that we have homeschooled our middle schoolers is that each is so different! Homeschooling allows us to adapt our goals and educational experiences to meet each kid’s needs, interests along with the family needs.
There are several types of homeschool middle schoolers, so we are free to adjust their curriculum for their best fit!
Average middle schoolers
- The truth is, most kids are at some level of average. They may be good at reading but not so good at math, or vice versa. What many tweens need is time to mature. They need time to have fun, do family read-alouds, and explore their interests.
- They also need academics, of course! Unfortunately, what we often find is that parents feel pressure to HURRY UP and start high school courses while their homeschooler is still in middle school. Many “average” pre-adolescents simply do not have the brain maturation to take on Algebra, Biology or high-powered Literature.
- We have found that when parents give into the pressure of pushing their homeschoolers faster and harder than they have the developmental ability or maturity to handle it, tweens tend to hate school. And sometimes they get so bogged down that it takes twice as long to learn these subjects than if parents had waited a year or two.
- Another issue with pushing tweens into high school material before they are ready, is kids learn to live in a panic about the future:
- “I HAVE to do this Algebra now, or I’ll never get into college!” (I’ve noticed this in the tweens I work with in my counseling setting, too! Sometimes I see anxiety disorders created by the terror that they won’t get into college if they don’t start high school courses in middle school.)
- It reminds me of Matthew 6:34, when Jesus reminded his followers to “Take no thought for tomorrow…”. If we teach our homeschool middle schoolers to be fearful about the future, we are also training them to miss all the good that God is trying to teach them today.
- SO for average homeschool middle schoolers, cover the academics but have FUN doing it:
- Use curriculum that is developmentally appropriate for them.
- Let them explore ideas and interests
- Have lots of hands-on learning
- Have experiences and read-alouds (One of our favorite read-alouds is Anne of Green Gables. Download this 7Sisters freebie Anne of Green Gables Literature Study Guide that you use with the family together.) Or the delightful Snow Treasure (click here for an excerpt from our middle school literature study guide).
In-transition middle schoolers
- Recently, we were talking about homeschooling middle school on our 7Sisters Homeschool Facebook Group.(Hey, join us there for some encouragement!)
- Some of our 7th Sisters reminded us about how much preadolescents change between 6th grade and 8th grade. Many 6th graders are still children and need curriculum with short, simple lessons and LOTS of hands-on and experiential learning!
- By the time many preadolescents or young adolescents are in 8th grade, they are mature enough to ease into some early high school or high school prep materials. You know your child!
- One way to ease a homeschool middle schooler into some more rigorous study is to introduce them to working with Literature Study Guides that accompany books that they find interesting. You can download 7Sisters freebie guide to accompany the ever-popular Misty of Chincoteague and get started when your tween is ready!
- 7Sisters also offers Literature Study Guides for Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH and Snow Treasure. (Don’t let your tweens out of middle school before they read Snow Treasure!)
- By 8th grade, many homeschool middle schoolers are ready for some experiences with truly academic writing (just don’t overdo it). We have enjoyed easing our tweens into writing with simple writing guides:
Click image for full description.
- Sometimes 8th graders are ready to move to Algebra for their math course. If so, give them the time they need to learn it well so they are prepared for the high maths in high school.
Academically-gifted middle schoolers
- Some homeschoolers are academically gifted. They would be bored to tears if they did not have enough rigor or challenge in their academics. That’s great! Whenever they are ready, start experimenting with high school math and/or literature and/or writing.
- For literature, you might want to experiment with high interest books accompanied by 7Sisters no-busywork, High School Literature Study Guides. Here are a few that 8th graders have told me they enjoyed:
- Ease your academically gifted homeschool middle schoolers into high school writing, also. If they haven’t completed 7Sisters Middle School Essay Writing and Fairy Tales Guides, it might be the best place to start.
- If they are ready, most 8th graders have no trouble with 7Sisters Introductory High School Writing Bundle. (It covers a year’s worth of writing assignments: essays, research paper, poetry and short story.)
- But don’t forget that even gifted homeschool middle schoolers need time for fun, hands-on learning and exploring interests!
Arts-gifted middle schoolers
- Don’t kill the joy of the arts (whether it is music, art or dance) with too much performance pressure. Some tweens have told me that they lost the love of their art because their parents pushed them to achieve awards. While some preadolescents enjoy performance and competition, not all do. You know your child!
- We would suggest you follow the above advice for the in-transition or average homeschool middle schoolers.
Sports-gifted middle schoolers
- We suggest same advice as for the arts-gifted middle schoolers.
Middle schoolers with special needs or learning disabilities
- Homeschooling is such a great choice for middle schoolers with special needs or learning disabilities! Our favorite resource for these young people is the SPED Homeschool! There are videos, blogs and curriculum resources! AND they are SO encouraging!
AND that’s NOT all! Some of our favorite homeschool friends have podcasts about how to homeschool middle school:
- Relaxed and Interest Led Homeschooling for Middle School Raising Life Long Learners Podcast (Colleen Kessler)
- Homeschooling Middle School, Interview with Latonya Moore. Homeschool Highschool Podcast (that’s us!)
- Preparing Middle Schoolers for High School. Homeschool Highschool Podcast (that’s us, again!)
- How to Homeschool Middle School. Homeschool Sanity Podcast (Dr. Melanie Wilson)
Even more! Here are some of our favorite posts from our favorite friends on how to homeschool middle school:
- How to Homeschool Your Middle Schooler. PsychoWith6.com (Dr. Melanie Wilson) (BTW: We LOVE her Grammar Galaxy curriculum. We’re not affiliates, we just like it!)
- How to Create Your Own Interest-Led Middle School Curriculum. Raising Lifelong Learners (Colleen Kessler)
- Helping Your Middle Schoolers Rock STEM. Breakthrough Homeschooling (Pat Fenner)
- How to do Independent Projects with Your Middle Schooler. Adventures in Mommydom (Ticia Messing)
- Our Favorite Curriculum Choices for Middle School. BJ’s Homeschool. (Betsy Sproger)
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How to Homeschool Middle School