Tips for Teaching a Middle Schooler at Home

For those who don’t know me I’m Tonya and a friend of Christine’s.  While Christine is off having a much deserved vacation, I’m one of the lucky bloggers who she asked to write a guest post.   I was a little stumped as to what I should write about at first, but then I got to thinking about what Christine and I have in common.  We both have twins and we both homeschool.

So I decided to go with a post about homeschooling.  I thought I’d offer up a few tips that I’ve learned in the hope of helping others who are considering homeschooling too.

Although my 13 year old son went to a combination of private and public schools until he began 7th grade, we decided that homeschooling was going to be the best approach for him for at least the remainder of Middle School (Jr. High) and possibly High School too.  We learned very quickly that moving a child from a traditional school into homeschooling was going to be quite a challenge.  He thought he was on vacation, we insisted that he in fact wasn’t.

So here are my 5 tips on helping your homeschooler and you survive the school year.


Have your child get up at the same time each morning and go through a normal routine as if they were going to a traditional school – so breakfast, shower, morning chores and getting dressed.  This helps to establish a routine and start them off in a mindset ready for their school day.  Let them know what their day will consist of.  Make sure that their work environment is clear from distractions (such as video games and television) and they have everything available that they will need such as stationery supplies and paper.


Just because you are homeschooling doesn’t mean that field trips aren’t important.  They are beneficial.  Whether you choose to visit museums, art galleries, a farm, the beach or the dessert, hands-0n activities can be very educational and make learning fun.  Here’s an idea:  if you are heading off on a hike, give them a trail map and have them identify things along the way such as insects and plants.  Maybe the could take some time to sketch what they see or you could take photographs so they can look up each thing they have found when they get home and do a report about it.


One of the benefits of homeschooling is that you are able to add more time for art and physical education into your child’s schedule.  Unfortunately too many public schools in the U.S. are cutting back on these fundamental learning experiences.  Have your child hand make greeting cards that your family can use throughout the year, maybe writing a little poetry for some and paint masterpieces on butcher paper that you can wrap gifts in.  Take them outside to build things like this or keep an eye on sites such as The Crafty Crow for a plethora of crafts for all age groups.  For physical education take them on hikes, ride bikes, go to the beach for some boogie boarding fun, or have them join a sports team.


Get your homeschooler involved in volunteering.  Not only will your child be contributing to helping a local organization and people in their community, but it will give your (older) child work experience and job skills.  Here are a few links to get you started.


I feel that it is imperative that homeschooled children maintain friendships.  They spend a great deal of time in solitude studying, however they still need to communicate and play with children their own age.  Organize play dates or get them involved in groups, whether it be scouts, church groups, sports programs or extra classes outside of the home.  Seek out other homeschooling families in your area for field trips or study groups.  It will help their social skills.

You can learn more about me and my family over at my primary blog A day in my life …