Tips on Homeschooling a Middle Schooler

I’m a homeschooling mother to a middle schooler, isn’t that crazy? He’s 11 already and almost as tall as me, where has the time gone? Well, if you’ve been following along, you know that we’ve had a lot more challenges this year than others. M1 has needed a bit more motivation this year and I’ve been running out ideas on how to keep our school running smoothly. So what happens when I need advice on those things that I do not know, I find veteran homeschool moms to see what they have to say. Once I mention that M1 is 11, everyone seems to know what I’m talking about. Apparently 10 is the magic number where your once compliant homeschooler decides that he has better things to do than school and decides to make your life a lot more difficult. Get ideas and tips for homeschooling a middle schooler I’m probably exaggerating but at least I know that I’m not alone. 

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Tips for Homeschooling a Middle Schooler

How much physical activity does your child get?

I know that we’re hibernating in this cold Canadian winter and we are not getting out as much as we’d like. What do you do then? Chores. I mean those hard, not fun chores like mopping the floor and washing the walls. Not only will you have a house that shines but you will have one tired out homeschooler, who is ready to sit down and complete his school work. Don’t make exercise a chore, join in and get active yourself. The kids regularly join in on my Tae Bo workouts, mostly because they think it’s fun. We’ve also been enjoying Just Dance on the PS4. It’s a lot of fun and you really don’t think of it as exercise. We’ve also purchased a membership to our local YMCA. This gives us a chance to go swimming and run around the track no matter what the weather is outside. My kids sleep so well at night on those days when we go to the YMCA. This leads into my next point.

How much sleep does your child get?

My son now gets about 9-10 hours of sleep each night, when he gets less I find that he’s lethargic the next day. If you’re child isn’t getting much physical activity during they day, perhaps they’re having trouble falling asleep at night. On those nights where I find the kids are bounding off the walls right before bed, it’s a perfect time to start diffusing lavender essential oil in their bedroom. This has become our nightly routine and it works. The best place to buy essential oils

Is your child eating a good wholesome diet?

If you have a growing middle schooler who may be entering puberty, make sure they have complete meals with lots of nutritious snacks. Cut out those refined processed foods and sugars. I’m guilty of having a huge sweet tooth, yes I do hide chocolate or candy for myself, but at least the kids are eating well, lol. The only snacks we have in this house are fruit, cheese, yogurt, and crackers, we’ve cut out most of those packaged snacks, another way to save money as well.

Does your child need more independence?

Maybe the conflict or change is a result of your child’s desire to be more independent. I think that I wanted M1 to be more independent early on when he wasn’t ready. Now I think he needs it, to take more ownership of  his work. This is one change I will be implementing. He has a schedule but I’ve been the one making sure he is completing it. He’s finally realized that he needs to get his butt moving. He’s such a dawdler. He only finished 2 subjects the other day and complained that he only had 15 minutes of screen time. Once he realized that he needed to get his work started earlier, school has been going more smoothly. I have almost been driven mad, my patience and character is tested on a daily basis. These hormones, puberty, and back talking make homeschooling questionable, but we wouldn’t have it any other way. What other ideas do you have for teaching a middle schooler?


  1. We’ve been through this with our daughter. She is 14 now, and went to an elementary school before being home schooled. Two things that I always found useful are
    1. Routine (No matter how much kids try to riggle out of their routine they do need this), if they know what they are supposed to be doing and when, then they are accountable to themselves and you.
    2. A little more freedom of what they are going to learn and how. Give a range of topics (within reason) where there are tightly set goals and deadlines – so that you can check that something is happening. It could be the history of a sports team or an investigation into space exploration.

    1. Yes a routine definitely makes thing easier.

  2. This was our first year having a middle-schooler at our house, and I also noticed some huge changes in him this year. Thanks for sharing some of the tips that have helped you. I’ve also found that giving him a little more freedom and responsibility for his school work has helped tremendously.

  3. My almost 11 year old is a handful too. There is no way to give him freedom because he just won’t do anything. I tease that we live in a halfway house – everything gets done halfway. Ugh!!

    1. If left on his own, my son would just read or play with legos the whole day.

      1. Hi ladies,

        Yes, my 12 year old went through this too. I think it has something to do with puberty because he was very tired and cranky at 10, and 11 years. He seems to becoming much more focused with his schooling over the past few months. He has even picked back up his guitar and musical instruments that were a struggle to get him to do last year! Even during his “free” time you can find him online looking at guitar tabs and practicing… I am not complaining!!! This makes me thrilled…

        Additionally, the math that we have been struggling with for two years he has now mastered and is finally ready to move on!

        Hang in there ladies, 12 and (hopefully 13) will be good years! (hopefully… lol)

        Have a wonderful weekend,


  4. A healthy diet is soo important, and I’m afraid I’m not the best role model. Thanks for the reminders!

    1. I try hard to be but I have been known to hide candy and chocolate from the kids so I could consume it myself.

  5. We started our homeschooling journey around the age of 9, so we hit this stage very quickly in our homeschooling. We use our Wii games for those winter days that are just too cold to go outside. I am hoping we skip right over this stage with our now 8 year old 😉

    1. Wii games are great! We use them as well.

  6. Thanks for sharing! I agree that physical activity is huge! The more my boys get outside and blow off their steam the better things go around our house. It has been a long, hard winter in Michigan… so this homeschool mom is excited that the snow has finally melted and my boys can get outside and run around more often. 🙂

    Also, independence is key. My boys cheerfully do their schoolwork if they know that they can do some of it while I’m off running errands. At ages 12 and 13, they definitely enjoy some time where they are able to “be their own bosses.”

    1. It really does make a big difference. Once they’re tired out, they’re ready to sit and do their work.

  7. I needed to read this so much right now! My 5th almost 6th grader is everything you just described. Yay, I’m not alone! Thanks for the advice and encouragement. 🙂

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