How to Set Up a Home School Classroom For Middle Schoolers

Oh, the middle school years! What can you do with these active, restless young people?

Middle School, or Junior High, is the pre-adolescent time of life most parents dread. Your child is not yet an adult, but they are far past young child stage. If you're homeschooling, these middle school years can be some of the most challenging. You want them to keep learning, but you're not quite sure how to cope with their changing moods. Successfully navigating these next few years will require more than sound curriculum choices. It will require flexibility and creativity on the part of you, the homeschool parent.

Here are some techniques and tactics for how to set up a homeschool classroom for your middle schooler:

1) Give your student plenty of room to spread out. Young people at this age are spreading their wings in many ways. Giving them a workspace where they can sprawl out on their back or on their stomach to work may be just what he/she needs to feel "free". Resist the urge to nag about books spread out all over the floor. Agree on a room or area of the house or garage that they can call their own--at least during school hours.

2) Allow them to listen to good music. Many of us concentrate best with background sounds of some kind. When I am writing or making lesson plans, I always have music or television on in the background. My mind just works best that way. Whether it's classical, jazz, or rock, your student may actually need to have some extra input to really concentrate. For you parents who need absolute quiet when working, this advice is going to sound goofy. But remember, you're trying to make an environment in which your student can work best, and a little music may be just what he/she needs.

3) Stock your homeschool library with lots of good books. My kids rolled their eyes as I would periodically pick up "a classic" at the bookstore. But in time, they picked those books up off the shelf and read every one of them! One of the best learning tools we found as we tackled those classics was to read along in the paper book while listening to the audio book. Many students will really enjoy following along in the text while listening, especially if they struggle with reading. They can start and stop the tape when needed, and make notes according to your assignment. You don't even have to be there!

4) Give them anything that is hands-on. Learning with DIME blocks, Legos, electronic circuits, a handheld device of any kind, stimulates today's teens and pre-teens. We live in an information and technology age, so let them use technology in their learning. Many homeschool families find online learning to be a great choice for their middle school and high school students.

Be willing to change things up a bit in your homeschool. Your student is maturing, growing, and changing, so be willing to be flexible when setting up your homeschool classroom for the middle school years.