Homeschool Transitions: What’s Different In Middle School

What is so different about homeschooling through the middle school years? There are certainly some changes, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. 

Homeschooling sixth grade can be intimidating in the beginning. It brings up a lot of fears and insecurities we had when we first began homeschooling. In retrospect, the early years now seem easy and low-pressure. But is middle school really that much different?

Keep reading to discover what’s different in middle school and get some great ideas for thriving through homeschool transitions like this one. I promise, homeschooling middle school does not have to be so complicated.

Homeschooling In The Early Years

Homeschooling in the early years focused a lot on purposeful play and fostering a connection. We read lots of picture books, played together, and had fun cooking for Dad in the kitchen. Homeschooling was all about fostering a strong connection and learning gently through play. 

Want to read more about how homeschooling in the early years? Discover my Purposeful Preschool curriculum. Then, read about all the things I wish I’d known when I started homeschooling preschool.

Homeschool Transitions: What’s Different In Middle School

Homeschool transitions can feel intimidating, but there’s a lot that hasn’t changed since we started homeschooling middle school. We still play lots of games, we’re still focusing on a strong connection, and we still follow an interest-led approach in our homeschool. But there’s a lot that’s different in middle school too.

Old Fears, New Fears

Homeschooling through transitions can bring up lots of old fears that turn into new fears. It’s normal and natural to feel uncertain about how you’ll manage the transition to middle school. You might be unsure about whether or not you’ll get it right.

I remember being a little bit afraid as a new homeschooling mom. Questions like “Will I be able to do this?” and “What if I don’t teach her the right things?” were at the forefront of my mind. As we transitioned to homeschooling middle school, some of those old fears became new fears again. I found myself wondering if I needed a list of middle school spelling words to start drilling or a textbook for science – things I haven’t worried about in year.

Turns out those old fears that turned into new fears aren’t any more true now than they were then. We can do this and we can do it well.

Making It Fun

Another thing that’s different about homeschooling through the middle school years is that it’s harder to have fun. Remember the preschool years when we could give them a cardboard box and watch in awe as they turned it into a spaceship or a clubhouse? 

Middle schoolers are different. They’re caught between trying to be cool and still loving all the things they did as kids. Even if they would still have loads of fun with a cardboard box, they seem unable to admit it.

School assignments and curriculum choices can become challenging. There aren’t always fun activities and games built into middle school resources. As homeschool parents, this often means we need to put lots of effort into keeping things fun while meeting important middle school goals. These free STEM activities for middle school are an excellent example.

Big Emotions

Middle schoolers are dealing with lots of big changes and big emotions. That means we are sometimes blindsided by big emotions or emotional outbursts we didn’t expect. Being in the middle school years means being caught between childhood and adolescence. 

Sometimes these big emotions mean we have to make some changes in our homeschool. Prioritizing connection and emotional health might mean academics need to take a backseat for the day or even the week. Making time to teach our kids skills like growth mindset and practicing mindfulness can be just as important as mastering algebra.


Another middle school transition that I wasn’t truly prepared for is independence. Suddenly, our kids are more independent. They are totally capable of doing so much on their own and they want to do it on their own too. It can be a challenge to manage this new stage as a hands-on homeschool parent.

Alternatively, our middle schoolers are still caught between independence and dependence. Which means we have to make lots of decisions about what level of independence they’re ready for and what might have to wait. This can be a big challenge during the middle school years.

Homeschooling Middle School Doesn’t Have To Be Complicated!

Even though homeschooling middle school is different, it doesn’t have to be complicated. After all, this new middle schooler is still your child. You know them better than anyone! 

Middle school definitely brings some changes with it, but it’s all about your relationship. Stay focused on fostering a strong connection with your middle schooler and these homeschool transitions will feel easier. 

Want more helpful resources for homeschooling during the middle school years? Check out these articles all about homeschooling middle school:

How are you managing the homeschool transition to middle school learners? Share the differences you’ve noticed about homeschooling middle schoolers in the comment section. I can’t wait to read about your experiences and tips for managing this homeschool transition too!