5 things middle schoolers should do before high school

Middle schoolers have some things to do before high school.

As parents homeschooling middle school, we’re fortunate that we can design our children’s lesson plans around their needs, so we can focus some of our time and energy where it benefits them the most.

One area we all need to spend time on is preparing teens for high school.

Here are 5 things every middle schooler should do before they start 9th grade.

A group of 6 diverse tweens standing in a group with arms around each other looking at up at the camera.

There’s so much to do during these three years, but the most important is making sure we’re preparing middle schoolers for high school.

Things to Do Before High School

One of the most important things that parents can do for their middle schoolers is to help them be ready for high school. This means focusing on the academic, social, and emotional aspects of transitioning into this next phase.

Middle school is a time when kids are figuring out who they are and what they want to do with their lives. It’s important to give them the opportunity to explore different interests and try new things. But it’s also crucial to make sure they’re staying on track academically.

That’s why it’s so important to do these things before high school starts. Teens need to know what’s expected of them and have a plan in place so they don’t fall behind.

Going from Middle School to High School

Transitioning from middle school to high school is a big adjustment for everyone, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. It’s an exciting time, too- the world of high school brings with it many new opportunities and things to explore.

There are several ways that high school differs from middle school, like increased responsibilities, more course options and extracurricular activities. The workload and expectations are going to be higher and the content more difficult.

Fortunately, preparing for 9th grade can help ease some of the stress associated with the transition.


As homeschoolers, we are responsible for preparing our teens for high school.

We have the advantage of being able to customize our children’s education to fit their needs and strengths. We can use that flexibility to make sure they’re ready for the next step in their education.

Here are 5 things you can do during the middle school years to make sure your teen is ready for high school and beyond.

Online Courses for Teens

The landscape of education is constantly evolving and they offer more and more classes online. In fact, chances are good that your child will take a variety of online homeschool courses during high school.

Online learning differs from traditional educational methods, so there are benefits to exposing your teen to this type of learning while the stakes are lower.

That’s why I feel that it’s important for homeschoolers to take at least one virtual course while they’re in middle school.

When your students take an online course, they not only get experience with this method of learning, but it also makes him accountable to someone other than you. This teaches them how to adjust to a different teaching style, the importance of completing tasks on a firm deadline, and how to deal with the consequences if they don’t keep up with the work.

Improving Writing Skills

Once they enter high school, students will find that they’re writing more than ever. So if your teens begin 9th grade having limited writing experience, they could struggle with the increased workload. It comes down to the fact that teens need to write more.

By the time they reach high school, teens should be comfortable writing, especially a standard essay.

To help them, gradually, throughout middle school, assign more writing assignments of different styles and lengths. Things like product reviews are a great way to make writing fun for kids.

If you need help, sign up for an online writing course. We did that, and it made a world of difference for my youngest daughter.

Don’t be afraid to challenge your kids and change up your language arts plan. If you work on this during these three years, when they face the increased writing demands in high school, they’ll feel more confident in their abilities.

Time Management Skills for Teens

As your teens go through high school, the demands on their time will only grow, so they need to learn how to manage their time now so they know how to fit everything in without getting overwhelmed.

In the upper grades, especially if they take classes from other teachers, they’ll encounter deadlines they’ll need to follow. Effective time management will be essential for them to be able to meet these demands.

One thing you can do now to help your teens is work together to establish a schedule and hold them accountable for keeping it.

Sit down with your older kids and teach them what it means to keep a schedule and how to plan out their lessons. Use whatever works best for their learning style, maybe an online planner, paper schedule, or whiteboard. My daughter loves this Ultimate Daily Planner for Students to keep herself organized.

Once you choose something, teach them how to use it and work alongside them each week until you both feel confident in their ability to plan and keep their own school schedule, gradually turning the responsibility over to them.

Encourage Interests

By the middle school years, most kids have different things that they love to do or activities they enjoy participating in. Encourage these passions! The interests they have outside of their regular schoolwork not only rounds them out as students and human beings, but will help when it’s time to select electives.

Seek out what your child consistently enjoys and has a level of competency in and start thinking about whether it could be turned into a high school elective.

There will come a time soon that they’ll need to narrow down their interests, but middle school is a great time for them to explore all kinds of new things.

Helping Students Become Independent Learners

As kids move through high school, they need to be comfortable with independent learning and you need to transition into more of a coach for them.

But remember that independence doesn’t happen overnight. That’s why it’s important to guide them toward autonomy now.

When they learn on their own, teens are taking responsibility for their education. Plus, it helps them become self-motivated and organized, while building critical thinking skills.

A great place to begin is by giving them more control over their schoolwork. Let them help choose the curriculum.

Set deadlines, but give them the space to figure out how the work will get completed. With my girls, I helped them plan what had to be done each week, but it was up to them to figure out how to make it happen.

Teens must do their own work without constantly relying on you for instructions.

And here’s a bonus thing to work on with your teens.

Teaching Teens Life Skills

Now is the time to focus some of your time on teaching life skills to teens. Things they’ll need to know to be successful adults.

Life skills for teens like:

  • cooking
  • cleaning
  • how to do their laundry
  • money management
  • communication

Once high school starts, time gets filled quickly with increased school demands, jobs, friends, and extra-curricular activities. I’m not saying that there won’t be time to teach these important things, but the hours are limited.

So it makes sense to work on the skills your child will need to be independent now.

Three diverse tweens, two boys and one girl, standing in a line, ready for school.

Sure, it will require some changes to your homeschool, but getting your teen ready to move past 8th grade doesn’t have to be overwhelming.

It just takes some planning. With the right preparation, middle schoolers can transition into high school seamlessly and be ready to take on whatever comes their way.

Homeschooling Middle School

Here are some additional tools to help you homeschool tweens and teens. Some of them are affiliate links.

What do you think teens need to do before they start 9th grade?

Megan Zechman
I love homeschooling! Learning is a way of life for our family. Most days you will find us exploring our Central Florida community, having fun while learning. I am constantly looking for new and interactive ways to engage my older children.
Megan Zechman
Megan Zechman
Megan Zechman

Latest posts by Megan Zechman (see all)


  1. We definitely need to work on writing more! I had not thought of on-line classes though. Any suggestions as to where to start looking for some??

    1. Joanne,

      We’ve done some through our state’s online school classes – Florida Virtual School. She really loved the photography class she took. Fortuigence has writing courses. Currclick has online courses. SKrafty has Minecraft classes that my kids have taken. Uzinggo has math and science lessons.

      There’s also things like Khan Academy that are useful.

      Hopefully these give you some ideas of where to start!

  2. Pingback: Finishing Strong #82 - Eva Varga
  3. Excellent suggestions! I have one more, if you have a child that has no set interests point them somewhere and make them stick with it for awhile. While most kids will come up with some interest on their own not everyone does.

    I know a man who was introverted and never got involved in anything as a kid and still to this day feels that he would have appreciated if his parents had gotten him involved in something when he didn’t take the initiative on his own.

Comments are closed.