Middle School Writing - A Teen-Led Approach

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At BJ's Homeschool, we kept our interest based focus during the middle school years, too.  This was especially true in our approach to writing.  Encouraging written expression is so important, and finding ways that are child or teen-led can make all the difference! 

So we followed my daughter's interests, and that led to develop her middle school writing skills, three ways: through story writing, nonfiction writing, and then research report writing in her areas of interest.  

And these three approaches may help your middle schooler, too.

1.  Story Writing   

photo credit -  NNWM

When my daughter was a 7th grader, she was all about story writing.  She loved to read and try her hand at mysteries and other stories.  Then she began working on a science fiction story at co-op.  It was something that she wanted to continue, even after the class ended. 

So in 7th grade, I introduced her to the National Novel Writing Month.(NaNoWriMo)  And we got their great writing book,  No Plot? No Problem.  This served as a helpful guide to my daughter, as she worked on story writing.  We also connected with their facebook community page, so that my teen could connect with other middle and high school writers.

NaNovWriMo encourages kids and teens to write something every day, and work on a long short story or even a novel.  But it doesn't have to be that complicated.  Just working on writing every day is a great goal.  

My daughter wanted to work on a short story, so we dropped our other homeschool courses and just focused on writing in November.  We would just gather up all of our favorite blankets, and write on the couch.  

My middle schooler, and her corn garden

National Novel Writing Month. helped her to track her progress, giving her pep talks and support, and also connected her to others online.  They now have some helpful workbooks for middle schoolers.

Then, later on, my daughter wanted to write about her field trips with our co-op.  For that, she needed to learn more about nonfiction writing. 
2. A Nonfiction Focus

To learn how to write field trip stories and more, we turned to Spectrum Writing 8 as a guide.  This book was full of helpful writing tips and practice for learning the process of writing - from brainstorming to draft, revision, editing, and publishing.

SPECTRUM WRITING- grade 8 -includes writing activities which cover all of these writing skills:
  1. Writing Basics
  2. Expressive Writing  (includes personal narrative)
  3. Descriptive Writing (includes sensory)
  4. To entertain (story writing)
  5. Persuasive Writing  (debate kids would love this chapter)
  6. Explanatory Writing (such as science experiment write-ups)
  7. Informational  (includes recipes, how to’s)

This workbook included many clearly written forms which help my teen to put her thoughts down on paper, and guide her through the steps of writing...

"We loved the writing exercises in Spectrum Writing, and how well they describe the steps of the Writing Process, in clear, simple language."   ......Click here for the rest of my review....."

My daughter wrote about her favorite field trips, and got one article published in a magazine for kids and teens.  It is not that hard to do. Here is the link to Creative Kids, the magazine that accepted her story.

Then, later, we took on another aspect of nonfiction, that of writing research reports.

3.   Research Report Writing

How to Write a Research Report

One day, while we were studying science together, we saw that her curriculum called for a research report.  My young teen wanted to write about penguins, but she was not confident in her research writing skills. So we searched the shelves of our local bookstore, the Children’s Bookshop (www.childrens-bookshop.com), and found the book How to Write a Research Report. 

This book turned the process of report writing into a series of easy steps! 

"Sometimes the hardest part of report writing is just getting started. The worksheets in How to Write a Research Report could be much less daunting than staring at a blank page! When my daughter finished working through this book, she had written her first middle school research report on her favorite topic."  Click here to read the rest of my review, if you like.

So that's the three ways we did writing during the middle school years.   What are your favorite resources for middle school writing? Whatever way your teen wants to write...The important thing is that they are expressing themselves in written language....If you have a little time for a comment, I would love hearing from you!

Have you seen my book around the net yet?

Kindle or paperback on Amazon.   

More high school posts are on Pinterest here: Homeschooling High School Pinterest Board

Thanks for stopping by BJ's Homeschool,


Betsy is mom to her now college junior, whom she homeschooled from day one.  She blogs at BJ's Homeschool, about the early yearshigh school & college and wrote the book - Homeschooling High School with College in Mind.   She offers free homeschool help through messages at BJ's Consulting

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All Rights Reserved

Note - This post may included affiliate links to products that we love and have used or would use in our  own homeschool. Please see my disclosure policy.


  1. I love how you show the progression in this! How exciting to see her bloom and take off in her writing!

    1. Thank you, Jennifer Dodrill! I hope this was an encouragement to you and your middle schooler,


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