how to create an effective, personalized education for a twelve year old

Structuring a home education for a twelve-year-old? Your twelve-year-old and MY twelve-year-old aren’t the same.

In fact, I’ve had three twelve-year-olds living in the same family and they aren’t the same either. So take my suggestions with a grain of salt, but gather ideas.

You can’t teach the same way to each child. They’re different. Your goal is to tailor an education for each of your kids differently.

This twelve-year-old might have too many extracurricular activities. Presently she’s in the choir, dance, youth group, piano, drama classes x 2. But she has also studied violin, attended soccer camps, joined a baseball team, gymnastics, sailing, and kayaking camps.

And then there’s our family activities: traveling, canoeing, hiking, and cross country skiing.

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Oh, and there’s studies.

Somewhere between mid-September to early May, we do formal studies.

Presently, she’s learning fractions and decimals.

She doesn’t struggle with math, but she doesn’t love it. Though I am available for consultation, she doesn’t need me to read directions and explain most things.

She writes.

She writes a blog about cooking, alongside her other writing activities, some writing prompts that are Pinterest-inspired, some personal letters, and using a program by Jump In (from Apologia Press). Once a week she completes a page of Editor in Chief, a grammar-intensive workbook.

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She journals.

And this mama doesn’t peek. I’m not concerned with grammar and spelling or scanning her thoughts. Rather, my goal is that she comes to understand her own thoughts and her own self.

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She does memory work.

Train that brain, baby. Any passage is useful: Bible verses, poems like Mother Teresa’s Anyway, EE Cummings, Robert Louis Stevenson, or Latin prayers.

She studies second languages.

Or I will be more specific: she’s exposed to languages. How does one learn a language unless they’re required to use it in every day?

We have studied Spanish, are presently using Ecoutez Parlez for French, and Latina Christiana for Latin. We learn English derivatives in Latin which increase English vocabulary and word recognition. On our travels to Kenya, Italy, and Ghana, we spent a month pursuing conversational Swahili, Mampruli, and Italian. This was a more useful building block for true language acquisition than any verb conjugating we could learn at home.

Madelyn spelling

She reads and discusses early American history.

Today we looked at the ratification of the American constitution. Once a week, she writes everything she remembers from her readings in her history notebook.

She studies science.

She started with a physics kit this year and filled in occasional afternoons with Apologia’s Swimming Creatures. The National Geographic chemistry and physics kits I found at a homeschool convention provide lots of exploration too.


In her spare time (and yes, she still has spare time), she plays piano, films her sister’s rainbow loom YouTube channel, creates music videos, writes stories, crafts, cooks, bakes, hangs with the neighbor dogs, and reads (her recent fav I Am Malala).

“Great things are done by a series of small things brought together”

Vincent Van Gogh

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