My 6th grader is always complaining about hating schooling. He gets bored so fast. He is a sponge and his abilities are way above average; but it is so frustrating. I dont want to write, I hate math... etc. Though he can do the work. We took him out of school because he wasn't being challenged enough... his science teacher saw the back of his head most of the time. But, ask him what he learned and he could tell you word for word. Now we are homeschooling. I have an opportunity to be flexible but he is still bored.
Sustaining motivation in middle school is tough whether in school or in home school. One common theme on motivating children to learn is to extend areas in which he already has interest. Extending areas is especially doable in Language Arts including extended reading and writing. Get your child to read everything he can for areas of interest and to write about his readings. The web is a wonderful resource for covering other academic areas. My concern is as your child approaches high school he needs to systematically cover/ master a variety of subjects, topics, and academic skills. You should consult with home school organizations who recommend ways to provide the necessary academic offerings that prepare for high school graduation and college. Do not forget to involve your child in extra-curricular offerings such as music, art, sports, etc.
You can always homeschool. Homeschooling allows for children to choose what they want to learn. It may be that he needs to choose his interests. This will combat being bored. For example, my daughter wants to learn about chemistry this year. So, for the first half of the year, this is what we will get in to. Controlling his education will lead you down a path of self discovery and satisfation.
You have a wonderful opportunity here. You're really talking about motivation. Previous answers indicated that in the middle school years it is a challenge. However you can do it. There are a couple of key things to keep in mind.
1. Don't give up, it will be challenging. He will not enjoy everything, just like in the adult world we don't enjoy every part of our occupation. That is a good lesson for him to learn.
2. Let your child have choices in learning whenever possible. (For instance, he could choose to demonstrate he understands the concepts of cell reproduction by making a rap, developing a brochure online, blogging etc . . . of course this depends on your child's unique interests.) You can set the parameters and he makes decisions within them.
3. Challenge him -- get him thinking past the facts. Educators often talk about Bloom's Taxonomy. This describes the types of questions that can be asked, from basic knowledge questions to open ended questions enabling children to create new meanings with the facts they have learned. This may be a challenge at first, but if prodded enough he will be motivated by the challenge. (A simple search for Bloom's Taxonomy will yield a plethora of results.)