Tips for Helping Your Child Succeed in Middle School
From our counselors...
Middle School is a time of growth and transition, a time when students move from childhood to adolescence and toward a greater level of independence and self-reliance. They want their parent’s help, support, and approval, but may not want to be seen in public with them. They want to be different from their parents, but not too different from their friends. In this time of life that often seems like controlled chaos, there are many things you can do to assist your child with his or her success in school.
- Make sure they attend regularly and arrive on time. Dealing with make-up work is stressful, and they will miss valuable instruction.
- Have all the basic supplies ready for school and home the day school starts. You don't want your child scrambling when the first assignment is given.
- Check your student’s agenda every day at the beginning of the year. Once they have proven that they are using it responsibly, you can use your best judgment about spot-checking. However, the agenda may well be the best tool you have for monitoring your child’s understanding of his or her class work and homework.
- Encourage your child to get phone numbers of friends in their classes. Having someone to check with when confused, or to use as a study buddy is a good thing.
- Register for iParent if you have not already done so. Check it frequently, but remember that teachers do not post grades daily. Some assignments take a great deal of time to grade and to assess thoughtfully.
- Use the Mabry website, teacher blogs, homework hotline and agenda planners to keep up with the expectations for your child. If you have concerns or questions, contact your child’s teacher.
- Have a regular place and time for your child to do homework. Often the kitchen is a good place since it allows for easy supervision of the other distractions (phones, TVs, iPods, instant messaging, etc). Leaving a child alone in a bedroom with a computer does not always lead to productive use of time. If you hear “but I don’t have any homework”, then require at least 30 minutes of reading. Good readers also make better writers. (Math homework is is almost always given; ask to see it.)
- Allow your child to struggle occasionally and to face logical consequences. They are learning to accept responsibility for their own work and actions--not an easy process. The sense of pride that comes with a job well done is often greatest when the success is hard-earned. Failure is not a bad thing, either, if it provides a lesson learned and helps your child avoid a repeated mistake.
- Adolescence is the time for students to take more responsibility, which is a gradual learning process through middle school, but they should check on missed assignments, keep a calendar of test and quiz dates, plan ahead for projects, keep track of homework deadlines, and ask teachers for help and guidance when necessary. You are their backup, but make them the front line. This is easier for some students than others as we all know, but it is not an unreasonable expectation.
- Listen to your children. Laugh with them. Know their friends. Know their friends’ parents. Know what music they listen to and what TV shows they watch. Know what they are doing on the computer.
- They are still listening to you, even though they will go out of their way to tell you otherwise. You are their most available role model, so use that power in the best way you know how.
Posted by Dr. Tyson