The move to middle school is a big moment in your child's life. It will impact their social and academic careers for years to come. It is alright for you and your child to view this moves with some trepidation at first, but remember that with a little work you can ease the transition and set the stage to help your child succeed in middle school. The worst thing that you can do at this time in your child's life is to back off.
Many parents who are very involved in their child's academic life during elementary school assume that their child's growing independence is a sign that they do not need to monitor their child's studies so closely. Middle school is a transitional time, however, and if you back off just when your student needs you, then you are sending the wrong message to your child at a delicate point in their development. Helping your child succeed in middle school may mean altering they way you monitor their studies, but it should not mean that you stop altogether.
Studies show that most middle school students face three main issues when it comes to successful schoolwork. These are:
Most schools have strategies in place to address these issues, but it is up to you to enforce these ideas at home. Your child's teachers simply cannot do the work alone, nor should they have to. As your child moves into a school day with multiple classes and teachers, give them the tools to help navigate the situation. Teach your child to employ to do lists, planners, and organizers.
Pick out school supplies designed to help them keep their papers and assignments organized and help them to make sure that nothing gets lost in the shuffle. On task learning and relevance may seem more difficult for you to assist with, but you can still make the effort at home.
This is the most important thing that you can do to ensure your student's success in middle school. You should be involved in all areas of your child's life at this age and not just the academic ones. You need to know what your child is doing and who your child is doing it with at all times in order to keep track of their lives.
Academically speaking, you should make sure that you have met and spoken with your child's teachers, that you are discussing your child's studies with them in depth, and that you know that their assignments are getting done. You should also be displaying pride and interest in your child's extracurricular activities. This is a time for building the relationship with your child even as they become more independent.
Finally, do not hesitate to enforce rules and discipline your child. At this time in their lives, children are testing the boundaries and they need to be reinforced while your child is still listening to you.
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