By Ellen Weismer
Many people view middle school as that in-between time that doesn’t really count but those 3 years can be useful in preparing students for high school and beyond! Here are some ideas for how you can make the most of the middle school years and questions to ask your kids so you can get more information without having to nag!
Electives: Middle School is a great time to help your child figure out what they like and don’t like when it comes to electives. In most middle schools, sixth graders will get to try each of the main electives for one quarter. If they love Art but found more joy in their Computers elective, they should keep this in mind for when they select their electives for seventh and eighth grade. In high school, knowing what electives they like will also help them as they explore extracurriculars and clubs they want to get involved in!
Study Skills: It probably sounds strange, but kids don’t inherently know how to learn and as the content they are learning becomes more sophisticated, so does learning how to learn! Using the middle school years to help students hone their skills and discover the strategies that work best for them will set them up for better success in high school. Taking 5 minutes to talk with your child about what they are learning, asking them to teach you something they learned in a class or looking over their notebooks can give you some insight into what skills your child needs to hone in on and what strategies work best for them.
Get Organized: Middle school means no more colorful folders supplied by the teachers. It means assignment notebooks, time management and independently completing work without reminders. Now is the time to start good habits that will make the transition to high school more manageable. Virtual learning has made it easy for kids to roll out of bed and go to class. Students have been without homework for months. Finding ways for students to practice being organized will serve them well!
Talk about the Future: It’s not too early to start thinking about college. Ask your child if they have thought about where they want to go to college or what they want to major in. This doesn’t have to be a stressful conversation, in fact, talking about it now will make it less stressful in the long run. If your child is interested in selective colleges, take a look at what they require for admissions. Taking upper level classes early will put students on track for Advanced Placement classes junior and senior year.
Middle school doesn’t have to be a waste of time! Having meaningful conversations with your child about their academic goals will help them feel supported during their tween and teen years. And, if you do see that your child is struggling with any of the above you may find our Executive Functioning and Academic Coaching services useful!