It is not uncommon for students who earned passing grades in elementary
school to find themselves overwhelmed and over worked in middle school. The
level of academic responsibility increases with each year of schooling, but
the leap from elementary to middle school creates the biggest challenge.
Curriculum becomes more in-depth as the academic pace accelerates. This
combined with newfound social connections leaves many students
struggling and most parents frustrated.
Follow these three simple habits at home to help regain control of the
1.Organization is Key
As simple and unrelated as many people feel this component is, it is
critical to academic success. Beyond the obvious and overstated, have a
specific spot for homework assignments to be completed. The next step to
this process is rarely mentioned; put the homework, books, teacher notes,
notebooks etc, in the book bag at night.
Many students stumble into class each morning half awake only to find the
work they spent time on the night before is still sitting on the dinning
When this happens these assignments are considered missing, incomplete, or
late. All of which put a lower grade in the gradebook. Several days of this
repeated pattern and any GPA would certainly be reduced.
Unlike the elementary years where teachers were available to keep parents
informed of progress, middle school educators teach 100 or more students a
day. The parent to teacher communication now falls mostly on the parent.
Be proactive. Monitor your children’s grades weekly. If you see low grades
or notice that your child struggles with understanding homework assignments,
it is wise to seek intervention immediately. Email the teacher. Ask what
steps he or she recommends to get the tutoring your child needs. Take action
and get help. The work will only get more challenging as
the year progresses.
3.Social Activities and Academic Effort
The adolescent mind is different than that of a child. By now your children
are probably seeking more social outlets, friendships, and activities. While
parents need to encourage children to participate in extracurricular
activities, clear guidelines must be set. These guidelines should include a
base level of academic success. Participation in social events should be
allowed only when the agreed upon base for academic grades are met.
Far too many parents are unaware of the power of tying social events to
academic success. When children know their social outlets are contingent
upon their academic efforts, most are more willing to take responsibility to
earn good grades.
Start and follow through with this practice in middle school, and by their
high school years your children will know academic responsibility is
imperative to their freedoms.