As students begin their middle school years, transitioning into their rigorous course loads and more classes on their schedules can be overwhelming. Parental support and guidance can make a huge difference during this difficult change in pace. Parents can help ease their student’s stresses and concerns in their new schooling structure by offering organizational tools and study tools to stay motivated and on track for successful high school and college careers.
Going from elementary school to middle school will include many changes, but one large transition parents can expect to support their students through is an increase in their amount of homework.
Parents should expect their children to spend more time studying and working on homework. Starting middle school means students have several teachers, several classes, and several sets of expectations to keep track of day after day. Students will have to work hard to build their study habits, develop longer attention spans, and set goals for the future throughout their middle school years.
Here are some ideas for parents to help their middle school kids effectively manage their homework.
- Get Them An Agenda To Plan Their Time Wisely
Once they start middle school, students are inundated with more responsibilities and deadlines than they have ever experienced. It is crucial that your student stays organized and knows exactly what is expected of them throughout the school year. Parents can help their students know when each assignment is due by supplying them with an agenda to write down everything that they need to do. It is easier to keep track of deadlines and assignments when they are all stored in one place, and relying on memory often fails.
In some cases, the school will supply your student with an agenda book. Encourage your middle schooler to fill in important dates, project due dates, meetings, and homework assignments as soon as they receive them from their teachers. Using an agenda planner helps students avoid missed assignments and organize their work load, so they know what they need to prepare for, work on, finish, and turn in.
Developing these organizational skills in middle school is crucial, as schedules and responsibilities will increase in high school and college. To prepare your student for a successful academic career, ensure they have an agenda book to write down everything they need to do.
Keeping a timeline of what needs to happen and when will help middle school students manage their time and avoid procrastination. Encourage your middle school student to stay on track with their homework; getting behind is never a good idea. Without proper organization, grades will suffer. As your middle school student begins to discover their full academic potential, explain to them how staying organized should be a priority. Writing down every assignment they receive is a good way to minimize stress and outline what is expected from them.
- Help Them Set Up A Distraction Free Work Space
Another way to help your student effectively manage their homework is by setting up a space for them to get work done without distractions. Having a calm workspace does not require a lot of work. Talk to your student about what they need: some students work best in silence, and others work best with company or in a group setting. A workspace may be simple, like working in the same spot at the kitchen table every afternoon or a dedicated spot in the house where they can work on their own. It is important to have a consistent place where they know they can get work done.
If you are able to provide a quiet, functional space for your child to work in, an element of stress is minimized. Being able to confidently work without distractions makes a huge difference for many middle school students.
If you want to help your student manage their homework, provide them with tools to be consistent in their work and their focus levels.
- Schedule Breaks
The increase in academic pressure is a lot for students to handle. It can be easy for your student to get caught up in all of the important things they need to do. You can help your student manage their homework by discussing the importance of a balanced schedule that includes dedicated study time and purposeful breaks.
Middle school students are learning how to work efficiently, and an important skill to learn is time management. Learning to avoid wasting time allows room for breaks and rest. Scheduling deliberate moments of relief from a stressful schedule is essential to maintaining motivation through difficult assignments and retaining important information. Talk to your middle school student about the importance of taking breaks. They need to understand that while getting their work done is crucial to their academic success, maintaining their mental wellness throughout their grueling academic career requires time for students to relax and have fun.
You can encourage your middle school student to make deliberate plans for breaks in their schedule. It is well-known that exhaustion inhibits success, and brain function decreases without proper sleep. Working under constant stress without breaks to reset and refresh can negatively impact a student’s time management, interest in academics, and the quality of work they submit. To help your student reach their full academic potential, it is important that you encourage them to take breaks to rest.
- Talk About Their Interests And Foster Excitement About Academic Successes
An important part of managing homework is staying engaged with the subject matter. It is easy to get distracted or bored when working on assignments you are not interested in. Students may struggle to complete assignments for the classes that are less interesting to them. It is a good idea to talk to your student about their academic interests. Engaging in discussions about their favorite classes and acknowledging their successes will help your student manage their homework. Staying motivated throughout the school year will play a large role in the quality of work your student submits.
Talk to your student and learn about the subjects that excite them. You can encourage them to join clubs and study groups to get further involved in the academic subjects that they enjoy learning about and participating in. Middle school is a time when many young students discover their academic strengths and passions. As your child tries new things and develops curiosities, talk to them about what excites them, what confuses them, and what they can do to get involved in a field of study that they love.
You should also acknowledge the important relationships your student builds with their teachers. Successful educators inspire students to want to learn more outside of the classroom. To help your student effectively manage their homework, ask about their favorite teachers and favorite classes. You can learn a lot about your student’s learning style by asking them how they are inspired by those around them.
To effectively balance difficult assignments with exciting ones, take time to foster your student’s excitement. Your child may not love every class they are enrolled in. You can encourage them to focus on their successes in their favorite classes and acknowledge their hard work in the other classes; this practice is a great way to shape a positive mindset around their learning experience.
- Encourage Them Through Tough Assignments
Every middle school student needs support and encouragement, especially through more difficult assignments. Expect to have important conversations with your student when they do not get the grade they expect on an exam or when they struggle to complete a math problem in their homework.
Your support and encouragement can make a huge difference in your student’s confidence and perseverance. Struggling to learn a difficult skill set in their science class or struggling through a difficult essay prompt does not mean that a student is a failure. It is important to assure your student that you support them.
A large part of any student’s academic career is learning how to come back from failures. Managing difficult homework assignments may require heavy encouragement from parents to keep studying, experimenting, brainstorming, and solving until the end goal is met. Remind your student that middle school is an important time to learn from your mistakes. If your student starts getting behind on important assignments, talk to them about better time management and encourage them to avoid procrastination. If your student fails a quiz or exam, encourage them to go over the questions they got wrong to understand where they went wrong. If they cannot raise their grades without help, encourage them to meet with their teachers or work with an after-school tutor to pinpoint what is holding them back from success.
Writing down every due date and assignment, working in a focused and consistent homework space, taking breaks to rest and reset, talking about academic interests, and feeling supported in difficult middle school classes are important parental practices to motivate your student’s success. If you want to help your middle school kid effectively manage their homework, you can start with these ideas. It is a good idea to ask your student how you can support them as they take on new challenges and expectations that more difficult classes and busier schedules demand of them.
Every middle school student is different, and your student’s needs may vary. The level of support needed by a middle school student in their first semester is likely different from the needs of a middle school student completing their last classes before high school. Start having conversations with your student to gain perspective on what kind of support they need from you to succeed. FLEX College Prep’s tutoring services offer personalized help with assignments. Our expert instructors can help your student build up fundamental skills for academic success. To help ease the stress that comes with a heavy course load and new learning experiences, consider how a tutor can help your middle school student enjoy their education and work on improving their weaknesses.
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