A seventh grade boy has plenty of energy to play video games or basketball, but when it comes time for homework he gets easily distracted and would rather do anything but study. Does this scenario sound familiar?
Middle school can be a tough transition for students and parents alike. Children are expected to take charge of their learning. They must manage homework assignments from several teachers, study for tests, and keep track of projects.
The key to getting your child on the path to academic independence is to figure out what works best for her so she can structure her time to get homework and studying done.
Find the Best Time to Study
You might want your child to do his homework right after school, but he might be exhausted from the structured school day and need time at home to unwind, play outside, or watch videos. He might do better in school and on tests if he’s allowed to do his homework at night.
Unfortunately, middle school students often procrastinate and underestimate how long homework will take. Then they stay up late, rush to finish, and get overwhelmed.
You can help prevent late nights by requiring kids to start homework immediately after dinner.
Have Your Child Take Charge
If you child has a big project coming up, you can help her structure it by breaking it down in a way that seems manageable, and checking to make sure she’s on track.
The goal is to have your child manage the planning herself. It may take time and lots of patience, but try to let your child figure it out on her own.
With some self-examination, middle schoolers can figure out ways to study, tackle long texts, and complete homework on time. You may suggest your child study in blocks, and she can determine how long each block should be. You might also need to help your child get back to studying after a break – just don’t let the break get too long.
Teach Time Management
It’s also a good idea to make sure your child knows how to make a daily to-do list to prioritize tasks and manage time.
Encourage her to estimate how long each assignment will take. She can then plan a realistic schedule, building in study breaks after subjects that are most challenging. Helping your child keep track of time spent studying – rather than staring at a blank page – will help her think about how she’s using her time.
If she’s spending too much time on a subject that might be a signal she needs extra help or tutoring. In addition to mastering a challenging subject, tutoring can help with completing homework as well as organization and study skills.
Take Time to Relax
Parents can also help their middle schoolers think through how much time to spend on activities. It’s important to have some free time. If not, that might be an explanation for why their child doesn’t get her schoolwork done.
Parents can help their kids make tough choices about activities that leave ample time for schoolwork and just chilling.
Middle school can be a big change for students and parents alike. With your guidance and encouragement, your child can learn how to manage time and succeed!