Monday, September 16, 2013

Help You Child Get Organized for Middle School Success

The school year is under way and you may notice your middle schooler needs some help getting and staying organized. They probably have more teachers, more homework, projects and crazy schedules than they did in elementary school. 

Kids entering middle school can easily become overwhelmed with all the changes. They went from one main teacher to 6+ teachers.  Kids being the oldest in the school back to being the youngest and sometimes smallest.  Plus

Here are a few ways to help you middle school child get organized.

Use a Planner
Many schools require the students to use a planner but if yours does not than find a calendar that your child likes to use. In the planner, make sure they write down their homework every day for each class along with any projects and their due dates.

Many times kids think they can remember whether or not they have homework. Kids may be good at remembering the fact that they do have homework - they just can't remember whether it was numbers 1-21 or 1-31, only odd or even problems, or even when it's due. It's the important details that slip their memory most of the time.

Homework Time
Preferably have them do homework as soon as they get home while all the info is still somewhat fresh in their mind.  Have a small snack while working if they are hungry, but get it done right after school. This helps them avoid being up late into the night working on a project that is due the next day.

Homework Space
Create a space for your child to do their homework and have all the supplies they need. A kitchen table, a desk in their room, etc.  Almost any place will work as long as it's fairly quiet, has room for them to write, and allows them to concentrate.

Another suggestion is to have a box filled with pencils, a calculator, hole punch, dictionary, eraser and anything else they use to do their homework. This box should be close by so the kids aren't getting up constantly to go find the stuff they need.

Also consider having a space for important papers, library books, and class folders.

Many middle schools have ABC days or alternating days. Meaning they offer different classes on different days. You child may have Gym on A days, Music on B days and a World Language on C days. Help you child remember which day it is by placing a calendar up where they can see it. Also have them put all the folders and stuff they need for the next day in their back pack the night before. 

I have two kids in middle school and so I write down on the school's ABC calendar my kid's name and which class they have on each day. It's easier than trying to remember A day is gym for my son and chorus for my daughter.

Avoid Over Scheduling
One last thing, as parents you want your kids to be well rounded, but school work should always come first. If they are excelling at school then add one or two extra curricular activities per season. Many kids nowadays rush home from school, head to practice a couple nights a week, squeezing in dinner on the road and then have to stay up late doing homework only to repeat it all the next day.

Face it most adults don't like having to work all day, come home to rush around, eat on the run and than do it all the next day. You get burned out, need some time to relax and so do the kids. Scale back the after school activities.

Having a planner to write their homework in, a set time and place to do homework and a calendar to prepare for the day will help your child be organized for their day at school.

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