Do the words "Disorganized" and "Forgetful" describe your middle grader? If so, you have a pretty typical kid. Unfortunately, even normal traits in middle graders can be a real drag on school achievement. One solution: Help your child get organized! Here are some simple ways to avoid those frantic, last minute scrambles.
Keep the date straight
A class schedule and assignment pad are a great place to start, but what else? Try helping your child use a weekly calander to show where he or she is supposed to be and when. Include after-school events, family activities, chores, homework hours, and just plain fun times for the coming week. Suggest that copies of the calander be put in a notebook, in a locker and on the fridge at home.
Avoid the paper chase
Middle graders often find themselves buried in paper. Since they can't wheel a filing cabinet around school, suggest using separators for each subject. Notebooks with pockets help keep track of loose papers and cut down on clutter. Putting the separators in a 3-ring binder keeps everything in one place.
Get a head start
Help your child get into the habit of sorting through school papers each day. For example, homework gets written on planning sheets. Notices and graded items are given to you. Finally, handouts go into notebooks. This may seem like a hassle at first, but your child will eventually get the hang of it. Just a few minutes each night can make a big difference, because an organized kid is ready for success!
Talking it over
Your middle grader will be more likely to follow routines that he/she helps set. Together, talk about what would work best. Discuss things like bedtime on school nights, when friends can visit, and what time homework will be started. Try to compromise and reach decisions you both can live with.
Learning the "smart" way
Now that your child's in middle school, there are more classes and teachers - which means more homework and tests. It's easy for kids to feel overwhelmed by the responsiblilty. To help your middle grader work smarter, not just harder, share these tips.
A good way for your child to begin homework and study time is to get organized. First, help him/her clear a place to work. Next, recommend that he/she put the needed items (notebooks, texts, and hondouts) into stacks by subject. As he/she moves from one assignement to another, materials can be quickly located.
Suggest that your middle grader start with the hardest assignment first, when his/her energy level is high - and finish with the easiest one. If he/she gets drowsy, suggest a brief break to stand and strech, open a window, or get some exercise.
Once homework is finished, remind your middle grader to review for upcoming tests. Just 15 minutes a day can really pay off. He/she can read over class notes, answer questions at the end of chapters, or do sample problems. Offer to quiz him/her when their done.
Remember flash cards? They're still great for helping your child learn facts, such as vocabulary words and math formulas. Begin by using a few cards (with questions on one side and answers on the other) until he's/she's memorized them. Then, add a few more.