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Academic Development

Middle School

Managing your time is an important element to be a successful middle school student. A well balanced approach to school, friends, and family is a key element. Below are a few suggestions to assist with organization & time management.

Show your child how to use time more wisely

You have experienced a semester of the many demands of middle school. The second semester can be even busier than the first. Using time wisely is essential. Your child should resolve to do so and you can help. Encourage your child to:

  • Expand use of planners. Your child should already be writing down all her assignments, upcoming tests and due dates. Have her consider adding study schedules in her planner.
  • Practice saying no. Your child can't accept every invitation or volunteer for every event and stay on top of her schoolwork. Using time wisely means sometimes responding with, "Thanks for thinking of me, but I have too much on my plate right now.
  • Take a different approach for tests. Just one time, have your child agree to study 20 minutes a night for one week, instead of waiting until the night before the test. Discuss the difference in how she used her time, and what the result was.

Reprinted with permission from the January 2010 issue of Parents Still Make the Difference!® (Middle School Edition) newsletter. Copyright © 2010 The Parent Institute®, a division of NIS, Inc. Source: Sean Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens, ISBN: 0-684-85609-3 (Fireside Books, a division of Simon & Schuster,

Set your child up for success with a homework routine that works

Homework in middle school as opposed to elementary school can usually be summed up with the word more. There is more of it, it is given more frequently and it is more complex.
You can help your child make a successful transition if you:
  • Know what your child is doing after school. If you are not at home, have a system through which he checks in frequently.
  • Make sure your child has a place that suits him for doing homework. His nook should be comfortable and well lit.
  • Tell your child that his schoolwork is important to you because your family values education.
  • Set up a schedule. Some children don't need this, but many do. Homework is more likely to get done if the words: "Do homework from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m." are written down in a prominent place in your home.
  • Encourage your child to set goals. Example: Do five math problems daily for weekly assignment. If I complete this goal, I will be done with math by Friday and have my weekend free.
  • Teach your child to plan ahead for large assignments. Have a calendar for writing down due dates. Break up the assignment into chunks and have a due date for each chunk. That way your child will not be doing everything the night before the project is due.
Reprinted with permission from the September 2010 issue of Parents Still Make the Difference!® (Middle School Edition) newsletter. Copyright © 2010 The Parent Institute®, a division of NIS, Inc. Source: Sydney S. Zentall and Sam Goldstein,
Seven Steps to Homework Success, ISBN: 1-886941-22-X, Specialty Press, Inc.

Help your middle schooler prepare for standardized tests

Spring is often also standardized-test time. If your preteen has such an exam on the horizon, start helping her prepare.
To help your preteen do her best on standardized tests:
  • Do your homework. Find out as much as you can about the test ahead of time. What subjects will it cover? Will it take place in one day or span an entire week? What will the results mean for your preteen?
  • Gather practice materials. Have your preteen ask her teacher if there is a sample test she can take at home. Books offering general tips on test-taking success can help, too. The best ones will include sample exercises that mimic the upcoming test.
  • Ask about modifications. Does your preteen have a learning disability? Find out if it entitles her to any special testing accommodations. Taking the test in a quiet room or being given an un-timed exam may be the key to her test success.
  • Practice test-taking strategies with homework. Get your preteen in "test mode" by having her practice the skills she'll need. For instance, students are often told to skip questions they don't know and come back to them later. Have her do the same thing with her daily assignments.
Reprinted with permission from the February 2010 issue of Parents Still make the difference!® (Middle School Edition) newsletter. Copyright © 2010 The Parent Institute®, a division of NIS,Inc. Source: "Succeeding at Standardized Tests,",