In my last posting, I talked about starting early on the road to college planning. I believe that parents of middle-school students should begin planning for their student’s journey to college. It may seem like years away, but those years will pass quickly.
In middle school, students often get their first taste of multiple teachers and changing classes. No longer do they stay with one teacher and one classroom full of students all day; middle-schoolers must begin to learn how to manage the changes and pressures of a schedule, along with all of the other challenges of adolescence.
It is during these three years that middle-schoolers prepare for the transition to high school. They must learn to study effectively, to organize their time, to manage relationships with multiple teachers, and to begin to keep track of due dates for projects, tests, and homework. The degree to which they are prepared during the middle school years most often determines the academic success that they will ultimately enjoy in high school and college.
Parents play a vital role in a student’s transition to high school during these two or three years. The best things that a parent can do are:
Ask your children questions.
Communicate with their teachers.
Help them with their homework – you can’t just tell them it’s important to you, they have to see it as well.
Trust but verify – follow up on what your student tells you.
Get involved in their life – know who their friends are.
Enlist the help of other parents and clergy to help a wayward child.
Talk to them about the importance of discipline and good grades.
Limit their time engaged in social media, video games, and other technologies.
Hold them accountable – don’t make excuses for them or their teachers.
Reward good behaviors and activities.
Treat all or your children as individuals; don’t compare them to one another.
Love them unconditionally.