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Middle School Parents
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Time management is a critical skill for your child

  • Middle school children are faced with many competing demands.
  • Their homework takes up more time than in years past, and they're involved in many activities.
  • Children are creatures of habit. Learning to adjust their behavior to accommodate more demands can be tough. In fact, nearly all children find this challenging, but for some, it can be completely overwhelming.
  • Overwhelmed children have never learned to manage their time, and they are soon buckling under the weight of everything they have to do.
Help your child avoid this. Teach him how to manage his time with these four steps:

1.- Set Goals.

  • Goals and time management are directly related. Example: Your child has been a C student in English, but wants a B this quarter. He'll have to commit a certain amount of time to meet that goal.

2.- Put priorities in order.

  • Even well-managed time has limits. The "must-do's" (like homework!) have to come first. Encourage your child to list everything he has to do under one of three headings.
  1. "Must Do"
  2. "Would Be nice to Do" and
  3. "Can Skip This One."

3.- Make a schedule.
  • After your child set his priorities, he needs to figure out when he can actually do those "must-do's." That's where a schedule comes in. Some children can draw up a chedule for the whole week and stick to it. Others need to make a schedule every day to keep them on track.

4.- Stick to a schedule.
  • This may be the hardest step of all. Few children want to spend a sunny day doing reseach for an upcoming paper when five of their friends are planning to ride bikes to a nearby restaurant. Encourage and praise your child for staying on track. And don't forget to leave some time in the schedule for fun!

Source: lawrence J. Green, The Resistant Learner: Helping Your Child Knok Down the Barriers to School Success, ISBN: 0-312-31919-3 (St. Martin's Press, 1-800-221-7945,

Teach your child how to maximize study smarts

You can't do your preteen's homework for her, but you can help her as she buckles down.
Here is How:

  • Teach organization.
If your preteen can't find her homework, she can't complete it. Give her folders to keep her subjects separate, and a notebook or pocket calendar where she can write down assignmenets.

  • Refresh her on the basics.
It may be the internet age, but your child still needs to know how to use reference books. Help her brush up on the "How-to's" of dictionaries, atlases, encyclopedias and other references. If you're not so sure about these things yourself, ask a librarian for a refresher course.

  • Use a checklist.
Each afternoon, run through a homework checklist with your preteen. Ask: What are today's assignments?
Do you understand what you're supposed to do?
Do you have a study plan?

  • Turn off the TV.
Don't buy your child's argument that TV is "just background noise." Research says that too much time spent in fron of the television affects school performance. So keep homework time distraction-free.

Source: Anthony W. Jackson and P. Gayle Andrew, Making the Most of Middle School: A Fild Guide for Parents and Others, ISBN: 0-8077-4476-X (Teachers College Press, 212/678-3929,


1.       Research shows that one of the most important factors that affects a child's performance in school is parental involvement.

2.       All too often, parents assume that just sending their children to school and looking at their report cards is enough.   Not true!

3.       If you want to be involved, if you want to actively participate in the relationship between your child and the school, there are some things you can do to make this relationship positive and productive.

Read on.

Be sure to check out Web Sites for Parents and Kids.

Methods for Parents to Get to Know Their Child's School Better

1.       First of all, don't just show up at the school; make an appointment to visit.

2.       After you've made an appointment, go to the school; look around, talk to people. 

3.       As appropriate, call or write to your child's teachers. 

4.       Talk to other parents about their experiences.

5.       Be sure to read the minutes of the school board, which are usually printed in the local newspaper.

6.       Take time to read the school newsletter.

7.      It may not always be convenient, but try to attend school functions such as open houses and PTA meetings. 

How Parents can Help with their Children's Homework

1.      There are things you can do that will help your child do assigned homework and that result in learning, which, after all, is the reason for being in school.

2.       Communicate with your child about school. This includes talking to him about his friends, activities, teachers, and assignments.

3.       Show enthusiasm about school and homework.

4.       Set realistic goals for your child, and then focus on one at a time.

5.       Help your child get organized. Break down assignments into smaller, more manageable parts. Set out needed items (clothes, homework, permission slips, etc.) the night before to avoid last-minute rushing around in the morning.

6.       Provide a quiet study corner in your home complete with paper, markers, a ruler, pencils and a dictionary.

7.       Never do your child's homework!

8.       Check with your child's teacher about correcting homework.

9.       Expect, and praise genuine progress and effort.


1.       An opinion: don't praise or otherwise reward your child for doing what you and he know is expected.

2.       This practice leads you down a slippery slope, often with really bad consequences for you and your child.

3.       Be specific when you do praise something.

4.       Focus on your child's strengths in school.

5.       Build associations between what is taught and what your child already knows and understands.

6.       Incorporate concrete materials and examples whenever possible, especially with younger children.


1.       Try to help your child learn about the subject in more than one way, using as many senses as possible.

2.       Separate your child's school weaknesses from your child.

3.       If your child fails a test, that is all the child fails. He or she is not a failure.

4.      One more thing: Never do your child's homework! (deliberately repeated)

Questions to Ask at a School Conference

1.      Is my child performing at grade level in basic skills? Above/Below? Math/Reading?

2.      What are the objectives my child is supposed to attain?

3.    How do these objectives lead to the overall goal for the course/grade?

4.      What achievement, intelligence, or vocational aptitude tests have been given to my child in the past year?

5.    What do the scores mean? (Be very specific and be sure you understand completely what the reported scores mean).

6.      What are my child's strengths and weaknesses in major subject areas?

7.      What subjects do my child enjoy most?

8.      Can we together go over some examples of my child's class work?

9.      Does my child need special help in any academic subject?

10.    Who are my child's friends and how does he or she interact with other children?

11.  Has my child regularly completed assigned homework?

12.  Has my child attended class regularly?

13.  Have you observed any changes in learning progress during the year?

14. Has learning improved or declined during the year?


Ever feel yourself buckling under the strain of a million questions from your child? Like:

“What makes the light come on when you press the switch?”

“Why doesn’t the moon get rusty when it rains?”

“Why are there rainbows in the washing up bubbles?

“Are all cats girls?”

And possibly at the end of a long day…

“Why do you keep saying ‘Mummy’s very tired’ when I ask you all these interesting questions?”

Is that your life?

Well, relax: coming up is a guide to help you encourage the science-kid in your life … and even have some fun yourself. 


For a young person, the world is a fascinating place.  

Plants, pets, stones, clingfilm, mirrors, eggs, water, ice, and fridge magnets may be ‘everyday’ objects to an adult, but to a child, they’re all sources of extreme wow-factor intrigue. They look interesting, and hey look at that, they do weird things when you bash them together! 

And then there’s all the really exotic stuff: dinosaurs, invisible ink, lightning storms and hologram wrapping paper… Wow x 1,000,000,000!! No wonder kids get overexcited at times.


In a world where everything is weird and wonderful, there’s a lot to try to understand. By energetically exploring and asking questions, your child is trying to make sense of it all and figure out how things fit together. That’s a big job. But luckily, they have you to help them out, and you know everything. 

That’s right, as a parent: YOU KNOW EVERYTHING. Well, that’s what your child thinks anyway. So no pressure there then.


There’s a lot of good news.

  1. Science is great for kids. It helps them learn about the world, and it helps them develop self-confidence. Their interest should be supported and encouraged.
  2. Science is about creativity, not just learning facts and doing sums.
  3. Investigating the world, scientist-style, can be loads of fun – as good as party games, magic tricks or successful cooking.

    …. But the best thing is:


Why should you? Not even the greatest scientists in the world know everything, and they’re proud of that fact!

At home and further afield

Trying things out and thinking for yourself

There’s a whole lot of science out there…

Big, small, neat, messy – there’s huge range to choose from.

What to do if you really are stuck for an answer


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