This sponsored post is written in partnership with Workman Publishing
Middle school. It’s a completely different ball game from elementary school. A new school where multiple elementary schools converge on a larger campus with more students, having lockers for the first time, figuring out bell times and how to get from one place to the next without being tardy, and managing assignments for multiple classes can be a huge adjustment along with the internal rise of tween hormones that dictate moods.
As a mom of a middle schooler, people often ask me how school is going for Emily. As a seasoned middle schooler, she’s doing well in 7th grade but I do admit there was a bit of middle school anxiety for all of us as her 6th grade year approached.
The transition from elementary to middle school can be a tricky adjustment period but parents can help ease school related anxiety by ensuring that your home provides a sense of consistency and calm in their hectic lives. The comfort of knowing what’s next provides structure that your home run a bit more smoothly even on the most hectic days. Systems put in place can encourage tweens to develop good study habits and time management skills that become increasingly important as they get older.
Start by taking a look at your day to develop effective routines that work with your schedule because believe it or not, there are routines already in place in your home even if you don’t consciously think about them every day.
Mornings in our house are always the same. In between waking up and the time the kids leave for school, we always get dressed, have breakfast, and pack lunches before heading out the door. Evenings are a bit different depending on the day’s after school activities but there is one constant- homework is done immediately upon coming home and often done at the kitchen table while eating a snack.
5 Ways to Foster Good Middle School Study Habits at Home
Even though we’ve relied on routines since our kids were little, they’ve evolved as our kids have grown up. Routines that led to afternoon naps have been replaced by afternoons of extracurricular activities and homework.
Make Homework a Priority
Since one of the hardest things for new middle schoolers to manage is homework, make it a priority in your house by having your child sit down to do it when they first get home from school or their activities. One way I get my kids to sit down is to offer them a snack.
They’re always starving when they first get home from school and providing a snack right away helps refuel their brain while curbing pre-dinner starvation.
Take Advantage of Little Moments
On afternoons that we go straight from school to guitar lessons, we find little moments to start homework even when we’re not at home. Since it’s not worth the time to stop at home, we’re always 10-15 minutes early for guitar when we head straight to lessons from school.
Thomas knows that those minutes are precious and a good time for him to start on his homework for the night. Depending on the day, he may be able to finish his assignment in that timeframe or sometimes we’ll have to complete it when we get home. Using these small amounts of time to start homework provides a great lesson in the importance of time management.
Always Have Homework Supplies Available
How many times have your kids told you they can’t find pencils, erasers, graph paper, binder paper, or other supplies they need to complete their homework? Designate one place in your home to be the place where your kids do their homework and make sure it’s well outfitted with the supplies they need to be successful. If kids know where to go get the supplies they need, they can complete their homework faster.
Here’s a list of the school supplies you should have in your child’s room or in a central area of your home:
- Sharp pencils
- Extra eraser
- Binder paper
- Ball point pens (red, blue and black)
- Hole punch
Writing implements and art supplies are kept in a tote that the kids can carry to the table while the other supplies live in a cabinet that’s built in to our kitchen island. If you don’t have a cabinet or shelf to use, create a homework cart and stash it and the supplies in the corner.
Create Your Own At-Home Reference Library
In addition to keeping your homework supplies well stocked, it’s also important to create a place to house an at-home reference library. Even though I am tech savvy and we do look things up online, I do prefer for us to have reference books in our home library.
Since the kids tend to do their homework at the kitchen table, we cleared bookshelves in our adjoining family room to house reference books that our kids might need. Here’s a list of books to have in your at-home reference library:
- Foreign language dictionary
- Big Fat Notebooks: Math, English/Language Arts, American History, Science, and World History
Big Fat Notebooks provide essential homework help for middle schoolers through a colorful comprehensive study guide that makes learning fun. This collection of five books includes everything you need for middle school Math, Science, American History, English/Language Arts, and World History. I love the visual format of the books that features bright colors, sketches, various fonts, and doodle to make learning fun and helps appeal to different learning styles.
Encourage Your Middle Schoolers to Take Notes at Home Too
Note taking isn’t something you just do at school but it is a skill. With the more practice kids get in note taking, the better they become. Chance are they might be inspired by the style of Big Fat Notebooks whose pages are filled with colors, doodles, and fonts that make certain topics and words stand out. Here is a free download from Big Fat Notebooks featuring 5 tips on How to Take Great Notes that is a handy guide for your middle schooler.
This is post is part of a compensated series written in partnership with Workman Publishing. All opinions are my own. Amazon affiliate links included in this post.