As your child leaves elementary school, it’s important to recognize the change in how learning takes place in higher grades. This will mean you are able to support your child in becoming a successful independent learner. Allowing your child to take more responsibility and equipping them with the academic and social skills they need will ensure their success in learning and in life.
The most valuable arrow in your child’s academic quiver is a cohesive set of executive skills. These are skills that move beyond the scope of academics, but are essential for your child to cope with learning and social challenges.
Executive skills include the ability to organize their schedules so that they have a good work/life balance while leaving sufficient time to do all their work and learn for exams. It encompasses task initiation which allows them to start homework, assignments and studying in a timely fashion so that they are not staying up all night to finish assignments or cram for exams at the last minute.
The ability to focus on the task at hand as well as good memory skills are essential skills for effective students. These are learned abilities and can really help a student to get through the increased workload that they can expect in middle school.
Study skills aren’t something that most teachers have time to impart and you can help your child by selecting an in-home tutor who teaches executive skills and goal setting.
Going to a new school is less intimidating if your child is familiar with their new surroundings. Attend orientation and go back to the school as many times as they need to familiarize themselves with the layout and where their classes are. Knowing where they are going is a great way to instill confidence.
Go over the route they will follow to get to school if they are walking or biking and get them to ride the bus or train route if that is their preferred mode of transport.
Help them to make new friends by encouraging them to sign up for sports or other extra mural activities.
Help them to gain a higher degree of independence by giving them more freedom and responsibility over the holidays. This not only shows that you have confidence in them, but also helps them to get accustomed to the idea of taking responsibility for their future.
Be sure to encourage them to consider the consequences of their actions. Discuss safety issues, bullying and online security so that they understand the possible pitfalls and what to do should they find themselves in a dangerous situation. Discuss the new social situations they are likely to find themselves in and how to deal with these situation and with peer pressure.