Middle School Skills: Get Organized

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Is your child struggling with the transition to middle school? You’ll know they are if they seem more withdrawn and anxious, if they keep forgetting things at home or at school, if they forget to study for tests and homework assignments aren’t turned in on time. If you have to nag all afternoon to get homework done and reading a book will only happen in the face of a very tempting bribe, then it may be time to get organized.

The change to middle school is a difficult one for most students as they move from having their schoolwork monitored to being independent learners. Now they get assignments and homework from several teachers and there is little supervision over the tasks they need to perform. For most kids, this transition is a bumpy one and if they are starting to see their grades slip, you may need to intervene before their confidence is affected.

Teaching Executive Skills

Large classrooms mean that while teachers can impart knowledge, they just don’t have the time to teach students the executive skills they need to become disciplined learners for life. Skills like focus, task initiation, time management and organization aren’t innate, they are learned and it falls to tutors and parents to help students to acquire the skills they need to succeed.

So how do we teach executive skills? Start by understanding your child’s learning style. Ask teachers or tutors to help you with this or take an online quiz to see where your child’s learning preferences lie. If your child is a visual learner, asking her to do her homework is probably not effective. Instead, you will need to create a diary where she can mark upcoming events, list assignments and write down her homework.

Visual learners like colors and pictures, so use symbols and colored tabs to show what’s ahead in the schedule. Help her to complete her diary every day until it becomes a habit that she doesn’t need assistance with.

Time management can also be dealt with through a diary. Students will time how long it takes them to do their homework or to study a page so that they leave enough time for essential tasks. You can also show them how to plan their essential tasks first and then add time for hobbies, friends, family etc.

X-Skills Program

The Tutor Doctor X-Skills program is part of every tutoring session. Here tutors work with students to plan their school week ahead so they don’t miss out on assignments and tests. Task initiation and focus are also part of the X-Skills curriculum so your child learns to do their homework without the nagging!

Learning executive skills will be an incredible asset for your child as it sets them up for success. Having independent, disciplined, organized students in your home will reduce the homework hassles and tension in the home and will bolster your child’s confidence and enthusiasm for school.

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