Want your child to learn how to get better grades? You can help them to help themselves. Helping your child to plan, prioritize, and create strong study skills when they’re young will help them succeed throughout their education. When your child strives toward good grades, they’re not just getting the end result of those better grades, they’re learning more through the process about hard work, perseverance, and living up to their potential. Here are five tips for helping your child learn how to get good grades in middle school.
Getting Good Grades In Middle School
These tips will help you help your child learn how to get better grades at almost any age but I am focusing on the middle school years because they are a really important transitional period for students. Many children haven’t had to study very much before middle school. Many children may not have had to switch classes and keep track of their own homework for each class. There are a lot of new challenges that come with middle school both from increased educational demands and new social pressures. Supporting your child in this transition while helping them learn to take responsibility for themselves is exactly what they need.
1. Get Involved So You Can Make Sure Your Child Is Involved
Go to your child’s back-to-school night, attend teacher conferences, and talk to your child’s teacher about their expectations. The more involved you are in your child’s academic life, the easier it will be for you to catch any problems early. Many teachers now post assignments and grades online. They also share information about upcoming tests, class events, and parent resources. Going online to look at this information regularly will help you stay in-the-know about what your child has coming up so that you can help them prepare.
The point here, is not to do your child’s work for them. In fact, you shouldn’t even being keep track of all of their assignments or micromanaging their study time. The point here, is to know enough to help hold them accountable for doing their own work. You want to be able to check up behind them and reward their good behavior with positive comments that show you care. For example, I might say, “Leo, did you do all of your homework today?” Then if he did, I can follow up with, “Great job, Leo! Do you have upcoming tests or projects that you should add to your planner?” You want to help them take responsibility for themselves and remind them in a positive way that are really proud of them when you see them keeping track of their assignments and preparing for their best work.
2. Give Your Child The Tools And Skills. Then Set Clear Homework Expectations.
The first year of middle school was a little tough for my son to adjust to because there were so many changes. He felt the weight of responsibility and worried about not doing something he was supposed to do. I talked to him about planning and gave him options for how he could track his homework and projects. I told him he could use a list method, an agenda, or a monthly calendar. Then, I showed him a few examples. Finally, I let him chose what he thought would work best for him.
Let your child know they need to keep track of their homework but occasionally check up on them to make sure they are doing a good job writing down the assignments. Create a quiet environment for them to do their homework, set homework expectations for them to stick to. Be available to help them if they need it, but allow them space to get the work done on their own. At the start of the school year, check to make sure all the assignments are done by their deadline. Once they seem to get the hang of it, you can just spot check.
3. Help Your Child Learn To Prioritize And Be Prepared
Your child will be able to do their best work if they’re prepared for the day. Have them pack their backpack and lay out their clothes the night before so they’re not rushed in the morning. Make sure they have a set bedtime so they get plenty of sleep and they’re not tired at school. Children should eat a filling and nutritious breakfast so they don’t run out of steam and lose focus before their next meal.
For me, part of being prepared is also being able to prioritize. Teach your child to get their school work out of the way before they indulge in play time. You might want to talk about creating an after school routine that works for them. My son gets a 30 minute snack/break time when he first gets home and then he does his school work before he can have any time on electronics.
4. Teach Strong Study Skills
Another important element of teaching kids how to get good grades in middle school, is teaching them study skills. Believe it or not, “Go study!” may mean nothing to them. I ask my son, how do you plan to study? I reinforce his plans and I sometimes add to them as need may be.
We all know that waiting until the last minute to get a big project done creates stress. Help your child plan for upcoming projects and break the end result down into smaller, more manageable tasks. In this way, they can get work toward completing the project on time. Do this together at first, so they learn how to do it. Then they can add it to their planner after you agree on the chunks and the timeline.
If they have a test coming up, make sure that study time is included in homework time for several days before the test, not just the night before. This will help them be more prepared, giving them a better chance to get good grades. Review their study skills and talk about good ways to prepare for tests- rereading textbooks and notes, making flash cards, creating timelines, charts, or diagrams, and looking over homework.
5. Focus on Comprehension
For complex math problems and abstract concepts like the events that led up to a war, for example, the best way to ensure you truly know the information is to focus on understanding instead of merely memorizing. When you’re stuck on a tough problem or challenging concept while you’re at home studying by yourself, there are plenty of amazing free platforms you can utilize to get online tutoring help or step-by-step explanations on the material.
Brainly provides step-by-step guidance and explanations to all questions on its platform, helping students go from questioning to understanding and beyond. Another way to ensure you understand the exam materials ahead of time is to reinforce what you’ve learned by helping explain answers to other students’ questions in subjects you’ve already mastered. This is a core component of Brainly’s peer-to-peer learning community.
6. Talk About Middle School
Encourage your child to talk about their school day, their classes, their assignments, and their classmates. Listen to their excitement and concerns. Knowing how your child engages throughout the day offers important clues. Are they feeling comfortable with other students? Do they like their teachers? Is there a subject they love or hate? This will help you celebrate their joys and to alert you to any issues.
Talking with them about their school day will let your child know you are listening and you care about more than just their grades. They need to feel valued for who they are as a person. Not just how they perform with their grades. At the same time, when you praise their grades or let them know you are appreciate the progress they are making, nothing will go further to reinforce that behavior.
Staying involved and keeping up to date on what’s going on in your child’s classroom helps show your child you care. It also allows you to check in on their school work progress. The best way to help kids learn how to get good grades in middle school is to empower them to take responsibility for their school work. Give kids the tools they need to help them develop good study skills. Then support them with a positive attitude that shows them you believe in them. Have kids take responsibility for their grades while being there to offer assistance when they need to rework their plan. The secret to getting better grades is helping kids believe they can do it, giving them the support they need, and expecting them to put in the work.
Or you may be interested in broadening your perspective on grades with these suggested links:
Why Normalizing Struggle Can Create A Better Math Experience For Kids
Are Grades Killing Intellectual Curiosity