Building on Academic Basics: What Parents Can Do
- Hold on to interventions that work. Middle schoolers continue to benefit from the kind of structure and guidance that helped when they were younger -- although you may encounter more resistance. Consider drawing up a contract with your child for school-related behaviors that need improvement, and offer rewards for success.
- Request a change in schedule. Take advantage of options regarding teachers and class times. Switch your child to a teacher who's in tune with his learning style, or to a time slot in which he works better. If the school offers tracking, be sure your child is getting the right amount of challenge.
- Be alert for learning disabilities. Specific learning disabilities (LD) sometimes go undetected until middle school or later, especially in very bright kids. Warning signs include reluctance to read and write, poor reading comprehension, trouble with abstract concepts, and poor essay-writing skills. If you suspect LD, request a formal evaluation from your child's school.
- Bypass bad handwriting. Middle schoolers are expected to show what they know by writing essays and reports. But many kids with ADHD or learning disabilities have poor handwriting due to difficulty with fine motor coordination. Using a keyboard to write reports and take notes lets them get around this. For typing software, visit SuperKids Educational Software Review.