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When I was in sixth grade, all the “cool” kids wore designer jeans. I knew they were designer because of a certain triangle logo on the back pocket. Oh, how I wanted those jeans! I even took a generic pair three sizes — three — too big with a similar logo and ripped the logo patch off to make it look like I had a designer pair. I thought that if I had those jeans, life at school would be complete and I would be happy. But I didn’t and it wasn’t. And, as I accepted ridicule about not having the jeans, my desire to be at school plummeted. Middle school can be rough, and maybe your student is dealing with something similar. Has he lost that spark about learning? About even attending? Here are four ways to reignite the flame:
Go over homework
All of us tend to feel frustrated and defeated when work before us seems beyond our capability. Make sure your child’s workload is challenging but not impossible. Consider your child’s academic capacity and development for his/her age group. Is he slow at writing? Quick at math? Make sure the homework is appropriate. I was talking with a woman recently who tried going over her son’s homework but realized it was two grades past his comprehension because of his slow reading ability. If it seems inappropriate, talk with his teacher to gain some insights or seek tutoring outside of school. Building your child’s academic abilities will also build his confidence in learning
Get them involved
Middle-school is an awkward dance of acceptance. When you involve your child in any extracurricular activity, he is a part of a group of like-minded individuals who rely on each other to pursue a goal. This can do wonders for your child’s self-esteem and confidence, knowing others depend on him. It can be anything — band, basketball — that gives them a cause bigger than themselves.
Invite friends over outside of school
Sharing memories with peers is a great way to close the gap between school and home. My mother-in-law purposely made her house the “it” place for her son’s friends. Complete with downstairs lounge and outdoor hot tub, this provided a safe place for the kids to make memories — memories they would talk about and bond over at school. Your house doesn’t have to be hang-out central. In fact, maybe your middle schooler would prefer NOT having peers over. What about creating memories at the bowling alley or mall or local fro-yo spot? Set your child up to be social outside of academia.
Show an interest yourself
Study after study indicates that, when a parent involves themselves in the school and academic well-being of their child, success rates increase. Being involved shows you support the institution, and you are investing money/time/resources into making it a worthwhile and beneficial place for your student. Also, if you situate yourself in particular volunteer positions, you are also on the pulse of happenings in your child’s class and among his peers. This information can be a catalyst to engage your child in open conversation and offer guidance. Having someone on his side who knows what’s going on gives your student a better chance at tackling and winning the struggles of middle-school life.
Note: If your child exhibits an unusual sense of isolation or sadness, consider professional help with the school guidance counselor to get him back on track.
As with any struggle or decision with your student, cover him in prayer daily. Pray for a new sense of enjoyment in academics, role models to encourage him and his walk to grow strong. Ask God for guidance as you parent through this time.
And, most importantly, if your child asks about a certain triangle logo on a certain pair of designer jeans, talk about it with him and, maybe, even consider buying them.
Due to an increased demand to provide full-week, full-day options in 4K, we will now offer a combined 4K/K Friday Enrichment option for our families. The 4K and K options for the 2016-17 school year are as follows:
4K: Class will be in session M-TH from 8:20 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
Families have the option of extending to a full day by using 4K Plus M-TH from 12:00-3:15 p.m. on either a regular or drop-in basis.
Families now have the option of participating in Friday Enrichment from 8:20 a.m.-3:15 p.m. on either a regular or drop-in basis.
K: Class will be in session M-TH from 8:20 a.m.-3:15 p.m.
Families have the option of participating in Friday Enrichment from 8:20 a.m.-3:15 p.m. on either a regular or drop-in basis.