As a parent, I dreaded my daughter entering middle school.
Middle school was the most trying time of my childhood.
I came from a rather strict and sheltered elementary school. There were 10 students in my sixth-grade classroom. We were taught by Sister Mary Clare and I wore a uniform every day.
And puberty hit me hard. I gained 50 pounds in what seemed overnight.
I felt uncomfortable and awkward in my own body.
Middle school was like throwing me to the wolves.
I prepared my daughter for how mean kids could be.
And I taught her to always wear deoderant (because I made that mistake).
I made sure she was always in a physical activity so that she’d know her body was strong.
But the mental overwhelm caught me by surprise.
Helping middle school students succeed
When they enter middle school, kids go from being taught by one teacher for all subjects to 6 or more teachers.
They go from managing one person’s expectations to several.
What do you do first?
Whose class is more important?
How do I fit everything else in?
Add to that our unconventional start of the school year this year… and it’s even more confusing!
How can we teach our kids to manage their workload and learn to make priorities so that they stay well-adjusted human beings?
One Habit of Successful Middle School Students
One thing many successful students do is use an agenda. However, if your middle school was anything like mine, teachers give students a planner and that’s it.
They should be self-explanatory, right?
But simply having a planner doesn’t mean kids will use it in the most effective way.
If we’re helping middle school students succeed, we need to teach our kids time blocking.
How to teach middle school students time blocking when they’re not in school
To help you out, I’ve made a video for your kids that takes them through this procedure step-by-step.
It’s something they can practice right now and use it during summer break.
We’re going to time-block a typical summer day: one that allows time for a creative activity and makes time for their other responsibilities.
All you need to do for them is to print out this time blocking worksheet here.
And you might want to watch the video either with them or before just in case they have any questions about the process.
A couple things to keep in mind:
- This video takes them through planning a typical break day. It can be used for summer, fall, winter – whenever they find they have extra time on their hands and are sitting around the house bored. (you know what I mean)
- Let this process be entirely under their control. I teach them how to plan their day to balance the things they want to do with the stuff they have to do.
If they need a little motivation to try this, ask them:
“Hey, how would you feel if I stopped asking you to get off electronics and do something else?”
You can keep that promise.
With this procedure, your kids will create a daily schedule that’ll show you exactly when they’re going to be productive and do their chores.. No nagging needed whatsover.
There’s a little trick in this process. Going through it now means they’ll have the practice to use this process again and again when school starts.
It’s teaching them time blocking without the added stress of managing it for all their assignments.