How Parents Can Come Alongside Their Middle Schooler

Recently, FCS middle school teacher Abby Wall shared some practical ways for parents to make a positive difference in their child’s education experience.

Miss Wall has a big heart for her middle school students. She has observed and walked alongside flourishing and struggling students throughout her time in the classroom at FCS. She is excited and passionate about encourating middle school parents with insightful thoughts on at-home student support!

When asked, “How can parents come alongside their Middle School students during this transitional stage of life?” Miss Wall responded:

“I’ve noticed that many parents think that when their student gets to middle school, they don’t need someone checking behind them anymore, that it is their responsibility now. I am 100% behind the idea that the student is completely responsible for his or her work; however, this is still a 12 or 13-year-old. They’re still going to be silly and act like they are 12 or 13-year-olds. They shouldn’t be left to their own devices. Their hands still need to be held while they learn this responsibility. I encourage parents to talk to their kids about the scheduled homework and assignments, check on their grades, and ask about their progress on projects. A big thing is looking at their grades; you’d be surprised how many students don’t turn in work. A part of their responsibility is meeting deadlines without a teacher hunting them down when the due date approaches. Often they come into class, and the conversation goes something like this:

“Where is ___?”

“I don’t have ____.”,

First, I’ll extend some grace because they need grace, and I look for opportunities to model that in my classroom. Our middle school systems and routines make room for grace as students ease into this responsibility. Then we slowly pull back from that as they work through middle school and make sure that grace is not being repetitively taken advantage of. Personally, if a zero is ever entered as one of my student’s grades, they have already been extended grace. So my ultimate advice would be for parents to talk to them about their school work. A lot of my struggling students are filled with so much potential, but so often at home, there isn’t that presence of someone coming behind them, reminding them to do what they’re supposed to be doing. It doesn’t remove any student responsibility, but they need a safety net and guidance.

When you think about it, there are many other aspects of a student’s life at this age, and for a lot of them, life is starting to feel like a dumpster fire – like their worth will rise or fall on the shoes they choose to wear that day. There are new elements in their schedules like sports, electives, and hobbies, and sometimes the freedom introduced in middle school gives the illusion of time to do all these things that they don’t necessarily have time for. Don’t expect them to understand how to balance that automatically – instead, help them learn to prioritize!”

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