How To Succeed In Middle School

How To Succeed In Middle School

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When Alexandra Haake was 11, she was nervous and excited about starting sixth grade — in Davenport, IA, where she lives, that’s when junior high school begins.

“I’d heard that the food was so much better than the goop we got in elementary school,” says Haake. “But also that the teachers were really tough.”

Great as it is to graduate, moving up to middle school can create anxiety. Here’s what your preteen is likely to face, and how you can help:

* A tougher workload. It’ll take more studying to do well than it did when she was in elementary school — and the amount of homework she has each night might double. Find your middle-schooler a quiet, well-lighted area where she can do homework, and be available to help. Chances are, she’ll be getting assignments from different teachers as well as long-range projects that’ll require planning. To help her get organized, make sure she has a notebook or folder for each class and a system to keep track of due dates. At the end of each day, have her go through her backpack (middle-schoolers are notorious for forgetting to pass along important papers and school notices) and review her homework list with her.

* A new routine. School may begin earlier or later, last longer, and involve switching classrooms throughout the day. If she seems frustrated at first, remind her of something that used to seem hard but that she’s a whiz at now (such as soccer or making a phone call by herself). You can also point out that starting middle school means she’s more grown up — and then give her a few new privileges to play up the positive: Let her stay up an hour later on weekends, say, or increase her phone time.

* Social issues. A middle-schooler would rather die than feel she doesn’t fit in, so to the extent that you can stomach it, indulge her need to look like the other kids and do the things they do. If she complains that last year’s like-new pink backpack is babyish, buy her another one. Let her grow out her bangs. By giving in to some of her whims now, you’re less likely to find that she’s sneaking behind your back when she’s older.

When she seems open to it, consider telling her about your own middle-school years. It might be a relief for her to know that you went through many of the same things when you were her age — and lived to tell about it!

Omega can help you succeed in middle school

with our study skills program.

Call today for information 770-792-7431.

Omega Learning Center- Acworth

5330 Brookstone Dr., Suite 320

Acworth, GA 30101

At Omega’s FREE study skills seminar, you will learn about the different learning styles and how they affect every child’s learning. Learn test-taking strategies, note-taking, listening skills, homework organization techniques, and time management. Our free workshop lasts only one hour and is great for the whole family!

Math and Reading Tutors in Acworth, GA 30101 for grades K-12.

If my child is struggling in Middle School,

should they repeat a grade?

At first glance, grade retention may look like old-fashioned common sense: Fail the year? Just do it over! In fact, with new emphasis on hard-nosed standards, the tactic is on the rise around the country. Old-fashioned, yes, says the National Association of School Psychologists. But common sense? Not on your life. Retention, cautions the association, is in fact “an ineffective and possibly harmful intervention.” In fact, says professor Shane Jimerson, PhD., of the University of California in Santa Barbara and nationally respected authority on the topic, the practice may best be described as “educational malpractice.” Those are strong words. So what exactly is the problem? Here’s what studies have found: Gains are only short term. At first, kids may do a little better, but within 2-3 years, they have generally lost those gains. Faced with new topics but without any help regarding the problems that made their school decide to hold them back in the first place, students continue to struggle. Losses are long term. By the teen years, “overage” students have different developmental interests than kids in their grade. They have more problems with friends and behavior, and research reveals that they are 5-11 times more likely to drop out of school. “Actually,” the NASP advises parents, “grade retention is one of the most powerful predictors of high school drop out.” Retention is emotionally devastating for kids. Of course, all kids need to learn to be accountable. Retention, however, seems to lead them to believe they are incompetent and incapable. In a study of sixth graders’ perceptions, for example, students reported, says Jimerson, that grade retention was “as stressful as the loss of a parent and going blind.” Retention is not used equitably. “The highest retention rates,” Jimerson has found, are “among poor, minority, inner-city youth.” For Hispanic and African-American kids, the retention rates are as high as 50%, and these kids are also more likely to be held back more than once. So if your child is strugglingand perhaps the school has talked about retentionwhat should you do? Britton Schnurr, PsyD., another researcher and currently a practicing psychologist with the Guilderland, New York, Central School District, cautions strongly. “Parents need to be informed,” she says, that “retention is not a benign intervention.” But neither does she recommend ignoring a child in trouble. The real question, she says, isn’t whether to promote or retain; it’s “What is getting in the way.” In fact, parent involvement is a top strategy for success. Whether the topic is homework, friendships, or daily curriculum, do not hesitate to ask questions and seek help. Working closely with your school staff, ask about your child’s learning style, strengths and weaknesses. What special supports, extensions and adjustments can the school provide to meet those needs? When those questions aren’t answered, says the NASP, kids lose. On the other hand, when parents, teachers, and school specialists work together, everyone wins: kids stay with their peers, learn what they need to learn, and can grow up healthy and whole.

Omega can help you succeed in middle school with our

study skills program.

Call today for information 770-792-7431.

Omega Learning Center- Acworth

5330 Brookstone Dr., Suite 320

Acworth, GA 30101    | 

Tutoring that integrates Homework Help, Skill Gaps, Study Skills, Test Prep and Enrichment.

Top 10 Skills In Technology Your Middle

Schooler Will Need

If you’re like most parents, you wonder whether your child is spending too much time on the computer. But the next time that you’re tempted to tell your child to log out, remember that he’s learning the skills that are vital to his future. It’s no longer enough for students to get an education if they want a great job; they also need the technology know-how that employers have come to expect.

But the question remains: which skills do they really need? Is it important for your student to be able to negotiate Facebook? Does she really need to be sending all of those e-mails? It’s hard to know which computer applications are important to her future, and which ones are distracting her from her math homework.

In order to determine the most essential computer skills for today’s job market, we polled a group of professionals from leading Silicon Valley corporations like Genentech, Hewlett Packard, Cisco, and Oracle. By choosing people from a wide variety of careers, we expected to get a wide variety of answers. Instead, the group was almost unanimous in recommending the following group of skills.


The keyboard is the tool that drives all other technology. There is no more important skill than being able to type well. College classrooms are now filled with students using laptops to take lecture notes; hunt-and-peck typing isn’t fast enough to keep up with today’s world.

Word processing

Every student should be able to produce work using a program like Microsoft Word. Everyone I polled stressed the importance of being able to properly format a document. Computer scientist Cathy Pearl cited specific skills: “Table of Contents, page numbering, and footnotes.” Also, learn not to depend on spell-check or grammar-check, since “e-mail” and “e-male” both look fine to a computer.


“If you can’t do at least basic Excel, then don’t bother applying,” said Jon Kondo, CEO of Host Analytics. Your student should understand how to keep track of data in a spreadsheet, and be able to use basic formula and graphing functions. One way to get your student started would be to have him keep track of his earnings and expenditures in a spreadsheet.


PowerPoint presentations have become a standard tool for group meetings.Your child should know how to make a compelling presentation. As Mr. Kondo said, “Slides should be visual aids, not just documents that you’ve copied and pasted.” He also stressed the importance of knowing proper grammar, because no technology can replace good writing skills.

E-Mail “netiquette”

E-mail has become essential to communication. Your student should know the etiquette for writing a proper business note. This includes brevity, proper use of “reply all,” and knowing that all e-mail has the potential to be forwarded. Also, said Mr. Kondo, “Know when it’s time to pick up the phone and actually speak to someone.”

Electronic calendar

Most businesses now revolve around online calendars. “Learn how to manage time on an electronic calendar, and be accommodating of other’s schedules,” says Manager Katie Petrie. In addition, your child should use the calendar to help manage his time; it’s easy to lose track of the hours when we’re on the web. Consider getting started by using a computer calendar for your family – it’s fun and easy!

Social networking sites

Marketing Programs Manager Michelle Myers stressed that online communities have become an important method of communication.Your student should be familiar with how to navigate these sites; in the future, she may use one to find a job or create an ad campaign. Most importantly, your student should also be aware that companies use these sites to check on prospective employees. Your child’s best defense is to put her own information out there the way she wants to be presented.

Basic computer upkeep

According to Senior Project Manager Clyde Kennedy, not enough people are familiar with basic computer function. “Know the terms for the major parts, like the monitor and USB ports. Understand how the computer communicates with the world around it whether, it’s plugged into a network or using a wireless network.” Your student should be able to take care of her computer by knowing how to update software, check for viruses, and replace the printer cartridge.

Using Internet searches properly for research

Teach your child to be a careful consumer of web information. It’s important to be able to use a search engine like Yahoo or Google to find information, but it’s even more important to learn which sites to trust. Your student should be discerning about what information he cites to support a claim. For instance, if he uses Wikipedia, he should go one step farther and check the reference articles.

Database use

Most companies now use a variety of databases for things like H.R. information, sales, and finances. Your child should understand the importance of database security. Teach her how to create and keep track of passwords, and how to change them occasionally for optimal safety. She should also understand the impact of her own actions on a database, like the difference between looking at data and making a change to data that will affect everyone involved.

The professionals polled mentioned other applications that might be helpful for a student who wants to become more advanced. These skills included: photo and file management, making a web page, and keeping a blog. But so long as your student is able to master the ten skills above, she’ll not only be ready for the next step in her education, but for the career opportunities that are sure to follow.

Omega Learning is offering a FREE Study Skills

workshop for parents and students!

Saturday, September 14th from 12-1 pm.

Limited Space available. Register by calling 770-792-7431.Customer Service

At Omega’s FREE study skills seminar, you will learn

about the different learning styles and how they affect

every child’s learning. Learn test-taking strategies, note-

taking, listening skills, homework organization

techniques, and time management. Our free workshop

lasts only one hour and is great for the whole family!




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