The Women's Journal

Middle School Checklist

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Maggie Lage_on11_sqBy Maggie Lage

Congratulations, Mom and Dad. Your child is now an elementary school graduate and about to head off to middle school. How can you help him or her make a great transition? Follow this checklist to help your child get ready and excited for this major step:

•  Get familiar with the new school. Chances are your child’s elementary school along with several others in the area feed into a nearby middle school.  That means not only is your child’s new school likely to have many more students, it is probably much larger in size, too. Before the beginning of the new school year, make a few trips to get comfortable with the campus. Once your child has a class schedule, help him or her practice the route between classrooms and lockers a few times.

•  Get academically prepared. Now is the time to tackle any lingering learning issues from elementary school, such as poor organization or time management, or difficulty with a certain subject.  Middle school classes move at a faster pace, so any gaps in knowledge will only widen without attention now. Now is a good time to catch up, get ahead, or improve weaker skills.

•  Talk about school-life balance.
Your child will be faced with all kinds of social and extracurricular activities to choose from in middle school. It can be a challenge for some new middle school students to adapt to juggling their school responsibilities and their social lives.  Develop a daily routine at home that carves out time for homework as well as other obligations.

•  Develop trusted homework strategies.
If your child hasn’t yet developed an efficient nightly homework routine, now is a good time
to do so.  Teach our child about time management and prioritizing different assignments based on when they are due, and help your child learn to use a planner to keep track of those assignments and due dates, as well as any other commitments.

•  Teach your child to take initiative. Middle school teachers expect more from students than in elementary school. For the first time, your child will be expected to take full ownership of his or her academic life. Help your child become more responsible by guiding him or her in making choices independently, setting goals, and working toward them. Consider giving your child new responsibilities around the home, getting him or her involved in some sort of leadership role or organization, or helping him or her get a volunteer position.

•  Get organized. In middle school, your child may take up to eight different classes. That means eight different textbooks, eight different teachers’ assignments to keep track of and much more homework he or she is accustomed to doing. Make sure there is a dedicated space to do homework and organize all paperwork. In a file cabinet or portable file, create folders for each class to keep track of graded assignments and other materials.  Whatever system you develop, be sure your child is involved in creating it. You may need to help your child use this system each night for several weeks once school starts to help your child develop this habit.

Founded in 1977, Huntington Learning Center has offered supplemental education services longer than any other provider. Parents often contact Huntington when they receive a particularly alarming report card or other communication saying their child is falling behind. Many also reach out to Huntington because they are concerned their child may have poor study skills, or difficulty in performing to grade level in reading and math.

Hear what parents are saying about Huntington

Our son was struggling with school at the end of 2nd grade and now with Huntington’s help and great teachers, at the end of 3rd grade he is at grade level and looking forward to 4th grade. Huntington really helped our son.

I just wanted to thank you for working with me and my family from the beginning to help me get the tutoring I needed for the SATs. You were always so willing and beyond flexible to help meet my personal needs. I truly appreciate all of the hard work you did to put me with a WONDERFUL teacher and help me boost my scores in order to help me achieve my dreams!

Maggie Lage is the Executive Director of the Huntington Learning Center in Newark

34 Liberty Plaza | Kirkwood Highway | Newark, DE 19711

For more information or to schedule a consultation at the Newark location

call 302-737-1150 or visit