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Parental support plays an important part in helping preteens and teens succeed in middle school. But as students grow more independent during these years, it can be hard for parents to know which situations call for involvement and which call for a more behind-the-scenes approach.
Preteens and teens do better in school when parents are involved in their academic lives. Attending back-to-school night at the start of the school year is a great way to get to know your child's teachers and their expectations. School administrators may discuss school-wide programs and policies, too.
Attending parent-teacher conferences is another way to stay informed. These may be held once or twice a year at progress reporting periods.
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Many middle schools, however, only set up parent-teacher conferences if parental involvement is needed to address issues like behavior problems, falling below grade-level expectations, or alternatively, benefiting from advanced class work. If your child has special learning or behavioral needs, meetings can be scheduled with teachers and other school staff to consider setting up or revising individualized education plans IEPs , education plans , or gifted education plans.
Keep in mind that parents or guardians can request meetings with teachers, principals, school counselors, or other school staff any time during the school year. Knowing the physical layout of the school building and grounds can help you connect with your child when you talk about his or her school day.
It's good to know the location of the main office, school nurse, cafeteria, gym, athletic fields, auditorium, and special classes. Many teachers maintain their own websites that provide access to textbooks and other resources, and detail homework assignments, and test and quiz dates. Special resources for parents and students are also usually available on the district, school, or teacher websites.
During the middle school years, homework gets more intense and the time spent will probably be longer than during the elementary years, usually a total of 1 to 2 hours each school night. An important way to help is to make sure your child has a quiet, well-lit, distraction-free place to study that's stocked with school supplies. Distraction-free means no phone, TV or websites other than homework-related resources.
And be sure to check in from time to time to make sure that your child hasn't gotten distracted. Sit down with your child regularly to talk about class loads and make sure they're balanced. It's also a good idea to set a specific start time for homework each night. Helping preteens and teens establish a homework schedule and consistent homework routine sends a message that academics are a priority. Encourage your child to ask for help when it's needed. Most teachers are available for extra help before or after school, and also might be able to recommend other resources.
A nutritious breakfast fuels up middle schoolers and gets them ready for the day. In general, preteens and teens who eat breakfast have more energy and do better in school. You can help boost your child's attention span, concentration, and memory by providing breakfast foods that are rich in whole grains, fiber, and protein, as well as low in added sugar. If your child is running late some mornings, send along fresh fruit, nuts, yogurt, or a peanut butter and banana sandwich. Many schools provide nutritious breakfast options before the first bell. Preteens and teens also need the right amount of sleep to be alert and ready to learn all day.
Then draw a bar graph showing the top five treats collected. Least often? Do you have the same amount of any of the treats? A clock with a face and hands! This winter, make your first grader your official timekeeper. Start by asking your child the time regularly, focusing on full hours and half hours.
Have your child write the time digitally and draw it on an analog clock. These time-themed worksheets will help, too! Use these coins to help your first grader understand counting to by ones and tens. Have your child count out pennies or whatever you have.
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Then have your child divide the pennies into groups of Have your child count the pennies by 10s for you. Praise them and give them some hand sanitizer. Clean clothes and data Sorting laundry at this age is not only fun but it boosts math learning. Use it to help your child organize, categorize, and count. Match socks, count pairs, and determine how many individual socks and pairs of socks there are. Divide clothes into color categories or separate by where they go. Help in the kitchen The first step into fractions for your first grader is now. They can better understand halves and quarters — and that each part is equal!
Cut a few 3—5 pieces of ribbon, yarn or paper in different lengths. Talk about ideas like long and short. With your child, put in order of longest to shortest. Cut shapes—circle, square, triangle—out of sturdy cardboard. Let your child touch the shape with her eyes open and then closed. Have fun with patterns by letting children arrange dry macaroni, chunky beads, different types of dry cereal, or pieces of paper in different patterns or designs. Supervise your child carefully during this activity to prevent choking, and put away all items when you are done.
Make household jobs fun. As you sort the laundry, ask your child to make a pile of shirts and a pile of socks.
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Ask him which pile is the bigger estimation. Together, count how many shirts. See if he can make pairs of socks: Can you take two socks out and put them in their own pile? This activity is more about counting than matching. Ask your child to pick out a shirt for the day. Ask: What color is your shirt? Yes, yellow. Can you find something in your room that is also yellow?
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As your child nears three and beyond, notice patterns in his clothing—like stripes, colors, shapes, or pictures: I see a pattern on your shirt. There are stripes that go red, blue, red, blue. Or, Your shirt is covered with ponies—a big pony next to a little pony, all over your shirt! As your child nears three and beyond, make a chart where your child can put a sticker each time it rains or each time it is sunny.
At the end of a week, you can estimate together which column has more or less stickers, and count how many to be sure. Bowman, B.
Eager to learn: Educating our preschoolers. Diezmann, C. Developing mathematical literacy in the early childhood years.
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In Yelland, N. Fromboluti, C. Early childhood: Where learning begins. Got Math? Member Exclusive. Skip to main content Skip to footer. Close Search Submit. Upcoming Events.
Search Submit. Parenting Resource Help Your Child Develop Early Math Skills Before they start school, most children develop an understanding of addition and subtraction through everyday interactions.
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