It is not uncommon for students who earned passing grades in elementary school to find themselves overwhelmed and over worked in middle school. The level of academic responsibility increases with each year of schooling, but the leap from elementary to middle school creates the biggest challenge. Curriculum becomes more in-depth as the academic pace accelerates. This combination along with newfound social connections leaves many students struggling and many parents frustrated.

Follow these three simple habits at home to help regain control of the situation:

1.Organization is Key
As simple and unrelated as many people feel this component is, it is critical to academic success. Beyond the obvious and overstated, have a specific spot for homework assignments to be completed. The next step to this process is rarely mentioned; put the homework, books, teacher notes, notebooks etc, in the book bag at night.
Many students stumble into class each morning half awake only to find the work they spent time on the night before is still sitting on the dinning room table.
When this happens these assignments are considered missing, incomplete, or late. All of which put a lower grade in the gradebook. Several days of this repeated pattern and any GPA would certainly be reduced.

2.Be Proactive

Unlike the elementary years where teachers were available to keep parents informed of progress, middle school educators teach 100 or more students a day. The parent to teacher communication now falls mostly on the parent.
Be proactive. Monitor your children’s grades weekly. If you see low grades or notice that your child struggles with understand homework assignments, it is wise to seek intervention immediately. Email the teacher. Ask what steps he or she recommends to get the tutoring your child needs. Take action and get help. The work your child is doing will only get more challenging as the year progresses.

3.Social Activities and Academic Effort

The adolescent mind is different than that of a child. By now your children are probably seeking more social outlets, friendships, and activities. While parents need to encourage children to participate in extracurricular activities, clear guidelines must be set. These guidelines should include a base level of academic success. Participation in social events should be allowed only when the agreed upon base for academic grades are met.
Far too many parents are unaware of the power of tying social events to academic success. When children know their social outlets are contingent upon their academic efforts, most are more willing to take responsibility to earn good grades.
Start and follow through with this practice in middle school, and by their high school years your children will know academic responsibility is imperative to their freedoms.

Author's Bio: 

Victoria Cummings is a veteran educator who has worked with students in kindergarten through eight grades. She is a child advocate, especially for the little understood middle school child. Victoria has written a handbook for the middle school parent entitled "Nine Ways to Help Your Child Succeed". Her desire is to help parents raise happier, more successful children by offering advice on ways of navigating through these challenging years.

Visit her website at