Virtual learning offers middle school students a highly personalized experience where students and teachers can connect in deeper ways to promote growth and learning — with added flexibility that many students and families prefer.
Parents and guardians have a key part to play in student success, especially as a new school year begins. Here are things you can do to help your middle school student thrive:
Keep open lines of regular communication with your student, the teacher and the school. Watch for teacher and school messages to stay updated on important news and updates that could affect your student. Because relationships and communication are different in a virtual environment than they are face to face, we work hard to create connections between families and staff because we know that a strong school-family relationship benefits students.
Establish a routine
Students (and adults!) depend on routines for comfort and predictability. Help your middle schooler set and follow a routine during the school day, and create the daily household routines, such as predictable times for sleeping, waking, meals and other healthy habits.
Encourage screen breaks
Many middle schoolers can happily spend the day glued to a device. When there is free time, whether during the school day or during personal/family time, encourage fresh air and activities that don’t add to screen time. Special responsibilities, such as walking the dog, mowing the lawn, preparing a meal or washing the car can be good activities for students who are growing in independence.
Middle school is traditionally a time when students are challenged to take charge of their organization at school. You can support this by allowing them the freedom to organize their physical and digital workspaces, offering help when you notice they may be overwhelmed or losing track of details.
There will be days when your middle school student feels frustrated, discouraged, or uninspired. That’s human! As a parent/guardian, your help to motivate — especially on those difficult days — without trying to fix their problems will go a long way to building the resilience and mindset that will serve him or her well for years to come.
Check in often
Although adolescents are known to roll their eyes or limit their communication with parents/guardians, checking in on their school experience at least a couple of times each day is critical to success. Ask how their school day is going, what they’re working on, how they’re feeling. While you won’t always get a great answer, you’re creating a caring connection that makes it easier to share when they need to ask for support or are excited about good news.