Research indicates that middle school involvement is drastically different from involvement at the elementary level in that middle school parents help teachers less in the actual classroom and more at home by:
- Holding children accountable for work and grades.
- Checking homework and graded assignments.
- Using on line resources to monitor academic progress.
- Keeping up with progress reports and current grades.
- Maintaining lines of communication with teachers in good times and bad.
This is not a time to back away and let your child take control of all responsibilities – they need you now more than ever!
- Middle School students want parents around, but in a different way...
- Students want to focus on their social relationships and identities without a lot of interference from parents
- An interesting contradiction: Middle school students do not want parents "always around," but take comfort in that they are "always around!"
- While they may resist it, this is the time your child needs GUIDANCE and BOUNDARIES as they try on more and more independence.
Students at this age are struggling to find their identities and are often filled with uncertainty...they seek out and rely on their parents for supportive and active involvement in all aspects of their life, including school. (Beghetto, 2001)
The benefits of parent involvement include the following:
- Involvement at this level may be even more crucial than other levels since this is a time when typically "parents have a tendency to become less actively involved in their children's education." (Reilly, 2008)
- Parental involvement is a better indicator of how successful a student will be, more so than the commonly used indicators of the educational level of parents and the family’s socio-economic status. (Reilly, 2008)
- Involvement can help teachers understand the challenges students may face at home - information that is not attainable otherwise.
What Works for Parents
- Regularly checking homework assignments on the GOMS website, Schoology and the against student’s work ---
- “Our family prints all the teachers’ calendars on Monday and posts them on the refrigerator. Each night, our student has them out while doing their homework and shows us exactly what is being done that is due tomorrow.”
- “Since we do not have an internet connection at home, one of our son’s weekly chores is to go to the Library each Monday either during lunch or after school and print each of his teacher’s calendars.”
- Regular grade checks using Schoology
- “I check his grades every Friday afternoon from work. In order to participate in weekend activities, all of his grades must meet our expectations. If not, we set up a plan and activities are postponed until expectations are met.”
- “I keep a post-it note on my computer monitor with my daughter’s information so I can check her grades whenever I need to.”
- "I have the Schoology app on my phone for grades and teacher updates."
- Consistent TIME and PLACE for homework (as much as possible)
- “There are too many distractions for our son if he does his homework in his room, so he sits at the kitchen table, away from the computer, TV and cell phone.”
- “We have a cell phone check-in basket in our home. When we get home, the phone is turned off and checked in. Once homework is complete, the cell phone is returned until bedtime. At bedtime, my daughter turns it back in to me, so she has no distractions when she should be sleeping.”
- Maintain communication with teachers
- “I really appreciate receiving and sending e-mails to teachers – it’s fast and easy!”
- “If my son says he turned in an assignment and it still shows as missing on Schoology, I follow-up with an e-mail to the teacher – just to be sure that all 3 parties are clear about what’s going on.”