By Cheryl Kavinski Bayo
At MMI students are held to a rigorous academic standard which requires diligence and hard work. In the past, formal study skills may not have been “taught” or “needed,” but the good news is that they are not hard to implement.
The effort it takes to implement good, practical study skills is far less than the anxiety and pressure of feeling like you can’t keep up or feeling overwhelmed as academic expectations pile up around you. This only fuels the typical preteen and teenage feelings of insecurity and self-doubt that threaten to keep students from realizing their capabilities.
I have worked with many students who have come to me with feelings of stress and anxiety due to being overwhelmed by academic expectations. I have been able to help students put their situations into perspective, triage the assignments they have in front of them, create a plan of attack to complete them, and then effectively execute the plan. We have had collaborative meetings with families and relevant faculty to come up with the most effective way to support student challenges.
Most often, we find that the use of a planner is essential to keep students on track and aware of their assignments and exams (one is supplied by MMI). Please encourage your student to get comfortable with their planner of choice by looking it over with them often and finding out how they use it most effectively. It is also important to equip your student’s home workspace with whatever they may need to focus on homework when they sit down to do it.
MMI will always be a challenging environment, but as soon as the challenge begins to feel like a struggle, that is when students should speak up and ask for help. I convey to our students that feelings of embarrassment that keep them from asking for help will only lead to greater embarrassment later when they realize that they are too far behind to help themselves.
Let’s all work as a team so every student has their most successful year!
Action Items for Parents:
- Maintain open communication with faculty
- Have daily conversations with your student so you are aware of their assignments (even checking their planners)
- Consciously provide a supportive home environment for your student to complete home assignments: a quiet, organized study area with necessary tools, a dedicated time of day when possible
- Encourage your student to seek extra help from their teacher, or a peer tutor for content that is more challenging for them
Here are links to some helpful resources covering a variety of topics about middle school challenges: