Situations to avoid when helping your 6th-Grader prepare for Jr. High Common Core Math
I can’t believe my child will be in Jr. High next year! How many times have you heard this? Or are you saying this about your own child? Jr. High can be an exciting new adventure, but it can also hold some confusing and stressful situations. These stressful situations are known all too well in the Common Core Math arena. What can we as parents do to provide support for our sixth-grader as he or she enters the turbulent Jr. High years?
As one looks at children in sixth and seventh grade, you can view it as a transitional time when kids are leaving their childhood and looking ahead to high school. Their responsibilities are changing, their bodies are changing, their lives are changing and keeping their math homework in the correct folder just isn’t a top priority.
At this age, particularly for boys, they face discernable challenges with motivation and organization. This behavior is very typical of adolescence and does not mean something is “wrong.” Look at it as they are asserting their uniqueness. Your role is just directing some of that uniqueness into passion that will drive some of their behavior into more responsible actions in all parts of their life.
Another shift we see in kids this age is the need for children to gain approval from their peers and friends rather than the adults in their lives. We see that they tend to be more motivated to do well in school and other activities to gain favor from their peers, instead of teachers or parents. Girls who have always been amazing at math or science may get the message that it’s cooler to act dumb or silly in class than to be the student who always has the correct answer. Unfortunately, this tends to play into society’s struggle in general as we see decreases in the number of girls who follow career paths in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). They also show decreases in math and science scores even though they statistically outperform boys on all academic levels in the classroom. In these cases, boys lead on standardized tests in these subjects. Performance based scores seem to be somewhat environmental.
One of the biggest factors of well-adjusted teenagers is a parent who understands the balance of parental support, clear limits and allows failure.
Actions Have Consequences
Sometimes students in these grades spend a great deal of energy convincing their parents to go away, but in reality, they need clear limits and follow through. Meaningful consequences that follow certain unacceptable behaviors is a key component in addressing your child’s new found pattern of pushing the limits. It may sound like a tired old song, but parents need to make good on their threats of punishment. If we don’t follow through on consequences then kids find out that we don’t really mean what we say and the credibility that we still had will diminish quickly.
Here are some real world questions and responses that can help in those frustrating moments with your pre-teen.
If you are unclear on how much to hover during homework time, especially with Common Core Math, let the first quarter or term go by without intervening unless your student asks for help. After you get that initial grade feedback from the school, adjust your plan accordingly. If his or her grades in math are awful, perhaps you could say, “I need to see your math homework every single night before you put it back in your backpack.”
Avoid treating them like an elementary student
Your child is searching for meaning in his or her life. They start to question you about their math homework saying things like, “why do I have to do this?” and we may be tempted to say, “Because you’ll need to know this later in the real world.” Although this answer is true, your child may need stronger motivation. If they don’t respond well to consequences, try a softer touch. However, sometimes the only way we can get through to kids is with this type of response, “Because if you don’t learn it and your grade drops on your mid-term report, you won’t be able to go with your friends every Saturday night for a month.” Or, if this will just escalate the issue, try this response instead, “What are our goals for the next month to improve your math grade, because you have way more potential than your grade is reflecting.” You know your child best and what works for their specific situation. Find the responses that directly hit their immediate, self-involved place in their mind.
Avoid walking away when they need to talk
One minute you’re talking to your child about a current event on the news and they are acting like a miniature adult, the next, they are stomping off and throwing a tantrum. What to do? Always be available to be a listening ear and ask questions. There will be many times that you may not want to hear their complaining or social woes, but it will be beneficial for both of you to sit and listen. If your child knows that you are someone who is safe and loves them unconditionally they will remember this when something more serious is happening in their life. Confiding in you will be a positive option instead of a dreaded one.
Lots to navigate with your child in regards to Common Core, and common core math and other educational subjects, which mixes in the social aspects the student is dealing with as they grow older. Be confident as well as understanding when presented with school or homework challenges.
Integrated Learning Strategies is a Utah-based center dedicated to helping mainstream children and children with learning disabilities achieve academic success. Our services provide kids with non-traditional tutoring programs within the Davis County, Kaysville, Layton, Syracuse, Farmington, and Centerville areas. Areas to find Integrated Learning Strategies include: Reading tutors in Kaysville, Math tutors in Kaysville, Common Core Tutors in Kaysville, Tutors in Utah, Utah Tutoring Programs