I’m feeling a lot of emotions about Kendall starting middle school. Yes, you read that right. My first-born baby just started 6th grade! Of course, I’m experiencing all the typical feelings most parents probably do when they are smacked with the reality of time marching forward, but I’m also having flashbacks to when I was in middle school and hard a hard time managing my school anxiety, and I dread him going through what I did during those years.
This post is in partnership with Sylvan Nation
One of my most vivid middle school memories is when a teacher had to walk me to my locker in the middle of class, and help me go through all of its messy, disorganized contents to track down an assignment. Another memory, painted with shame and embarrassment, was my English teacher calling me out in front of the whole class for not organizing my binder properly.
When I think back to middle school, I mostly remember feeling really overwhelmed – not just by the physical binders and papers and assignments, but also by friendships and social status and life changes.
In hindsight, I know that was a symptom of anxiety, and I know that one of the ways I can control my own anxiety is setting up systems that help me organize my life.
So, I’ve been thinking about helping Kendall learn simple organization systems as we go into the new school year that will help him stay on top of tasks and minimize feeling overwhelmed and school anxiety.
I love this advice from Sylvan Nation.
Teaching Organizational Skills To Middle Schoolers
Levitt recommends using a hands-on approach to get your child organized for the upcoming year.
“You can’t just say ‘You need to be more organized,’” Levitt says. “You have to show them what you mean.”
Here’s how: “In the morning, take their backpacks, put them on the floor by the front door, lay out everything that goes in them (notebook, lunch, field trip money, water). Then say, ‘Okay, it’s your job to put everything in there.’”
This can continue for a few weeks. Then, stop laying everything out, and have them gather their stuff up themselves. This same method works great for organizing binders, setting up assignment calendars, and other tasks you want them to take on independently.
The idea— referred to as “scaffolding” in education—is to first show your kid how to do it, and then gradually take the training wheels off.
“It does take longer to do it this way,” says Levitt. “But the results pay off.”
It’s quick & easy! Then you’ll have access to tons of FREE resources for parents and students from elementary through high school.
Other Activities you can find on Sylvan Nation include:
- Study tips
- Practice writing prompts
- DIY STEM craft tutorials
- And many more!
Each time you complete an activity, you accumulate points, and then you can redeem your points for rewards, like:
- Restaurant survival activity sheets
- Sylvan learning workbooks
- A month of academic coaching at Sylvan
You can even trade points in for $25 and $50 gift cards to places like Starbucks and Amazon!
We will have enough points soon for a free one-year subscription to Sylvan Paper, which is an online tool that helps students organize, draft and revise their essays using step-by-step, digital composition tools (and is valued at $120).
I’m hopeful our enthusiasm for this new school year (and new school!) will outlast the anxiety. If we can get our routines in sync and find a new normal, I know we’ll all settle into a routine.
I’m also all ears when it comes to other organization tips for middle school or junior high! What are you planning to implement for your 6th, 7th, and 8th graders? What’s worked for you in the past?
Thanks to Sylvan Nation for sponsoring this post and bringing me on as an ambassador this year. Don’t forget to sign up for Sylvan Nation here.