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How to Help Your Kid in Middle School Study

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Middle school kids get a bad rep. People say kids in the 11- 13 age group are hormonal, sullen, irritated, and generally bored with life. People shudder when parents say they're dealing with a pre-teen. However, it's not as tough as you might think to help your kid in middle school study. Try out some of these ways to help the middle-schooler in your life study for his or her test before you decide to hire a tutor or write your kid off as a bad tester. He or she may just need one of these suggestions below!

The Best Ways To Review For a Test
Help Your Elementary or High School Kids Prep

#1: Invite A Friend Over To Study, Too

Middle School Students smiling
Getty Images | Juan Silva

Why It Works: Your kid may be sick of you, but he or she is not sick of his or her best friend. Typically, middle school kids are completely wrapped up in their social lives (as if you didn't know). Use your kid's buddy as a study aid! The friend who comes to study will act as a buffer between you and your child, providing a little distraction and softening any irritation/negativity/boredom your kid could feel going solo into the study session.

How It Works: When you find out that your middle-schooler has a quiz or test coming up, ask your kid to choose a friend to come over to study with you a couple days before the test. When the friend comes over, set a time for the study session to start, and let them hang out a little while before you start. Once you begin reviewing the content or asking questions from a study guide, make sure to bounce ideas back and forth between your child and the friend. Give them equal time and opportunity to answer.

The Payoff: Besides acting as a buffer, your kid's buddy may actually enlighten your child to a few things missed in class. Plus, when you put two middle-schooler's heads together to study, they will help each other remember with mnemonics, create new insights, and cooperate to achieve the goal: ending the study session. This makes your life easier and the review time shorter (which makes everyone happy).

#2: Make Your Study Session a Destination

Cappuccino
Getty Images | Sparky

Why It Works: We all get sick of looking at the same four walls. Kids can go bananas in school staring at the same poster on their English teacher's bulletin board month after month. They want to change the décor in their rooms. They like a new scene. We all do, right? Going somewhere new when you help your kid in middle school study will benefit both of you by taking away the "Gosh, this is boring" factor.

How It Works: Grab your kid's review sheet and hit the road, scoping out a great place to study. If it's a nice day, grab a blanket, some snacks and make your destination review time a picnic outside. The fresh air and scenery will help you both relax a little bit while you study. If it's frigid or raining, head to a coffee shop or café. Order a hot cocoa and dig into the books! Just by changing the scenery, you'll both be a little more energized, focused, and willing to review.

The Payoff: If you drive all the way to Starbucks just to help your kid with the test on Friday, you'll earn some major bonus points in your kid's eyes. Sometimes it's difficult to give a kid a full sit-down hour of undivided attention at home. You're busy! But if you head out of the house just for him or her, you're kind of forced to focus on your child, and you'll be glad you did.

#3: Up the Ante with Competition

Racing
Getty Images | Mike Powell

Why It Works: Why are sports games fun? Because of the competition. Everyone wants to know who's going to win. Sure, there's fun in playing, but it isn't half as much fun to shoot hoops by yourself as it is when you're playing against someone else. We have a killer instinct built right in. If your kid is into sports or competition, tap into the competitive streak by upping the ante on studying.

Note: Do not use this strategy with an unmotivated learner. If your kid would never study alone or has issues with bullying, then don't try competition with him or her. He or she could feel threatened and your whole plan could backfire!

How It Works: When your competitive middle-schooler tells you that he or she has a test coming up, warn your kid that you're about to take 'em out in a study session competition, so they'd better be all studied up when the day before the test rolls around. Real prizes are even involved. Throughout the week, be sure to "trash talk" your opponent (sending back-handed reminders to study) about how much you're going to thrash them during the study session. Let them know that he or she will be suffering punishments for incorrect answers (while you laugh) and that you'll be suffering punishments if correct answers are provided (while your kid laughs).

When the study session comes around, show up with grim determination to take your kid out. Decide together what sort of punishments you'll be receiving [push-ups, eating peas, dishes for the week, etc.]. Then, it's game on! Ask your kid the review questions at the end of the chapter or on the study guide. For every wrong answer, they do push-ups (or whatever). For every question they answer correctly, you do the same. At the end of the study session, winner gets a reward [choosing dinner that night, 30 extra minutes of Xbox, etc.] and your kid is ready for the test.

The Payoff: Obviously, your goal is to get your kid to beat you unless you've really got a problem with competition (in which case you should probably be setting up an appointment to see someone about that). Firing up that competitive streak will help with the lack of motivation many middle-schoolers possess. Realizing that he or she will have a chance to beat you at something may just be motivator enough to get him or her to prepare. And who doesn't want to do a few extra push-ups, anyway? Working out while also helping your kid in middle school study? That's just multi-tasking at its finest!

#4: Make Your Study Session Active

Basketball With Dad
Getty Images | Lori Adamski Peek

Why It Works: Just like elementary kids, middle school kids need to MOVE. Many don't get the necessary 60 minutes of physical activity per day as recommended by the CDC, because they are in school, doing homework, etc. Your middle schooler is itching to get hoppin', and kinesthetic learners actually learn best by combining movement with knowledge. Get that giddiness all out of their system with some good old-fashioned physical activity while you study.

How It Works: Tell your kid that you're going to go [shoot hoops, swing the bat, bounce a tennis ball, dance, etc.], and that you're going to ask him or her some questions while you move. So, if your kid has chosen to play basketball, ask your child questions from the study guide, book chapter or vocabulary list while he or she is shooting. He or she can pass the ball to you and you can shoot while your child is answering. Keep track of the questions missed and enforce a penalty shot (granny, behind the back, etc.) for every incorrect answer to keep it fun. If your kid isn't the "active" type, suggest something not too active to start. You can take a walk or roll a ball back and forth sitting down while you're reviewing.

The Payoff: Combining sweat and study is awesome – it kills two birds with one stone! Plus, your child is less likely to get huffy with you if he or she is focusing on catching or swinging along with the content at hand. The mind can only focus on so many things at once!

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