8th Grade Language Arts
· Ask Your Teen's Opinion
Encourage discussion as much as possible in your house. Ask your 8th grader for their opinion about political and social issues, or about books, movies, and TV shows. Listen carefully and prompt him to express their ideas thoughtfully, backing up their claims with evidence. Having dinner together as a family may be harder to do as they get older and there are more demands on their time, but this is one of the best ways to stimulate these kinds of conversations.
· Encourage Keeping a Diary
Give your 8th grader a journal or diary and encourage them to update it regularly. Assure them that their privacy will be respected and that you will not read their journal.
· Suggest Writing Projects
Suggest some writing projects for them that would be of interest to the entire family. Perhaps they could research and write about some aspect of your family’s history, using personal interviews, books, and online information. They could share what they write with other family members.
· Encourage Reading Aloud
Encourage your 8th grader to read aloud to and tell stories to younger siblings.
· Encourage Note-Taking
There is strong evidence that, despite the popularity of highlighters, highlighting or underlining text as we read is not an effective way of learning information. Instead, encourage your child to take notes of key ideas, perhaps on Post-its or colored index cards, as they read. When they have finished a reading assignment your child can compile all the notes and he’ll have a ready-made study guide.
· Discuss The News
Encourage your 8th grader to become a more discerning consumer of news and information. Have an ongoing discussion with them about how you get your news and how you decide which sources to trust. Point out examples of misleading information you see, such as in ads, so that they learn to be skeptical of some sources. Bookmark some Internet sites that you consider to be reliable and that your child can use as reference or information sources.
· Help Develop a Homework Routine
Help your child develop a consistent homework routine. Make sure that they not only review what was covered in school that day but also help them learn how to keep track of long-term assignments and plan ahead. By this age, they should have a system for managing their workload, but continue to help them by asking what they're working on, how they're progressing with long-term assignments, and whether they need any help.
8th Grade Math
· Highlight Math in Sports
Sports provide an engaging way of exploring a host of mathematical concepts. Any hard-core baseball fan knows that the game can’t truly be appreciated without an understanding of some essential statistics, like a player’s batting average and runs batted in. Football is also full of statistics, such as the percentage of passes a quarterback completed. If your child is passionate about a sport, encourage them to explore it through math.
· Use Shopping to Practice Math
Make a habit of asking your 8th grader to help out with the shopping by calculating which items are better buys. For example, is it better to purchase 2 six-packs of 12 oz. cans or two 2-liter bottles that cost the same price? How much do you save per item when something is priced as buy two get one free? This will help develop their facility with these kinds of calculations as well as good long-term shopping habits.
· Seek Out Help from Online Resources
If your 8th grader is struggling with math help them find resources online that may be useful. Sites such as Khan Academy or IXL offer extensive opportunities to review and practice math skills.
· Highlight The Ways Math is Used in Different Careers
Encourage your tween to explore the specific ways in which math is used in different careers. Do doctors use math? Engineers? Bankers? What are they starting to think of as career goals? Help them explore, perhaps by researching online or talking to other adults, what role math plays in the fields they are starting to consider?
· Seek Out Films Featuring Math
Help your child become aware of the many career paths and disciplines that incorporate math, such as engineering or economics or weather forecasting. One way to do this is by watching movies that highlight math and help them understand how math can be put to use in the real world, such as Apollo 13or Jurassic Park.