7th Grade Language Arts
· Foster Conversation at Home
Encourage discussion as much as possible. Ask your child for their opinion about political and social issues, or about books, movies, and TV shows. Listen carefully and prompt their 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.
· Use Texting
Several times each week, have your 7th grader text you a full sentence summarizing a theme of something they are currently reading. Ask them to do this in a full sentence and not with texting shorthand.
· Help With Time Management
As your 7th grader's workload and extracurricular interests increase, the way they manage their time will become increasingly important to their academic success. Most kids aren’t naturally good at time management and have to be taught effective strategies. Help their plan ahead and make a schedule of when assignments are due, so that they aren't always racing to complete things at the last minute.
· Help With Study Strategies
Do your best to figure out how your child learns. Have they always been very visual, relying since early childhood on images to help retain concepts? Or does your 7th grader seem to do a better job processing information they have heard? As their schoolwork becomes more difficult, helping them figure out the study techniques that work best for their will be key to their future academic success. These could include preparing flashcards or reading texts aloud to themself.
· Encourage Note-Taking
There is strong evidence that, despite the popularity of highlighters, highlighting or underlining text as we read is not the most effective way of learning information. Encourage your 7th grader to take notes of key ideas, perhaps on Post-its or colored index cards, as your child reads. When they have finished a reading assignment, they can compile all these notes and have a personalized study guide.
· Help Develop a Homework Routine
Help your child develop a consistent homework routine. Make sure that they not only reviews that was covered in school that day but also help them learn how to keep track of long-term assignments and plan ahead.
· Plan an Online Movie Night
With so many popular children’s books having been made into films, there are plenty of opportunities for movie nights that allow your child to practice some of the reading skills she’s learning in school. Plan an evening around watching the film of a book they have read and ask them about the differences between the film and the book. Were key details of the plot changed? Did the characters remain true to the way they were described in the book? Why does your child think these changes were made?
· Have Conversations about Historical Events
Pay attention to upcoming historical anniversaries and try to view several media pieces related to the event. For example, there are many documentaries about the Kennedy assassination and the 9/11 attacks. As you watch these, have a family discussion about the event as well as the various interpretations of its exact sequence, contributing causes, and lasting significance. These conversations will help develop analytical literary skills.
· Encourage Accurate Descriptions
Word precision becomes more important as teens move through middle and high school. Encourage your 7th grader to regularly describe items, locations, and events to you. Identify words that you find vague in these descriptions and ask them to think of better, more descriptive, or more accurate words to express what they are thinking.
· Promote Reliable Online Information
Help your child become a more discerning consumer of online information. Teach them to identify reliable websites by examining where their information comes from, who sponsors them, and how current their content is. Discuss why some sites are more informative and more reliable than others. Take a look together at some sites, such as Snopes or The Straight Dope, that examine online rumors, urban legends, and other stories to see examples of how inaccurate information can become widely accepted.
7th Grade Math
· Think Through New Material Together
As their assignments become more complicated, you might start to feel that your child's math homework is outpacing your comfort level. Continue to review math materials with their before class and to supervise their homework, regardless of your confidence in your own skills. Instead of trying to explain new concepts, have them explain themselves to you. If you are both confused, read the material and do your best to think it through and discuss it together. Go online to sites like Khan Academy, IXL, or XtraMath for extra assistance.
· Highlight Career Options That Require Math
Mastering the math they're studying now will mean more options in the future for college major and career choices, so encourage them to enjoy the challenge of math. Help them become aware of the range of 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 your child understand how math can be put to use in the real world, such as Apollo 13 or Jurassic Park.
· Encourage Persistence
Success in math has a lot to do with taking the time to understand a problem, thinking about different ways of solving it, and persevering if initial attempts to solve it fail. Encourage your 7th grader to stick it out with math that they find challenging and to seek help if your child needs it.
· Foster Effective Study Strategies
Help your 7th grader learn how to study effectively for math tests. This means working through problems, not just reading through them or skimming the review sheet. The more problems they practice, the more they will internalize the various components. This increases speed and understanding so your child can be better prepared to adjust the steps when required.
· Encourage Savvy Spending
Shopping continues to be one of the best opportunities for your child to practice the math concepts they are learning. They can practice percentages and subtraction by calculating the exact amount you’ll save when something goes on sale and the final cost of discounted items. Have their help you calculate the tip when you eat in a restaurant. If they have a cell phone, familiarize them with the details of the cell phone bill and how much the charge is per text or per minute of usage, so that they can learn to keep track of how much they are spending.
· Discuss The News
As you watch the news together keep track of how often statistics are cited. Discuss the details of any polls that are mentioned. Talk about how these concepts are being used and the points they are being used to support or refute.
If your school is holding a raffle, discuss the details with your child. Have their find out how many tickets will be sold and how many prizes will be awarded. Then have them determine your probability of winning if you buy a ticket -- or 10 or 20.
· Do Home Improvement Projects Together
Involve your 7th grader in big projects at home. They're building math skills that can be put to practical use, and by having them help out you reinforce what they're learning. If you’re wallpapering or carpeting, for example, have them calculate wall or floor areas and figure out the total cost of various materials.
· Encourage Math Appreciation Through 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.
· Play Games
Play family games that help foster math skills. These include card games like Go Fish, which requires counting and sorting cards into sets, or board games like Monopoly.