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Do you feel unprepared for parenting during the middle school years?

Gain wisdom from trusted experts in the fields of psychology, leadership and development, and faith in our Middle School Parent Resource Guide.

You’ll walk away understanding the differences between how you were raised and what your child is going through.

You will also be equipped with tools to deal with real-life issues related to your child’s friends, social activities, emotional challenges, and faith questions.

Your child isn’t a child anymore – that’s great news! (It means he or she is right on track developmentally.) He or she isn’t an adult yet either, though, so how do you navigate the pre-teen and early teen years? We will help you answer the following questions.

How do you:

middle school parenting

How do I teach my child decision-making skills based on strong family connections and clear values? 

Helping students discover what they believe and why they believe it – through intentional discipleship – gives them a strong foundation for decision-making. You can strengthen those decision-making abilities at home by:

  • Asking your teen open-ended questions related to what he or she is learning in discipleship. 
  • Communicating regularly with your teen’s teachers, who are talking daily with your student about who he or she is, how he or she is wired, and how that relates to the plan God has for his or her life – not someday but now.
  • Understanding that the bulk of your teen’s brain development during the pre-teen years is the prefrontal cortex (commonly called the decision-making zone). So this ability to make sound decisions isn’t fully developed until your teen reaches the age of about 25.
  • Giving him or her the opportunity to take risks in a safe environment, to fail, and to receive grace and love in humility helps your teen discover that developing sound decision-making skills is a priority that’s shaped over time – not something to be checked off a list. No one gets it right all the time, and it’s a skill they can grow into as they get older.

You have a powerful impact – helping your student think about decisions and loving her or him through the process, regardless of the outcome.

How we can help:

Learnwell’s core value of educational excellence means we want your child to understand how he learns best and use that knowledge to impact the world around him. 

  • Our teachers use a student-centered approach to help middle schoolers develop critical thinking skills. It’s based on Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Project Zero Thinking Routines. (We believe that metacognition – thinking about how you think – really is a learned skill.)
  • Learnwell teachers help students think about how they think. As students move through their middle school years, teachers will also intentionally give them opportunities to take responsibility for their actions and even to fail when necessary. Failure is a unique learning opportunity that can’t be duplicated or side-stepped. 
goals for student

How do I encourage my teen’s confidence and identity?

Middle schoolers crave a place to belong, yet they’re in a developmental phase that can be awkward and difficult.

As they grow in confidence, they also grow in self-esteem, knowing their worth; resilience, recovering well from setbacks; and self-compassion, showing kindness to themselves rather than expecting perfection. 

How we can help:

We are a Christian school. Our teachers and staff share faith in Christ and value deep faith exploration. Learnwell teachers and staff weave practical faith exploration and application into what students are learning. These conversations begin in discipleship class, but they continue in book discussions and everyday conversations at lunch or in the library.

  • Your students will hear repeatedly that they are made by a God who loves them and who has a purpose for them.
  • Learning how to think critically about what students believe and why they believe it – and how it impacts their everyday lifestyle – is crucial to their formation of identity and self-esteem. Middle schoolers attend discipleship class each week to help them see where their faith intersects real life. 
  • The partnership that Learnwell offers between parents and teachers means you will know what your teen is learning in discipleship and be able to resource him or her more at home.
  • Learnwell’s partnership model equips you to walk alongside your student as he explores his or her faith and life skills development.
  • We also offer opportunities for your teen to explore what their impact is on others through service. That may look like reading a book to the kindergarten class or serving with classmates in the local community.
  • Our teachers and staff come alongside students to help them learn how they’re wired and what they have to offer others. This helps students develop a strong sense of self so they can overcome life’s challenges.

How do I help my child socially and in friendships?

Helping him or her navigate relationship difficulties by listening, asking questions, and modeling responsiveness over reactiveness is a huge step in the learning process.

At this age, teens still need help when they encounter conflict or miscommunication. As we teach our teens to listen so that they can understand; to ask relevant questions; and to practice empathy for others, they’ll be equipped to overcome relational hurdles such as jealousy and anger. 

Remember: It’s normal for middle schoolers to pull away from family and gravitate toward peers. 

How we can help:

Authentic community, where our students and their families can be real with one another, is something our school encourages and tries to facilitate regularly.

  • Learnwell offers an important part of that peer connection through special, middle-school only connection points throughout the school year. Each month, students can gather an extra day of the week to work on assignments and catch up with each other. 
  • Middle school students also have the opportunity to stay late after school periodically just to deepen their social connections. These opportunities are monitored by trained staff and parent volunteers – so your students are safe while they develop important socio-emotional, communication skills.
  • Middle school-only events are also geared toward healthy friendship development – giving teens a place to be themselves among a trusted peer group.

How do I equip my teen with tools for better mental health?

It’s not always easy to catch a mental health concern in a teenager. Did you know that in middle school, aggression, anger and perfectionism can be a sign of depression, fear, and anxiety? Students today are having trouble rising above failure, comparing themselves to others, and feeling hopeless. Mental health is a very real concern, even for close-knit families who have no history of mental illness. 

One way to combat mental health challenges is by allowing more margin in a student’s life. Encouraging your teen to have free time, and choosing a less-regimented schedule during his or her at-home days, provides the margin that contributes to better mental health. 

How we can help:

The Learnwell model was birthed on the foundation that mental health is too often overlooked in a traditional school model. 

  • This is primarily why we offer so many breaks in our school calendar. We want students to know that taking a break from school is not just normal but encouraged. 
  • Learnwell offers five breaks during the school year.
  • Your child is growing up, but it doesn’t mean his schedule should be packed like that of an adult who works full-time.
  • Our Learnwell model allows students to have free time, explore non-academic interests, and take extended breaks to be with family and friends. 
  • Teachers and staff regularly communicate, plan for, and operate from our core value of intentional margin.

Are you happy with your child’s education? Middle Schoolers at Learnwell Collective attend a unique hybrid school in the Alpharetta/Cumming area. Students go to in-person classes two days a week and are home three days a week. It is the best of both worlds: school and home! 

Attend a Discover Learnwell event to determine if a hybrid school is the right solution for your middle schooler.

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