There is no avoiding the fact that in our society we expect our children to be in school at least until they attain a high school education. Of course implicit in this dictum is the idea that these children are actually gaining knowledge for the time and effort expended which is not a foregone conclusion. There is a science to approaching study skills for middle school students that can last throughout their academic careers.
The art of studying has some prerequisites that can not be ignored. Children must have a safe and stable arena for learning to take place. Children who are under duress, poorly nourished or are fearful for their security are at a tremendous disadvantage. Human beings have a hierarchy of needs and satisfying the most basic needs must happen before higher learning has any chance.
While this necessity to clear the mind and prepare to study has always been around, it is more challenging now than ever. Adults are quick to point to television, streaming video, social networking and other electronic distractions but it is not always frivolous entertainment that gets int he way. We have become so addicted to connection that parents themselves form a serious distracting force to the student trying to learn.
The actual approach to the discipline of learning begins innocuously with an understanding of what the assignment entails. One must know what section of reading books for 4th graders material is the focus of the current period of study. No one can assimilate all the knowledge of the world at once, so a bite size approach is important.
It is also important to organize the material, lecture notes and other medium so they can be assessed in turn. Random interaction with the various means of getting the information from the classroom makes it difficult to assimilate. A reasoned approach, unique to each student, will allow the individual to acquire knowledge in the manner most comfortable to their natural approach to learning.
One of the least used methods to help ourselves learn is the process of repetition. We simply feel that we do not have the time to repeat the material to ourselves. This works against our most basic method of learning; as babies we learned everything through repetition. Though by junior high school we feel that we are much older, the process of learning is the same, and significantly enhanced through repeating important material.
In the end, our brains continue to develop throughout our life. Moving from elementary education to what is often called junior high school marks a step into more complex issues, and is the perfect time to develop our lifelong approach to the acquisition of new information. Study skills for middle school, when approached seriously, lay the groundwork for a lifetime of learning.