The homework gets REAL in middle school!
In the earlier grades, it seems like it was more going-through-the-motions sometimes. Most of the learning happened in the classroom.
But our middle school teachers don’t mess around with homework.
That is why I am super excited about a new set of resource books from our sponsor, Workman Publishing. They publish The Big Fat Notebook Series! It is a group of “notes” that cover the important topics of each lesson for Science, World History, American History, English Language Arts and Math.
But not in the dry, overly-wordy textbook way!
The Big Fat Notebook lessons are presented in short, understandable snippets with illustrations in a fun and colorful layout. To see some examples, keep reading for a series of 4 free printables that can help middle school students study…they are below!
One of the things that has been helpful for homework success is to set up study spaces that work for my boys. I have two kids in middle school right now. The interesting thing is that their study spaces are VERY different.
But each of them has a home base for studying:
The Middle School Study Shelf
Each boy has a school shelf.
The school shelf holds their textbooks, study resources and additional school supplies.
In an effort to keep their backpacks lighter, some of their textbooks stay at home and live on this shelf. This also gives them a place to empty out their backpack occasionally to get organized.
Study resources like a dictionary, thesaurus and their Big Fat Notebook set can also be found on the shelf. They use the Big Fat Notebook series to breakdown more complicated lessons or to learn background stories to help them remember dates and facts.
School supplies that are used less frequently are on the shelf too. Things like 3×5 cards, calculators, rulers, graph paper, extra notebook paper, empty spiral notebooks and protractors.
The school shelf is the place everything gets put away. If I find a lost book or a wayward assignment, it gets added to that kid’s shelf.
Personalizing a Tween Study Space
At first I set up specific study areas, but found that in my house there is no one-size-fits-all solution. The study shelves are set up similarly, but beyond that there is a large variation.
My oldest who is a sophomore in high school has always worked on the dining room table for homework. We tried a desk and it just didn’t last long! I think he likes the ability to spread out and since our dining room table isn’t used daily, he can leave a project set out overnight.
My middle son can’t sit still. He keeps everything on the school shelf and then grabs what he needs and heads to the couch, the backyard picnic table or the kitchen counter.
He seems to be always on the move. His grades are good and it seems to be helpful for his concentration to not always be in the same space.
My youngest sets up a folding table in the living room. Our dog, Panda, seems to like this situation as well! The two of them study together with supplies, books and resources spread out. When homework is done, he packs his backpack from the table, puts things back on the shelf and then folds up his study table and puts it away in the laundry room.
Temporary Homework Spaces Work
Our current house has space for permanent homework stations, but my kids just aren’t suited to that. They would rather be in the main areas of the house where their dad and are are working from home. So instead of desks in their room or workspace in the upstairs hallway, we have opted for using the kitchen, dining room, backyard and folding tables along with chairs, couches and the living room floor (which is the best place to spread out flashcards).
I like that it teaches them to put everything away once their homework is completed. The bonus is that each can choose a study place that fits them.
Additional Study Resources
We have really enjoyed using the Big Fat Notebook series for homework help. The pages are fun to read and packed with additional information your student can easily grasp.
Everything You Need to Ace Math . . . covers everything to get you over any math hump: fractions, decimals, and how to multiply and divide them; ratios, proportions, and percentages; geometry; statistics and probability; expressions and equations; and the coordinate plane and functions.
Everything You Need to Ace Science . . . takes readers from scientific investigation and the engineering design process to the Periodic Table; forces and motion; forms of energy; outer space and the solar system; to earth sciences, biology, body systems, ecology, and more.
Everything You Need to Ace American History . . . covers Native Americans to the war in Iraq. There are units on Colonial America; the Revolutionary War and the founding of a new nation; Jefferson and the expansion west; the Civil War and Reconstruction; and all of the notable events of the 20th century—World Wars, the Depression, the Civil Rights movement, and much more.
Everything You Need to Ace World History . . . kicks off with the Paleolithic Era and transports the reader to ancient civilizations—in Egypt, Greece, India, China, Africa, Rome; the middle ages across the world; the Renaissance; the age of exploration and colonialization, revolution and imperialism, and the modern world and the wars and movements that shaped it.
Everything You Need to Ace English Language Arts . . . covers everything to get you your best marks: grammar, including parts of speech, active and passive verbs, Greek and Latin roots and affixes; nuances in word meanings; textual analysis, authorship, structure, and other skills for reading fiction and nonfiction; and writing arguments, informative texts, and narratives.
Your kids will have so much fun flipping through these books that they won’t even realize how knowledge is sneaking in!
Free Printable Middle School Study Sheets Courtesy of Big Fat Notebooks…Yay!
I love a good printable!
Here are a few provided by Big Fat Notebooks that you can download and use with your student.
Download & print: How to Take Great Notes
Download & print: Ancient Egypt Timeline
Download & print: Displaying Data
Download & print: Thinking Like a Scientist
ps… Ready to organize the entire house? We LOVE this declutter course! It’s perfect for busy families!