Transitioning to a dual credit program for high school isn’t difficult and there are a few steps you can take during the middle school years to ensure that your child is ready for college-level work.
Here are some tips for preparing your 8th grader for dual credit studies.
Encourage Independent Study
Many dual credit programs, including Dual Credit at Home, help students develop the lifelong skill of learning independently.
Dual Credit at Home includes a detailed schedule and Study Plans for learning general education college requirements, but students can also study at their own pace.
To make the transition to dual credit easier, you can start encouraging your 8th grader to study and learn with less guidance from you.
One way to do this is to give them a week’s worth of assignments on Monday with a Friday due date, and let them decide how and when they will complete the assignments before the deadline. Of course, you’ll be keeping an eye on them and encouraging them toward wise time management. The topic of device usage will likely come up more than once, so have a plan in place that you’ve worked out together.
Pay Special Attention to Writing and Critical Thinking
No matter what subject your student is studying, when they start doing college-level work, there will be a strong emphasis on critical thinking.
In middle school, students spend significant time on grammar, as well as paragraph and sentence structure. During the high school years, it’s wise for us to expect them to be more analytical in their writing – such as asking them to argue a point and provide proof of their position.
Prepare your 8th grader to think, read, and write more critically.
Start by engaging in deeper discussions with them about topics they are studying. Instead of requesting a summary of what they have learned, ask for their opinions and proof to back up their reasoning. Let them know you enjoy hearing their viewpoint! Of course, you have to be ready with proof to back up your reasoning as well.
Teach Study Skills
Some dual credit programs, including Dual Credit at Home, involve passing college exams to earn college credits. Students take in and process college-level information for each subject, and without proper study skills, it can be overwhelming.
There is more to studying than simply reading a chapter. Teach your student to summarize readings, take notes, and highlight important points.
Creating flashcards from their readings will also help them learn the material. It is also important to teach time management skills, so your 8th grader learns to avoid procrastination.
It is not too early to start preparing your 8th grader for dual credit and college. Encourage them to learn independently, study smart, and think critically, and they will be ready for high school, dual credit, and the next steps in their education.
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