In my other child's private school, the advisor is a great system. It's one of your child's teachers. If you think your child is developing a social or academic problem, you raise the issue with your child's advisor. This is marvelous, because it provides a listener for the parent, who may very well have a legitimate complaint about the other teacher. Let's say, a child feels that the homework is assigned, but not collected, by a new teacher. The child's advisor can speak with the new teacher, encouraging him to collect the homework. The parent is not left in the position of having to complain either to the teacher, or to the principal, neither good options. As a parent, I don't want to make a stink about a small problem. In the public school, though, I've seen small problems balloon into huge problems, because there are no avenues for parents to provide rational feedback on their child's academic experience.
Hogwarts has "mentor group," which is similar -- although they don't seem to invite parents to talk to mentors, particularly.
C's mentor keeps track of the kids' grades and intervenes if grades start to slip. She also is a bear (that's a good thing) on the issue of kids using their planners. She checks their planners every day to see if they've written down their assignments; if they haven't, she has them do so.
She is building a habit. She isn't just haranguing the kids on the importance of being organized (which is what public schools do & what I've often done myself), she is teaching them how to be organized, and she is giving them practice each and every day until using the planner becomes automatic.
We have only recently realized our job as parents isn't just to produce a "good kid" and a good student, our job is also to build good habits. In the past couple of years, as C. has gotten older and more responsible, Ed and I have both taken to scolding him about his messy ways. We find his stuff all over the house, we get mad, we remonstrate.
That's not the way to do it.
We need to set a time each and every day when we have him do a quick clean-up of his room and his desk, and we need to keep doing this until it becomes second nature for C. to do a quick clean-up of his room and his desk.
Speaking of building habits, a commenter recommended Glenn Latham's The Power of Positive Parenting awhile back. I've only dipped into it, and don't know what he has to say on the subject of teaching kids to clean up their rooms and use their planners, but it is a fantastic book.
middle school advisory