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Elementary school age is a time of great experimentation in many subjects. However, by middle school, your child should have started to develop special interests or talents, and a uniquely recognizable learning style.
Now's the time to spend more concentrated time in those areas that are of special interest, letting some of the less favorite extra-curricular subjects wane. For instance, if your middle school student is a talented musician, tailor some writing and research assignments to those areas, study the lives of past composers, and go to see concerts.