The Middle School Years
The middle school years are some of the hardest years for kids both socially and academically because they are in that transition stage from child to teen. School gets harder, homework gets more intense and their peers become so important to them. If you have a middle school child heading to classes this fall, here are some back to school tips that will to help to make this year a smooth one.
Make sure you make copies of your student’s class schedules. Not knowing where to go in a new school or a new year can be very nerve-racking. If your student forgets where to go, they may be too embarrassed to ask. Make sure you have a couple of copies on hand and put them in numerous spots in your student’s backpack.
Don’t forget to fill out all of those long forms. One of the things that I remember and still gives me a giant pang of angst are all of the forms and records that need to be filled out every year for the main office. Hopefully, most schools have automated this system by now. If not, make sure you make your own copy and file it away for next year when you have to do it all over again!
A specific homework spot at home provides a disciplined and comfortable space. Creating a homework spot is best at this age because students will find themselves with more work than they may have had last year. It also gives them a place to work with minimal distractions.
Get to know your child’s teachers and friends and stay involved. Many parents think that once their children reach middle school age that they are no longer wanted or needed on the scene at school. This is actually a vital time to be involved. I once had an elementary school teacher tell me that parental involvement and the boundaries that are set during this time are more important than any other time in your child’s educational growth and personal development. Kids at this age are a puzzle to everyone- including themselves. One thing that is certain is that they are still children, and they require guidance, parenting, discipline, boundaries and positive reinforcement. Going on field trips with your child’s class can be a great way to get to know his or her peers and teachers in a non- threatening way and observe the many changing behaviors of your middle schooler.
Explain to your child that what makes them different makes them special. Middle school is largely about conformity. Kids this age don’t want to stand out: They want to dress alike, walk alike and act alike. It may not look like they want to listen you, but by telling them that it’s ok to be unique and not a carbon copy of everyone else, you’re allowing them to explore those dreams they still quietly hold onto. You’re also, in an indirect way, giving them permission to follow their passions and interests- even if their friends don’t think that what they’re into is very cool.