Preparing Your Child for High School
The greatest gifts you can give your children are the roots of
responsibility and the wings of independence. – Denis Waitley
Wow! The big transition from middle school to high school is about to occur. Many questions race through our minds as we prepare our youth for life in the “Big World” of high school: “What classes should my child take? Will my child be successful in high school? Who do we contact? What support systems are in place at the high school?” To prepare your child for high school, the following suggestions are offered:
The preparation for high school should begin in the 8th grade. During 8th grade students need to take courses relevant towards meeting highs school and career goals. Because the courses in high school prepare our teenagers for college and/or career aspirations, relevant courses to meet those needs should be taken beginning in middle school. For example, if your student wishes to meet requirements to attend the university, he/she will need to take honors and advanced placement courses in high school. Therefore, during 8th grade your student needs to obtain higher academic marks, which will prepare him/her for the demands of honors English, a foreign language, and higher levels of math and science courses, which begin in the 9th grade and continue throughout the four years of high school.
The next step to take at the end of the 8th grade year is to visit the high school, meet your child’s new counselor, and set up a time with the counselor to meet and plan your child’s four-year high school academic planthe courses necessary to meet your child’s academic needs. During this time, you and your child can get acquainted with the counselor; you and your child can also become acclimated to the new school. Also, during this visit explore extracurricular opportunities for your child to stay socially active while in high school. If possible, plan on your student attending a summer school course, which will allow him/her to become familiar with the new school, the students, and the area without feeling overwhelmed with a full course load and the entire student body on campus. This early exposure to high school courses and instructors typically assists students in being more successful during the regular school year.
Most of the high schools in the United States have a freshman transition program in place, which assists incoming 9th graders in the conversion from middle to high school. When the mentor program contacts you and your child, via phone, email, and/or through postal mail, make sure to respond and have your child participate in the freshman transition program’s events. Usually the program will have an orientation day housed at the high school. During this time, 11th and 12th grade mentors will show the students around the school, help them check out their textbooks from the library, and give the students a copy of their courses. The students will also have many opportunities during orientation to meet other incoming freshman and make new friendships. This allows students to release much of the angst they are feeling about entering high school.
To further prepare your student for high school, seek out friends, relatives, and colleagues who may have a child within the high school. Ask the student who is already attending high school questions, advice, and tips, which your child may have of concern.
Continually stay involved with your child during the transition phase from middle to high school and throughout your child’s last four years in K-12 education. The most successful students are the students who have support and guidance. Therefore, start early to assist your child in preparing for high school, meet your child’s high school counselor, and help your child in becoming active within high school activities. More importantly, at all times, be there for your child and offer continual support.