Preparing your Upcoming Freshman

The transition from Middle School to High School can be a tantalizing adjustment for your child, just as it most likely was for their parent.

Even the most confident of 8th graders spends his or her summer with that seemingly insignificant discomfort that exponentially grows in magnitude as the new semester approaches.

That being said, most students are more than prepared for the intellectual trials High School will throw at them and will succeed.  All that is lacking in your child is the maturity to properly apply and organize themselves, and as the parent it shall be your job to help ease along the lethargic journey of maturity.

Now that they have a general sense of direction, most parents will take it upon their own maternal/paternal instincts to prepare their child for his/her future.  In reality, this is where most of the wrong turns are taken. 

Parents will attempt to force their child to complete their assignments or to study for that upcoming exam, but this should be avoided UNLESS it is entirely necessary for your child’s academic growth.  This will only feed their natural contempt for you as an authority figure, and it is much more efficient to try and teach your child the value of the knowledge that is being offered to them.  Try and explain to them that although a substantial amount of their learning in High School will be in a confined classroom and definite, there is still much to learn on their own.

Encourage them to locate and identify which of their classes interest them the most; fuel this interest and encourage higher level learning in these subjects.  While we all wish this was as easily said as done, keep in mind you’re currently dealing with a Freshman, the most immature and primitive of all High School Students.  Many of your own children will do all they can to resist their teachers and the work they assign, and you have to admire the aggression and natural distaste for authority that your little person has developed some where between the uterus and your local “Generic High School.”  One must remind your child that their actions are only hurting themselves, and if the teacher shares the same disdain that their students do, then they are helping their mortal enemy.  There are many creative ways to pit your child against their teacher in a battle for their own success, but this can lead to problems both academic and behavioral that should be avoided.

More tactfully, teach your child to become as independent from the teacher as possible, and to forge their own path in their studies.  The idea of any independence will excite and motivate any High School Student.  While this may sound a lot like, “Do what you want” to your child, make sure they understand that while they can pursue learning on their own accord, the teacher still does the grading and the assigning.  Stress the importance of completing every available assignment with full effort.

Why stress the consumption of knowledge?  The answer may seem quite clear-cut, but many students are taught to “get the grade and go” by their parents.  Aside from being a waste of time and mental space, the “getting the grade” approach encourages laziness.

One is much better off encouraging learning because with learning comes interest, with interest comes the natural ability to learn, and the natural ability to learn grows into a natural ability to study.

With that natural progression comes academic success.

But, if there is but one thing to stress in your child’s future, advocate learning above all else and to accumulate as much as they can about everything in and out of the classroom because High School offers a copious amount of  knowledge in places you would least expect it.