When your child has completed grade school successfully and is on his or her way to middle school, they may be experiencing a variety of feelings. They may very well be both excited and anxious, nervous and happy, and almost anything else along the emotional spectrum. This is a whole new period of life for the young person and there are going to be many changes coming their way. One thing that you, as a parent, can do to help ensure that your child has the most success possible as they move up to middle school, is to prepare them for what they should expect at this stage of their academic career. The following are some of the changes that your child should be aware of as they head off to middle school.
One of the biggest things that will change from elementary school to middle school is that the kids will no longer have just one teacher and one classroom for the majority of their days. In middle school, students will be going from one classroom to another during the schoolday. This can make many kids very nervous, not knowing whether they will be able to find the classes or remember which ones to go to at what time of the day. Assure your son or daughter that they will have a schedule printed out which can be carried with them. You may want to take a tour of the school with your child, as well, so that he or she can become familiar with the layout of the school and where his or her classes will be held.
Middle school is like a training ground for high school and as such, there will be greater expectations being placed on the students than there were in grade school. One of the things that you and your child will probably notice is that there will be more homework and less leniency when it is not turned in in a timely manner. Middle school is an important time to begin refining those study skills that were started in grade school, making them more solid and stressing the importance of following a good study pattern.
Peer pressure is a huge problem for many students, especially those who are most susceptible to being a follower, rather than a leader. As a parent, help your child to develop techniques for dealing with peer pressure and take some time to talk with them about the kinds of pressures and temptations that they will be encountering. Although there were probably pressures in grade school, middle school is a bigger pond, so to speak, with different pressures and more of them. Allow your child to talk honestly with you about the pressures that they are feeling and listen carefully to what they are telling you. Don’t jump in with interruptions immediately or you will shut down the communication, possibly before the child gets down to what they are really wanting to talk with you about.
More extracurricular opportunities
Although there are many things about entering middle school that are nerve-wracking and can make the student feel unsure, there are some really great things about these grades, as well. One of these is that there are many opportunities for the students to get involved in extracurricular activities. There is something for almost everyone in most middle schools, from the yearbook committee to the football team, and tons of things in between. Getting involved in some of these activities is a great way to meet new friends and it looks good on college applications, as well.
When kids go to middle school, they are going to have the chance to meet many new people. In most communities, there are several elementary schools and only one or two middle schools, where all of the elementary school students come together to begin this new phase of their lives. A student who wants to “re-invent” his or herself has a great chance to do that when middle school begins.
Starting middle school can be a bit of a stressful time for students as they wonder what to expect. By talking over the above things with your son or daughter, you are going to give them a chance to feel more equipped to begin these years of their academic careers. They will feel more confident and secure that they know what to expect when they start off and this can be a great burden lifted off of their shoulders.