Transitioning to middle school is one of the hardest most students will face. Moving into elementary school is like transitioning to a whole new world. Unfortunately, many parents don’t understand what their students will be facing as they move into those critical middle school years. Do you know how to get your child ready for middle school? Consider these common challenges when children are transitioning to middle school and how you can help your child better prepare.
Challenge #1: Your child will have 6-8 teachers, rather than one primary teacher.
Instead of having one teacher who is responsible for organizing most of their day, your child will bounce from one classroom to another, spending only an hour or so with each teacher before moving to the next classroom. This means that teachers will have less of an opportunity to develop a relationship with your child–and it also means that your child will need to be more responsible on their own, rather than relying on a teacher to take care of organizing everything.
Preparing your child: Walk through your child’s day with them ahead of time. Make sure they understand their schedule and what will be required for each classroom. If possible, give your child a chance to meet their teachers before the big day. Ideally, you want your child to have a chance to get to know the building and the expectations so that they aren’t blindsided when middle school begins.
Challenge #2: Homework
In elementary school, your child probably had comparatively little homework every evening: reading a book, finishing off a couple of math problems, or working on handwriting, perhaps. Most of the time, you probably spent no more than 20-30 minutes on homework each evening.
Middle school brings with it a big change on the homework front. Many middle school students come home with homework in every class, including projects with strict deadlines that need to be dealt with sooner rather than later. At the same time, many middle school students also have increasing demands on their time as they pour more energy into sports and other extracurricular activities.
Preparing your child: Make sure that your child has basic study skills, including time management skills. Set aside a specific space for homework–and make sure that you leave time for homework in your schedule. Let your child know that their academic performance is a priority and that you won’t be sending them to school without homework completed, even when it’s difficult. When needed, work on homework with your child to help make them more comfortable or to assist with difficult problems.
Challenge #3: Your child will have to take care of the organization on their own.
In many elementary school classrooms, the teacher takes care of everything. Students come home with brightly colored folders filled with neatly organized work, all ready for parents to look over. When your child reaches middle school, all of that changes. Suddenly, they’re expected to be responsible for themselves–and that can be a real challenge, especially with an increased number of classes to keep up with and expectations rising all the time.
Preparing your child: Take the time to teach basic organization skills. Buy your child a planner, if the school doesn’t provide one. Talk about managing time together. Teach your child how to organize their materials and papers–and make sure they have the supplies they need to do so.
Challenge #4: Puberty
During the middle school years, your child will likely enter puberty–and that brings with it a host of physical and emotional changes. As hormones rage out of control, your child may experience mood swings or struggle to control her emotions.
Preparing your child: Make sure your child understands what’s coming with regards to the physical changes in their body. While you may not be able to prevent the moodiness, you can be sure your child knows what to expect. Prepare them for acne, periods, and the other changes that come along with puberty–and make sure your child has the right supplies, from face washes to pads, to deal with those changes.
At The Tenney School, we endeavor to make transitioning to middle school as smooth as possible for your child. Contact us today to learn more about how our programs can help your child excel.