When my son was starting Middle School, there were a few nerves in our home. My husband teaches at the school he attends, so he was very familiar with the layout of the school and knew some of the teachers. He was mostly nervous about getting his locker combination solved quickly and making it to class on time.
I was nervous because of all of the transition that was about to happen. My husband had filled us both in on the increased expectations, and we worked on some strategies to make sure his assignments were completed on time.
Here are a few helpful hints that might make the transition to Middle School a little easier.
Find out when or if the school sends out informative emails.
Our school sends emails every Sunday afternoon at 4 pm. I know that any upcoming school or district wide information will be sent out at that time and I can hopefully stay on top of anything I might need to know such as state testing, spirit weeks, or other such information.
Establish a homework routine.
My son struggled a bit to remember if he had homework in his classes. He would often forget when he had not finished in-class assignments, and when we would ask if he had homework, he immediately responded that he didn’t. When he was laying in bed thinking through his day, he would remember he had it and it would become a problem. We decided to get a plastic folder and have him place daily work in it to bring home to complete. We prefer to have him work on homework immediately after school so he can enjoy his evenings, but some kids need a break first. When he lets us know that he really needs a break prior to homework, his second option is to complete it right after dinner.
Ask about each class separately.
When I ask how his classes are going, my son usually says fine. In order to tease out a little more information from him, I’ve started asking about each class separately. He has told me he finds it a bit annoying, but unless I break down his daily schedule and ask about each class, he doesn’t feel the need to share about what is going on. I love hearing about his keyboarding contests and what they’re studying in Science, but he often keeps it to himself without prompts to hear more.
Determine if your school has an app or way to check their assignments online.
Our school uses Power School to track grades and when assignments are due. It is helpful as a conversation starter so that I can be aware about what assignments are coming up. It’s also helpful to track whether some assignments haven’t been turned in or if the student is struggling and teachers need to be contacted.
Familiarize yourself with Google Classroom.
Determine if your district uses Google Classroom. All assignments are posted there along with study guides and any links the teacher uses in class. Parents can sign up for email notifications for assignment due dates and if they have been turned in.
Give yourself and your kid grace.
It’s a learning process to learn a whole new school, navigate new and changing friendships, switch classrooms every hour, understand new processes and teachers, and juggle all of this while hormones are raging.
We’ve definitely had challenges as the year has progressed, but open communication with teachers and within our family has helped keep us on track!