Thursday, August 11, 2011

Back to School Countdown #14: Transition to Middle School

Studies show that children whose families take an interest in their education earn higher grades and test scores, miss fewer days of school, complete more homework, behave better and enjoy school more, and are more likely to graduate and go to college. 

Advancing from elementary school to middle school for a teen is hard! Everything is drastically different: scholastically, socially and even structurally. On average, grades plunge during their first year. Most eventually adapt and succeed. Some fall into a rut and never get back out. Parents must first understand how different this new environment and their child’s new demands to help them. Compared to elementary school, middle school offers fewer opportunities for decision making and classroom discussion, with more repetitious learning. Grades are more important so teens learn who is an A or C student. The biggest difference is the increase in homework which takes a couple more hours to complete.  So new middle schoolers have their adaptability, self-motivation and concentration put to the test.
They have to adapt to many teachers on every subject with different teaching styles, personalities and organizational demands. They must also quickly transition from one subject to another cognitively in a few minutes. 
Self Motivation
In middle school, students are expected to take more responsibility for themselves including hw, a locker, and extracurricular activities. Now academic success greatly depends on his/her inner desire.
Teenagers must handle these new demands in an environment with many distractions. Each class fills up with a different set of students. The possibilities of new friendships and rejection greatly increase. Just finding their way through the hallways can be overwhelming at first. 
How have you helped your teens transition to middle school? Share your advice and comments!

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