Middle School Transition
Transitioning to middle school is difficult for many children. Students often move from a small elementary school to a large middle school, from one teacher per day to seven, and from thirty classmates to two hundred. They also have an increased amount of homework and conflicting teacher expectations.
Students with learning disabilities have particular challenges in middle school. Some adolescents overcome early reading decoding problems but later have residual problems with reading speed. Rapid reading, effective note taking, time management and long-term planning are critical skills in middle school. Adolescents with organizational problems and poor study skills often have increasing difficulty during middle school.
Study patterns established in middle school often persist through the high school years, so it is critical to teach these skills early. The work during middle school is often more challenging with increased expectations of quantity and quality. There are more long-term projects, and students are expected to be responsible for their own work. For a variety of reasons, parents are less involved in middle school as well. Finally, middle school brings challenges associated with dating, alcohol and drugs.
- Talk to your child about the transitions ahead.
- Visit the school, meet the teachers and make sure your child meets the teachers.
- Attend Back-to-School Night to meet each teacher and receive a course overview.
- Read all materials the school sends home and make an extra photocopy.
- Make sure your child reads all materials and studies the school map.
- Avoid pressuring your child to perform better right at the beginning.
- Use homework hotlines and the school’s internet site.
- Buy a copy of each textbook for home.
- Hire private tutors or homework buddies to keep your child organized.
- Stay involved in the school.
- Instill hope in your child’s continued success.
- Select a point person at school if your child has anxiety or other emotional problems.
- Talk to your child about sex and drugs.
- Encourage your child to invite new friends over and feed them well.
- Listen to conversations while chauffeuring friends and resist the urge to comment.