Perhaps one of the biggest academic transitions is during the middle school and high school year. New teachers, more responsibility, a faster pace, and rigorous coursework can be stressful for students. Anticipating all of these new social and academic changes could cause a bit of stress in anyone, let alone teens who now have the pressure of social media too. So what’s the best way to survive this stress-inducing time?
The biggest challenges many teens face in the transition to high school are adjusting to the heavier workload and the faster pace in daily school activities/classes. More classes in high school mean more homework. Whereas middle school might have meant you were spending an hour or two on take-home work each night, high school can mean double the time.
Add extracurricular activities (like sports, music, clubs, or student government), social commitments, and a few other things that are important – like eating, sleeping, and showering, for example – and the day may never seem long enough. This faster pace of life can get overwhelming, quickly. The best practice is to determine which time management methods work best for your child. Windermere Preps’ Middle School strives to teach the students these skills in hopes the transition will be easier.
There are several ways to benefit your high student. Get a proper daily planner, one that has lots of room (and we mean lots) for all the things they need to do every calendar day. But it should also come with a monthly-view option, too.
Have them use it to write down important notes and try to keep things organized as well. During their first week of high school, keep their course schedule handy so they can avoid getting lost or coming late. They can take a picture with their phone and put a few copies in their backpack so they aren’t scrambling to figure out where to go after the gym.
Work on scheduling daily activities prior to the start of school. If they are planning on joining a team, together you can research everything about it before the first day. If you’re concerned that band practice might coincide with another important commitment, try to figure that out before school starts.
If your child has been involved with piano for several years and you aren’t sure if they’ll have time for it in high school, have them think seriously about the matter over the last few weeks of summer. While you may not want them to give up something they really enjoy or find value in, it is important that your student has a good balance between academics and extracurricular activities.
The summer is a great time for you and your student to prepare prior to the first day of high school Many students who struggle in their freshman year of high school simply weren’t prepared for high school’s rigorous academic demands. New schedules, more demanding teachers, and less time to get everything done can mean many students will simply give up—not for lack of trying, but because they didn’t expect the work to be so grueling. Taking a summer course or being otherwise connected to academics to some degree can help make the transition even a little bit easier at Windermere Prep’s Introduction to 9th Grade allows students to be prepared.
If you know anyone at the high school you’re going to be enrolling in, then summer is the time to talk to them. Ask rising sophomores for their advice on ninth-grade teachers and classes. Usually, students who just finished an entire year with a teacher have tips on how best to succeed in that class.
If your child feels completely out of place when they start high school, don’t fret. Beginnings are always rough. It might take a few months for them to feel connected, to feel like they belong. For many, the ninth grade can be challenging, while the tenth and eleventh grades come much easier. Remind your student, they are not alone as others are experiencing the same feelings. Just be sure to be available to support and listen when they need to talk. Have a strong support system will solidify an easier transition.