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Tips for helping a child prepare for their first year of middle school - Page 2

post #21 of 36

Glad to hear middle school is going well for your daughter.

 

I've been following this thread as my son also started middle school this year. He's in his third week and I'm amazed at how well it's going. We do need to tweak some of his classes and move him to advanced classes, but I knew that would happen. He wanted to opt out of the advanced classes as he's been in a gifted school since 2nd and had a healthy dose of impostor syndrome so I let him try the non advanced classes. Predictably we need to do some adjusting now that school has started. But he's doing great. I really worried because all his friends from elementary were in the advanced classes he choose not to take. But he's doing well in his classes, keeping organized and on top of assignments, and making friends left and right. Plus he still sees his friends at lunch and in orchestra and band. I'm so relieved it's going well. I'll be honest, I expected it to suck, but so far I like all his teachers and he's thriving.

 

I'm glad that your daughters experience has also been positive so far.


Edited by JollyGG - 9/4/13 at 6:23pm
post #22 of 36
Thread Starter 

I also expected it to suck and am so happy to hear about your DS, Jolly!  Hurrah for good elementary schools preparing these kids, ha?  

 

We are having the opposite experience with the placement. DC has always been an average (if not struggling) student. She had trouble learning to read and seems to struggle a little with learning math in a group setting. But, she had pretty good state test scores last year and has excellent behavior (one of the big focuses of the administration who made the call on letting her in out of zone). She has been placed in advanced math. I'm HAPPY about that because I did tell the admin that one of the reasons I was picking this school is because I believe DC "meets expectations" and because of that she needs a great fit challenge wise.  Anyway, I'm rambling now, but I am happy she's there because it's easier (IMO) to stay in advanced than it is to move up...but if she does need to moved down, I'll be a bit worried about how she perceives that. Oh, well, maybe we'll never get to that place. 

post #23 of 36

crap.gif crap.gif crap.gif crap.gif crap.gif crap.gif

 

dd is having a REALLY hard time. its not even school related. i KNOW this school is a good fit for her.

 

but she misses her FRIENDS really bad. finally in 5th grade she made REALLY good friends and she is SOOO unhappy to not be with them.

 

she likes her teachers. she loves the class changes. 

 

but she does not like the energy of teh school - the students... etc. and i can relate to that. what is it called. pushy, red shirting parents. pushing their children to do their best. her old school had just such different dynamics. different careers. different motivation in education. i cant really describe but i can agree the difference dd feels. 

 

dd just doesnt want to go. she is in the 'down' state and so wont even look at teh positives teh school has to offer - even things like manga club. 

 

she is not open to the new. that is not her personality. the work is ok. she doesnt even care. they are repeating stuff so she is bored. but she likes all her teachers. 

 

i just have to have her hang in there. we had discussed it before and i'd said after a semester she can change but she has to hang in there till then. 

 

the first week was the hardest. she had to get up REAL early. she was on her periods. she is having issues with her dad. other stuff going on. life just sucks!!!!

 

at teh end of second week she was not so strongly against the school. but she still wants to go back to her old school. we talked about how hard this decision is for me. how i feel its her word against mine, but i do really feel this is a good move for her. and she feels in her gut it was the wrong move to make. she should have stayed at her old school. 

 

she's had a bad 'throat'(read bad air quality due to fires) and hasnt been to school for the last couple fo days. 

 

she has to make just ONE good friend and things i think might be good for her. 

post #24 of 36
Thread Starter 

I'm so sorry to hear it, Meemee.  For our DC she doesn't have the choice to go back to her old school - it ended at 5th grade. All of her friends are scattered around the city and she was very fortunate to end up with 5 classmates (I think the most kids from her elementary in the city). Another big difference for DC is that she broke into the friend scene in 4th grade and for her, by 5th, I think was growing tired of the small group at her school (only 25 kids her own age) so this change has been good. 

 

If my DC was at the peak of friend-making, her old school was still an option, and she didn't know anyone at a new school with a much different vibe, I would be a very tough sell for her. 

 

So, I sympathize very much with where the two of you are coming from.  The school DC attends for middle is also a very different vibe - so much so that there is NO WAY I would have sent her there for elementary school. It has a focus on rules and has a reward system that works well for my DC right now. She loves to organize and feel like she's in control of things and this system feeds that. Plus, she's getting older and is more mature and I think can resist what I view as negatives of a reward based discipline program. I say this because it's not like all roses for us. But, unlike your DC this is just the small stuff and there's enough that she feels good about that she's feeling resilient - I'm so sorry that you're dealing with the vibe of the school on top of everything else.  I get that feeling of the negatives piling up. 

 

Please check in when your DC makes that first great middle school friend. I hope that day comes today!  

post #25 of 36

Perhaps keep this in mind........................she'll be seeing alot more 'sexual activity' with her peers.........and she'll be hearing about it......(whether kids are doing it, watching it on tv or movies, pretending they are doing it, etc.......they talk about it and .................remind her about personal privacy with photos and cell phone usage, talk to her about bullying .............what about getting to know her teachers or volunteering in the school for a few days?

post #26 of 36
Thread Starter 

Thanks VM. I will be sure to continue to talk about puberty and sexuality with my DC. She has a few good sources to use on her own as well (we love the series by Robbie Harris). We tend to be pretty relaxed and open about sex, though DC doesn't seem all that interested in talking about it yet. And, they have health where they talk about bullying (4 types, one of them being sexual bullying). I also made sure to show DC the form that comes from the city that a child or parent can fill out to get official representation from the board regarding bullying and harassment. I told her she can use that form if she is struggling with something and we can't work it out with the school or if something isn't being addressed for any other reason.  

 

We did miss the boat on volunteering. I'm trying to pull back a little on school involvement. For one, I don't have the time to do as much as I've done in the past. I was also really burned out by some mama-drama I experienced with volunteering in elementary school. Because this is a k-8, I imagine this school has some of that (I also sensed it a bit when I was there).  But, I also want DC to start to engage independently. So far, so good!  I will, of course, pitch in but I want it to be a bit more behind the scenes. 

post #27 of 36

do you mean volunteering during class time?

 

that kind of involvement went away since 2nd grade. and more so in middle school. most of the opportunity since second grade has been as chaperones or after school events.

 

one of dd's friends just started high school who graduated from the middle school dd is going to. she kinda gave her some pointers about kids. the school does not allow 6th graders to take part in the school dances. i think all the sex talk mainly starts in 7th grade. 

 

and dd started makeup. very lightly. pale colours. but she definitely uses makeup to wear at school. i have noticed most of the 6th graders dont use makeup, but dd hangs out a lot on the bus with 7th graders who use make up. 

post #28 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by meemee View Post
 

do you mean volunteering during class time?

 

that kind of involvement went away since 2nd grade. and more so in middle school. most of the opportunity since second grade has been as chaperones or after school events.

 

one of dd's friends just started high school who graduated from the middle school dd is going to. she kinda gave her some pointers about kids. the school does not allow 6th graders to take part in the school dances. i think all the sex talk mainly starts in 7th grade. 

 

and dd started makeup. very lightly. pale colours. but she definitely uses makeup to wear at school. i have noticed most of the 6th graders dont use makeup, but dd hangs out a lot on the bus with 7th graders who use make up. 

I was thinking more about volunteering at the office or in the library...........if your child needs a little boost of confidence, knowing that you are there may help.......PLUS it may help Mom feel more confident in her child/school. 

 

Sex talk starts in 7th grade ?Do you mean sex talk from the school............UGH, that is way too late........when I taught 6th graders about 10 years ago, they were already 'doing' the wild thing, and talking about it........

post #29 of 36
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by meemee View Post
 

do you mean volunteering during class time?

 

If you mean me, no, not in-class time. That was frowned upon even in the early years at my DC's elementary. But there was still so much to do - fundraising & snack-gathering (the two most drama-filled areas, ime) and things like community work days, set up for events and all sorts of stuff. We are a sort of struggling district so schools will suck you dry if you let them. ;-)  

 

As it happens, I volunteered to help with the community outreach (service) part of the parent service to the new middle school. In the past I've been a little disappointed in some of the service choices made by DC's school so maybe I can find a way to be passionately involved in this volunteer opportunity. We'll see.  I am still so jaded by this tendency in our last community to not help on a given project but openly give feedback about what could have been done differently or better after the fact. Or, by parents volunteering in a sort martyr-ish way. It's weird, I got through 5 years of this without complaining much and working hard to make things better...and now I find the need to vent. What's up with that?  :p

post #30 of 36

Mom of 1st grader here with a question (i just read "first year" in the subject line but did not notice the words "middle school"!).

 

How does the friendship scene typically look like in the elementary grade? My interest was piqued by what Identitycrisismama had to say about breaking into the friendship scene in 4th grade. Hope you all don't mind the diversion- I'll read what you all have to say and then the discussion can go back to the original theme. Thanks!

post #31 of 36

my first comment is 

 

- dont worry -

 

how the friendship is depends so much on so many factors. your child's personality. the group of children. the school dynamics. 

 

dd is v. social. she has super social skills. she is an extrovert. she is well known in school. you would think she was having a great time socially.

 

she wasnt. because she is different, has a different way of thinking so its hard for her to make friends. she is seen as the weird one.  but she was never alone and was the class favorite and had lots of playmates. but a friend. a real friend she didnt really connect till she was in 5th grade. she has 4 core friends. one of whom she has known since she was 4. 

 

ooh the girls in dd's school was so catty. and cliquey. 

post #32 of 36

welll ICM - i am throwing the towel in.

 

i will be taking dd out of her school. and homeschooling her through a charter so that her dad will be more open to it. she will be at her school till the end of this month so she can go to the field trip.

 

and then she is out. 

 

i suspect she has depression and all the hw and the organization stuff has got her all messed up. she is overwhelmed and her perfectionism is crippling her. she wants to be the best and yet cant do it (she hates all the busy homework) and so she is way too upset. 

 

maybe life will allow me to hs her for middle school years. 

 

dont want to be a downer - but just wanted to share how hard middle school is for dd when her home life is in uproar. 

post #33 of 36
Thread Starter 

For some reason this thread was way down on my list of posts so I missed the last couple of posts.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by seawind View Post
 

Mom of 1st grader here with a question (i just read "first year" in the subject line but did not notice the words "middle school"!).

 

How does the friendship scene typically look like in the elementary grade? My interest was piqued by what Identitycrisismama had to say about breaking into the friendship scene in 4th grade. Hope you all don't mind the diversion- I'll read what you all have to say and then the discussion can go back to the original theme. Thanks!

My DC is a tad bit shy and she was a new transfer to this school (just in 1st, so she missed Kindy). She had friends, don't get me wrong but she wasn't in the big group of kids. She was happy - I think being "in" the group is sometimes complicated and that it may well be easier to be on the periphery in some ways. So, when I said she "broke to the scene" at 4th I meant that this was the grade where she really felt "in" this one particular group. Which, interestingly, was only a one year thing because by 5th all the kids had kind of moved around and become a more cohesive class group.  I think a lot of this varies from class/school and from child to child. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by meemee View Post
 

i suspect she has depression and all the hw and the organization stuff has got her all messed up. she is overwhelmed and her perfectionism is crippling her. she wants to be the best and yet cant do it (she hates all the busy homework) and so she is way too upset. 

 

maybe life will allow me to hs her for middle school years. 

 

dont want to be a downer - but just wanted to share how hard middle school is for dd when her home life is in uproar. 

I'm so sorry to hear that your DD is struggling so, meemee. :Hug  Through the grape vine we heard about a friend who is struggling with perfectionism in middle. And, with the increased work load and greater diversity of academic skill level, I can absolutely see that a perfectionist with a competitive spirit would be really challenged by middle -- especially if dealing with depression AND home life challenges. 

 

Is your DC looking forward to HSing?  I can imagine that HSing for middle school could be really fun because you're past some of the specialized "learning to learn" phase but are still on relatively simple concepts. Plus, their emerging interest in social issues would be really fun to teach, I think. She's old enough that travel will be easy so you can do museums and all sorts of wonderful things. I wonder if you can't harness some of her perfectionism/competitiveness through city competitions and programs so that she can make the best of that trait. I can certainly see how it can be crippling but, at the same time, so motivating. Sometimes I wish my DC had just a bit of that. ;-)  

 

Please keep us posted, mama. 

post #34 of 36

Meemee I too am sorry to hear your child is struggling! It's so stressful! I wish we all had magic wands and could make our kids' lives happy all the time.  I hope things go well for her with homeschooling through the charter school. I have had friends use those options and they worked for their kids. Often the kids would then want to go to brick and mortar school later.

post #35 of 36

Thank you so much ICM and usamma. your support means so much to me. even virtually.

 

backstory - before i was pregnant my then dh really wanted to hs his child/ren because he remembers he was so bored at school. when i was pregnant dh was still talking hs. then we split up when dd was 18 months old and suddenly i would be the worst teacher for dd - even though i have a college degree. i have texted, emailed him a bunch of times (without being a pest) offering him all the details to check out the charter school. he still hasnt gotten back to me. and the suspense is killing me.

 

dd and i are VERY excited. we both are looking forward to this. we are so scared too. at least more me than dd. i knew what to do with elementary school. not so sure about MS AND working and how that will all fit. 

 

as part of her brick and mortar hs community service requirement, dd is helping out at a parks and rec farm. mostly taking care of the stabled horses. her school approved the community service. dd had a blast yesterday. the person in charge was a v. kind man and gave her a riding lesson. he is setting it up in such a way that its a trade. work for riding lessons. 

 

i would like her dad to be onboard with her school choices. but he is trying to get dd to go to the neighborhood elem. school. :eyesroll (he didnt tell me, he suggested to dd to try and go to the neighborhood school). another place of boredom. he hasnt told me a for sure yes or no. as i have thought of plans (to keep part of his involvment to the very minimum) i have emailed him the details - but he has been silent. 

 

if i dont hear from him by the end of this month, i'll have to make the decision myself. 

post #36 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by meemee View Post
 

Thank you so much ICM and usamma. your support means so much to me. even virtually.

 

backstory - before i was pregnant my then dh really wanted to hs his child/ren because he remembers he was so bored at school. when i was pregnant dh was still talking hs. then we split up when dd was 18 months old and suddenly i would be the worst teacher for dd - even though i have a college degree. i have texted, emailed him a bunch of times (without being a pest) offering him all the details to check out the charter school. he still hasnt gotten back to me. and the suspense is killing me.

 

dd and i are VERY excited. we both are looking forward to this. we are so scared too. at least more me than dd. i knew what to do with elementary school. not so sure about MS AND working and how that will all fit. 

 

as part of her brick and mortar hs community service requirement, dd is helping out at a parks and rec farm. mostly taking care of the stabled horses. her school approved the community service. dd had a blast yesterday. the person in charge was a v. kind man and gave her a riding lesson. he is setting it up in such a way that its a trade. work for riding lessons. 

 

i would like her dad to be onboard with her school choices. but he is trying to get dd to go to the neighborhood elem. school. :eyesroll (he didnt tell me, he suggested to dd to try and go to the neighborhood school). another place of boredom. he hasnt told me a for sure yes or no. as i have thought of plans (to keep part of his involvment to the very minimum) i have emailed him the details - but he has been silent. 

 

if i dont hear from him by the end of this month, i'll have to make the decision myself. 

 That is so tough to have to deal with a lack of support from your dd's dad. It makes things all the more difficult. Horses are great! Not only for the educational/recreational aspect but working with animals is so fulfilling and good for the spirit. I knew a family of 3 girls. They were homeschooled their entire childhood. One worked part time at the stables cleaning stalls to earn riding lessons. One volunteered at the local museum and even gave tours sometimes. One was a serious dancer. I just caught up with them and they are all adults now and doing very well in life. 

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