Why does summer always seem to go by so fast? I was at Target right after the 4th of July and they were already setting up the back-to-school displays. What nerve! If you have been avoiding that section like I have, it is time to point your cart in that direction and make sure your kids have what they need to be successful.
Starting high school
This back-to-school season is especially tough for me as my daughter is entering high school. Nervous would be the best word to describe how she and I feel about this upcoming school year. Which is a bit ironic, since I have spent the better part of my life in high school. As a high school student, a high school teacher, and currently as a high school administrator.
Tips for 9th Grade Students
Here are some of the tips I have gathered during my career for my fellow new high school parents. Hopefully my thoughts will help make the transition easier for you and your high schooler.
Incoming 9th graders are nervous
Even if they won’t admit that to you. There are a million reasons a student can be nervous: a larger building, more difficult classes, and being the youngest are some of the most common in my experience. My advice on this is not to push it. Don’t ask your student if they are nervous. That could make them even more nervous. Instead, reassure your students about their strengths and successes and how they will help them when the topic comes up.
Have conversations about their expectations
High school is one of the first times students have a say in the courses they take. What do they hope to get out of their high school experience? This makes for great family conversation and can serve as a way to get your students excited for it. This can also help you and your student start to think about what high school might look like for them when it comes to homework. Homework is far more common in high school and some students may not be accustomed to that.
Help your student develop good study habits.
The workload transition from middle to high school can be a challenge. In addition to more work, many students have to balance school activities, work, and family responsibilities with homework. Routines that can support your students can include setting aside time to study each day, creating a study space, and learning how to manage their after-school time effectively. If possible I suggest collaborating with your students on this, to give them ownership of this new routine. Be supportive, but not overbearing. It’s important to let your child know that you’re there for them, but you also need to give them space to grow and learn on their own.
What extracurricular activities are they interested in?
Encourage your child to be involved in extracurricular activities. This is a great way for your child to make friends, learn new skills, and explore their interests. Research shows that students who are involved in at least one activity at school outside of school hours have a more positive student experience. Students who are actively involved in a club or sport are less likely to drop out and are more likely to experience academic success.
Talk to your student
Talk to your child about the changes they’re going through. High school can be a time of great change, both physically and emotionally. Be there to listen to your child and offer support as they navigate these changes. This includes discussing topics to help your child stay safe. Obviously, what you chose to discuss with your student is a personal family decision. Some issues students struggle with can include: drug and alcohol use, vaping and smoking, bullying, and romantic and friend relationships.
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Be proud of your child! High school can be a challenging time, but it’s also an exciting time of growth and discovery. Be there to celebrate your child’s accomplishments and help them reach their full potential.
I hope these tips help you prepare your child for a successful 9th-grade year. Please comment with any ideas or things that helped you as your child entered high school.