Preparing a Child for Junior High School

The transition from elementary to middle school or junior high is a difficult one, filled with new social and academic challenges. Here are some tips to help your child prepare for this big change.

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Moving up from grade school to junior high or middle school means encountering bigger challenges: a bigger school, bigger corridors, bigger classes, bigger upperclassmen, and bigger expectations.

But bigger challenges can mean bigger accomplishments and an increased level of confidence. Parents face a serious responsibility, but also a great opportunity in preparing their students for what lies ahead. Here are a few tips to help your child gear up for the new academic and social challenges.

  1. Encourage summer reading. Get some teacher-recommended books to help your child develop or enhance their reading comprehension and vocabulary skills. Most junior high school courses, from history to science, are text-based. Your child's ability to read quickly and understand larger amounts of text will make a big difference in their overall academic success.
  2. Encourage your child to write.The ability to express one's thoughts on paper will be emphasized more than ever. Consider giving your child creative writing assignments over the summer. Just encouraging private creative writing or journaling will help.
  3. Consider a math tutor or computer-based program. Your child will face more challenging math subjects in junior high school: pre-algebra, algebra and even geometry. In order to do well, they will need a solid understanding of the basics she acquired in their grade school courses.
  4. Work on improving your child-parent relationship. Discuss the academic and social challenges your child will meet at the next level of school. They will certainly face difficult choices, both inside and outside of the classroom. Keep your relationship with your child open so you can be sure the they will turn to you when life becomes overly stressful. Don't be afraid to tackle difficult topics, like drug-use or dating. Be sure to set boundaries, but remind your child that you are a friend as well as a parent.
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