It’s hard to believe that the kids are back to school almost 2 months already. For the first time, our school went back before Labor Day. To be perfectly honest, I don’t think it really made a difference, at least at this point in the school year. Perhaps later during the winter, or next year if they used up too many snow days.
It is hard to believe that I have a freshman in high school. I still sit around and shake my head in amazement. I know that it has been said many times before, but time does go way too fast. I miss the days when homework consisted of tracing a few letters and figuring out what word did not belong. Now, we are dealing with geometry, ecology, early American literature, and American History. And they are all on the honors level! I am so proud of my son for being able to take these classes. I am not sure how he is managing to juggle an almost straight-A average along with baseball, Science Olympiad, and church Youth Group activities. Makes my head spin, and my rear sore from doing all kinds of driving.
I wanted to share a few tips that have helped me survive the first 2 months of my son’s freshman year.
- Don’t be afraid to go to “Meet The Teacher” night because your teen thinks it is uncool. Freshman year in high school is a really crucial year. If you get behind in the freshman year, it is really hard to catch up. My son’s teachers had great presentations that outlined what their expectations were for the school year. And they discussed grading, homework, and other activities. My son’s history teacher even explained that he took longer than normal to update the grades in ParentPortal because of his heavy workload. This helped me because if a grade is not entered on the due date of a test or project, the grade book(not the teacher) marks it as a zero until it is updated by the teacher. Saves me from having a meltdown on my son, and prevents him from being scared to talk to me.
- If your school has an online grade book, make sure you get the password and check it daily. This is a great way to keep abreast of how your child is doing so that when report cards come, it is not a total surprise if your son or daughter gets a less-than-stellar grade in a class. It also helps you to know what areas your child needs help in, before the end of a quarter, and it is too late to do anything about it. Freshman in high school need a little more structure regarding their grades until they figure things out. It is a great way to connect with your child’s teacher as well, for most are more than happy to give you feedback or suggest additional resources.
- Most importantly, talk to your teen. Give them a chance to tell you about a bad grade without them feeling like they can’t tell you. Allow them to say that school is hard. Listen when they tell you that high school is a whole new world. By doing this now, you can help keep the lines of communication open between you and your teen. My son has always been able to talk to me, and I wanted to make sure that I kept it that way. I remember what it was like my freshman year in high school. Let me tell you, he is doing much better than I did!
To be brutally honest, I think the transition from middle school to high school was harder on me than my son. He just kind of went from one mode into another, and it didn’t really faze him. Don’t get me wrong, he was nervous about it. But I allowed him to tell me about it, and not just say “oh you will be fine”. I told him that I remember how hard it was for me, and that it was okay if he needed some time to adjust. But I also told him that we had certain expectations, and that if he didn’t want to live up to them, then he wouldn’t be able to participate in his extracurricular activities. I am happy to report that, at this point in time, he is doing just fine and keeping up with everything.
What tips do you have for parents that have kids starting in high school? What did you find that worked for you?