Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Parent's Guide To Surviving Middle School - Part 1

This kid started middle school this year. Seems impossible, I know. He's not old enough for that. I'm not old enough for that. I knew it would be a struggle for all of us and it would take time getting into the groove of things and getting used to all the changes. but so far middle school has been kicking our butts. It's not been all bad. Actually it's been pretty good. But as a parent, middle school has been like a part-time job. I feel like Trevor's personal secretary/assistant because if not for all the work I've been doing he'd be in bad shape. Maybe it's different for us - I have heard that girls do very well in middle school because they are typically more organized and that makes it easier for them. Maybe it's harder for us because of Trevor's ADD and his constant forgetfulness and lack of any and all organizational skills. Whatever it is, I have learned a lot and I am here to share what I have learned. Take notes, there might be a quiz at the end.
1. Teach your child how to open a combination lock long before the first day of school. It took Trevor 3 weeks, a You Tube video (yes, I'm not kidding), and a trip to Target for locks to practice with before he could finally use his locker at school. Do your kid a favor and make them an expert at combination locks by the end of 5th grade.
2. Find out who has classes with your kid and get to know those kids. Get their numbers. You will be ever so grateful to those friends when you can call or text them for info on homework and what is going on in class when your kid is clueless and forgets everything that happened that day.
3. It's never too early to check on your kid in class and find out what his grades are BEFORE the first progress reports go out. Teachers might think of Infinite Campus as an Infinite Headache but it's been my Very. Best. Friend. When your kid forgets to turn things in as much as my kid does you will be checking that website fifty times a day to get info and keep up on his grades and assignments. Which leads us into....
4. Don't be afraid to e-mail the teachers. I e-mail at least one of Trevor's teachers every week. I ask questions about missing assignments, upcoming projects, grades and his behavior in class. It might seem a little overbearing or that I am a helicopter mom, but seriously I don't want my kid failing 6th grade because I didn't communicate with his teachers enough. Which leads us into.....
5. When your kid's teachers respond to your e-mails or meet for a parent/teacher conference (yep, had one of those already) send them a nice e-mail thanking them for their time and cooperation and support. If you're a nice parent they will be more willing to work with you AND your kid. If you're a mean, cranky, annoying parent they might just ignore your e-mails.
6. This is a big one - be super organized. Teach your kid how to be super organized. It will be hard, it will take time, it will get on your nerves but it will be all worth it in the end when your kid goes to college and he can finally manage his time and turn in his assignments on the due date (I am hoping and praying this happens one day).
7. And the most important thing I have learned so far - when your kid wants to talk to you about what's going on at school listen, just listen. Don't try and solve his problems, or give him advice, or tell him what you would have done in that situation unless he asks you. Give him lots of hugs, tell him you love him no matter what and always listen to what he has to say.