30August

Moving to Middle School: A Transition for the Whole Family

Moving to Middle School: A Transition for the Whole Family


Our eldest son started Middle School two weeks ago. What a shock. Not so much for him – for me! He got into the car the first day after cross country, which he all of a sudden decided to take up a few weeks ago, very excited about the day and all the cool things about school. He loves moving around for every class, and because the class makeup changes, he has at least a couple of friends in each. In many ways it seems very much like when I was in junior high back in the late 1970s.

It could not be more different.

Backing up a bit, on the first day of school, I rushed out of my office, which is down the street from school, to pick up our fourth grader by 3:45. I figured carpool would be quite busy, given that it was the first day. Wrong. I was the second-to-last mom there. We went to Publix to kill an hour and get a few things before heading to the middle school. By the time we got home, it was close to 5:30, and I hadn’t even started dinner. I’m used to getting home by 4:00, so this will be another change as I have to learn to plan meals and shop in advance. Fortunately, cross country is over by early October, so my family will have to put up with leftovers for just a few weeks.

Anyway, Alex unpacked his bag and laid out a half dozen “contracts” for my husband and me to review and sign. Each was from a different teacher, and each contained information about the class as well as expectations. Wow. I thought fifth grade was tough, but this was a whole new animal. How on earth is he going to get all his work done ON TIME? Assignments handed in late are penalized way more than in lower school.

I can see this is going to be tough for him to get used to. One  night during the first week of school he asked me to go look on the computer to see what his homework is. I told him to look in his agenda. He said he didn’t write it down. I said he was welcome to go check the website himself, but we were told the assignments in sixth grade aren’t always posted the way they were in fifth grade. The students are expected to write everything down in their agendas. This will be difficult for a child who does not like to write things down. (Fortunately, the sixth graders are learning about organization skills.)

Curious about how things would work this year, I decided to go onto the website and go through his classes. Talk about overwhelming! Each teacher has his or her own blog, and some posted assignments while others did not. And so much information! I can tell already I’m going to love the Language Arts teacher’s blog, which has some great stuff on grammar and writing topics. Very cool! It is my goal to get the boys to love writing by the end of this year.

Both boys have had homework over the weekend. And as often happens, they got it done at the last minute – close to bedtime. I think we’re all going to have to learn some readjustment in this area. The good news is, we are getting adjusted to our new routines now that we are into the third week of school. But still, as I get ready to leave my office and head to school in the afternoon, I am thinking about the next few hours and wondering what I’m going to do for dinner.

If you have any thoughts and suggestions for those of us going through these kinds of transitions, please chime in! We welcome your comments.

Written by Sheri Panovka, Posted in JF&CS - Hope and Opportunity Happen Here, Child & Adolescent Services

About the Author

Sheri Panovka

Sheri Panovka

Sheri Panovka is JF&CS' Marketing Communications Coordinator. As one of JF&CS' principal writers, writes for the printed publications, enewsletters, synagogue bulletins, website and many of our events.