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Do you have a great resource for Surviving the Middle School Years? Please email us at Marina@SFpta.org

A few nice articles...

On raising boys HERE

On raising girls HERE

10 Smart Tips HERE

A few recommended books

It is never too early...

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It is never to early to be thinking about college:

Here is a great blog about the UC System written from a mom of three's point-of-view. Lots of information about the system, applying and how the whole thing works! LINK

Parents Guide to Surviving Middle School!

Top 15 Things Your Middle School Kid Wishes You Knew

Reprinted from the Huffington Post.

 

1. Respect me. I'm my own person, not just your kid. Sometimes I might have opinions that differ from yours. Sometimes I just want to be your baby. Respect me either way.

2. I still want to have fun with you, and feel like home is safe and happy. Smile at me.

3. I need to make some of my own choices, and maybe some of my own mistakes. Don't do my work for me or get me out of every jam. You don't need to be better than me at everything. Don't condescend; you don't need to impart your elderly wisdom on me if I have a problem. Please wait for me to ask for your help. If I don't ask for it, I might want to work it out for myself. Let me rant without offering advice. Sometimes that's all I really need, just to talk my way through something and for you to just listen to me.

Click to read the other 12 things: LINK

Internet, Apps, Online Chat, Cyberspace...

common-sense-media-logo.jpgWe're confused, too! The world of online communication through websites, apps, texting, video games and more is changing daily. How do you keep up? What is a trusted resource to go to for advice? Who can explain Kik, Yo, Yik Yak, Instagram, Vine, Snapchat (yes these are all real sites where kids can share)?

We trust Common Sense Media. They can help you understand what these things are, why you should (or should not) be concerned and advise on how to talk with your kids. 

Looking for age appropriate books, movies, websites, apps, TV shows, games with reviews by both kids and adults. We recommend the Common Sense Media Review Site, Select your age, media type and see what they recommend (or not).

Surviving (Your Child's) Adolescence Welcome to the hard half of parenting

This is a great article from "Psychology Today" about the transition to middle school. We recommend reading the whole article here. LINK
 
Come middle school, early adolescents collide with secondary education.
Middle school is a minefield of developmental challenges for students, a time when significant parental supervision and support must be given. Summarizing, here are ten steps parents can take to support a successful entry and passage through middle school.

1.Understand that middle school is not elementary school.
2.Identify and allay common entry fears of middle school.
3.Expect early adolescent changes in your child.
4.Supervise the completion of all homework.
5.Support learning to function in a large secondary system.
6.Declare your desire to be told about any social cruelty that occurs.
7.Inform your child about the normal changes that come with puberty.
8.Enroll your child in social circles outside of school.
9.Encourage the development of multiple sources of self-esteem.
10.Monitor and moderate the increased need for electronic communication (cell phone texting, computer messaging, and social networking.)

Teacher's Perspective: 5 Truths About Middle Schoolers

This article is excerpted from Traits of Writing: The Complete Guide for Middle School by Ruth Culham.

Here are some of the “truths” I’ve discovered about middle school students over the past thirty years, which have helped me understand students better and respect them more:

  1. They have a hard time remembering things. 
    They don’t remember to put their names on their papers even though they did this automatically in elementary school. They don’t remember where they put their papers, their backpacks, or that all-too-important permission slip. In fact, they remember hardly anything they consider mundane, no matter how desperately the adults in their lives wish they did. It doesn’t mean they aren’t learning. 
     
  2. They don’t like to do ordinary, repetitive tasks. 
    They detest homework for the sake of homework, formula-driven prompts, black-line masters designed to teach them things they already know. (Who can blame them?) They like to be occupied with work that matters to them. They like being active. In fact, they crave it. 
     
  3. They must talk to learn.  
    Talking is as essential to middle school students as breathing. In silent classrooms, students are cut off from one another and become bored and frustrated. In classrooms where talking is valued, the energy level is palpable. Talking is how middle school students process their world and make sense of it. 
     
  4. They adore technology.
    They “get it” in ways that we, as adults, never will. They will gladly show us what they know if given the opportunity to use computers, cell phones, iPods, interactive whiteboards, and on and on. If we find a way to make technology an integral part of our writing instruction, just imagine what our students might do.
     
  5. They aren’t high school students. 
    Their strengths and weaknesses are different from older kids’. Yes, they have passion and energy, but with these come moodiness and unbridled emotion. They should be taught for who they are now, what works for them now, what is meaningful now. This is the best preparation for what comes later. Likewise, the best middle school teachers aren’t frustrated high school teachers, nor are they latter-day elementary teachers. We bring unique skills, passions, and characteristics to our work. The patience, flexibility, and humor required at every level, K to 12, are critical to success in middle school.

Learning Machines: The Wired Teenage Brain

Frances Jensen is both a neuroscientist and a mother of two former teenagers who suggests adults give teenagers a "frontal lobe assist" in helping them make decisions, but that adults can also learn from teenagers by watching how they use social networks to organize and communicate.

She spoke with "To the Best of Our Knowledge" Executive Producer Steve Paulson about the positive plasticity of teenage brains as well as teens' propensity for risk taking.

As chair of the neurology department of University of Pennsylvania’s medical school, Jensen’s book "The Teenage Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Survival Guide to Raising Adolescents and Young Adults" was a national bestseller.

Click below to listen to the interview from NPR, To the Best of Our Knowledge.

5 Reasons to Get Involved

Higher grades and better behavior are just a few of the benefits of parent involvement.
by Emily Graham

What if you could help your child enjoy school more, get better grades, and reduce behavior problems at the same time? Reams of research has shown that regardless of parents’ income and educational background, their involvement in education helps their kids do better in and out of school.

Parent involvement can be as simple as helping with math homework or reading a book together at bedtime. Going to parent-teacher conferences is important, but taking the family to the school spaghetti supper makes a difference, too. More involvement is better, but you don’t have to be president of the PTO or run the school carnival. As long as your actions show that you value education, your child is likely to respond.

Here are 5 reasons you should get involved in your child’s education (though there are many more than just these):

1. Higher grades. Kids whose parents are involved in their education get better grades and have higher test scores. And the more parents are involved, the more their children seem to benefit. A study of parents highly involved in the educational process showed that their children were more likely to improve in reading and math.

2. Better behavior. Kids develop better social skills and show improved behavior when their parents are involved at school. Studies have also shown that kids are less likely to skip school, less disruptive in class, and more likely to do their homework when their parents are involved. One study showed that when dads are highly involved in schools, their children enjoy school more and are less likely to be suspended, expelled, or required to repeat a grade.

3. Improved education. Research shows that parent involvement can help improve the quality of schools, raise teacher morale, and improve a school’s reputation in the community. Involved parents gain the respect of teachers; as a result, teachers have higher expectations of their children. Involvement pays off in the long term, too: Children stay in school longer and are more likely to continue their education after high school.

4. Increased confidence. When students feel supported at home and school, they develop more positive attitudes about school, have more self-confidence, and place a higher priority on academic achievement. Children of involved parents are more likely to feel that they’re accepted, included, and respected and at school.

5. Parents benefit, too. When parents become involved in their children’s education, they become more comfortable in the school building, gain confidence in their parenting skills, and feel more capable of helping their children learn. They’re also more likely to continue their own education.

Involvement is easy. You don’t have to log hundreds of volunteer hours for your child to benefit. Even if you can only volunteer a few hours a year, every little bit counts. If you’re ready to do more, your school’s parent-teacher group can help you find ways to get involved that fit both your schedule and your interests.

Emily Graham is a senior editor for School Family Media. She lives with her family in Oklahoma. LINK to the article