Stay Involved in Middle School
Q: How can I stay involved in my son’s education as he enters middle school this year? In elementary school, I was a room mother and very active in the PTA. Now he wants me to back off and stay away from his new school.
A: Being involved in your children’s education definitely becomes trickier for parents after the elementary school years. Many students in middle school, like your son, are no longer eager for their parents to come to school or talk to their teachers.
Nevertheless, your involvement in his education remains a key to his success in middle school just like it was in elementary school. Here are some ways to help you stay involved in your son’s education:
Read the handbook that the school sends home. It will help you understand how things are done at your son’s new school. Pay particular attention to the sections on attendance, grading, contacting teachers, and the rules and regulations. For example, if your son says he needs to stay after school for a detention, you will know the approximate reason why this could have occurred.
Keep up with what is going on by reading all information from the school. Be sure to sign up for e-mail newsletters. If the school has a Web site, that will be a great source of information. And some of his teachers may have pages on the Web site telling what is happening in different classes.
Stay involved with the activities and the PTA. This organization helps you know what is happening at school and plays a role in implementing policies to improve the school. Attend events in which your son is involved as well as those for parents. This includes such activities as science fairs, sports events, choir performances, PTA meetings and back-to-school events.
Volunteer to help however your schedule allows. This helps you to learn even more about how the school works. Talk to your son every day to learn about his day at school. Make sure this is a real conversation, not an inquisition. Many families use the evening mealtime to discuss what everyone did that day.
When problems occur at school, don’t rush to resolve them unless your immediate involvement is necessary. Instead, talk with your son and ask him to devise ways he can resolve them. This helps him learn how to handle school problems.
Exploring the Library
According to the International Reading Association, “It is never too early — or too late — to start visiting the library. Go on a library safari with your children and you’ll be amazed at all there is to discover.”
Here are some specific areas to explore with young children:
Infants – Sturdy board books, picture books, and books or CDs of songs and rhymes.
Toddlers – Picture books and story books.
Preschoolers – Books that cater to their specific interests such as airplanes, animals, dinosaurs and trains.
Grades K-2 – Different events at the library.