Preparing for Middle School

If you are about to start and you’re a little nervous, you are not alone! Entrance into is one of your first steps into adulthood! It’s a time for meeting new challenges and taking on new responsibilities. The changes you’ll find in school—things like carrying your own books and supplies from classroom to classroom and organizing your own schedule—should be matched by changes you make in the home.

While you take on more responsibility at school, you should also take on more responsibilities at home. Your life is about to change, but the change will be very exciting!

Here are some changes you can look forward to:

Schedule Changes

One of the biggest changes that take place in middle school is the increase in personal responsibility. This is a point in your life when time management skills really become critical.

In the past, you’ve been able to rely on your teacher and your parents to keep you organized. In middle school, you alone may be responsible for getting to classes on time.

You’ll also have to be responsible for carrying art supplies to art class, pens to literature class, and pencils with erasers to math class. Nobody will be telling you what to grab and how to plan ahead as you visit your locker between classes.

At Home: You can take on more personal responsibility by getting yourself out of bed at a certain time every day by setting your own alarm—without any help from parents. You might also explore using your cell phone as a time management tool.

Curriculum Changes

In the past you learned what happened in history and what steps you needed to take to solve a math problem. In middle school, you will begin to dig deeper and think about why things happened and how events and problems are related to each other.

You will gain a deeper understanding of life as you take on new fields of study like mythology, sociology, behavioral science, and engineering.

At Home: Pick a topic that really interests you, like computers, religion, or art, and find a way to look beneath the surface and get a deeper understanding. In addition to playing computer games, try to find out what sort of programming went into creating your games.

If religion is a big part of your life, find out some history behind your family’s practices and beliefs. Explore and compare your beliefs to those of other cultures. Talk about it with parents and friends.

New Concepts for Middle School Students

Not only will you see changes in they way you’re expected to behave; you’ll also see changes in the way you’re expected to think!

One new concept you’ll have to understand is the concept of themes. A theme is a common characteristic that ties things together. You could think of a theme as a string that runs through certain areas and connects them.

It’s simple, really. For example, “our environment” can be a topic used in science class (exploring climate change), in history class (industrialization), in geography class (people and land). Your teachers may collaborate on a theme and expect you to understand how subjects are related to each other.

At Home: You can practice recognizing themes by reading a newspaper to look for “strings” that connect the community event section, the political section, the sports section, and even the comics.

Extracurricular Activities

One of the most exciting things about starting middle school is the fact that you’ll be able to enjoy some of your special interests in new ways. If you enjoy being the center of attention, you may be able to join a drama club and perform in a real live production! Enjoy taking pictures? You can join a photography club or become the yearbook photographer!

Extracurricular activities tap into your individual strengths and allow you to get noticed for your talents in a public way for the first time. If you are a natural leader, for example, you should explore running for student council.

At Home: Have you ever really taken a serious inventory of your talents? Don’t feel bad if you haven’t thought about it until now. Many students “go with the flow” before they reach middle school and take part in activities that their parents arrange. For example, you may have started ballet classes or martial arts at the age of five, because your mom wanted you to. Now it’s time to discover what interests and talents you were actually born with.

Adolescence (middle school age) is a good time to direct your energy into new activities—and discover talents you didn’t know you had. As you look forward to middle school, take an inventory of things that you’re curious about but haven’t really tried yet.

Note: If your favorite thing is books, and your favorite thing to do is to lock yourself in your room and read or think, and you’ve always thought you were a little weird, you’re going to enjoy the new opportunities you’ll find in middle school classes!

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