What Elementary Parents Can Do Now to Prepare for Middle School with Florida Virtual School
Elective choices. Having more than one teacher. Remembering locker combinations. These are just a few examples of how moving from elementary to middle school can be a challenging time for students. While Florida Virtual School students do not need to worry about locker combinations, there are still several steps that parents can take now to help their child transition from elementary to middle school.
New to Florida Virtual Elementary School? Check out this blog to learn how you can prepare for online elementary school.
One of the biggest differences for students going from elementary to middle school is the change in the number of teachers/classes that they’ll need to juggle. In elementary school, students are used to learning from one teacher who helps organize their day. In middle school, it is up to the student to stay organized and juggle multiple courses and teachers. FLVS parents can help their child manage and build organizational skills by:
- Creating a weekly schedule with deadlines for assignments. This can lessen the tension or frustration at the end of the week.
- Setting up a dedicated workspace with binders/folders for each subject where they can keep their notes and projects in one place.
- Having a flash drive to save work. While there is MUCH less printing needed in middle school, a trusty printer can be helpful to print out notes that they can use throughout the course.
- Encouraging autonomy. Students are urged to communicate with their teachers by phone, text and email. Giving your child the space to try new responsibilities, such as communicating with their teachers on their own, is a great skill for school and life.
- Being there as their “coach!” Your child will still need you
!. Be ready to complete welcome calls/monthly calls with their teacher and be a support when they run into a roadblock.
What Was Easy May Become a Challenge
For many students, elementary school is a breeze. They have very little homework and information comes easy. In middle school, we expect our students to learn to think critically, work more independently, and tackle subjects that they may have little or no prior knowledge about.
The best thing a parent can do is focus on encouraging a growth mindset. Growth mindset focuses on the idea that with hard work and dedication, your child can be successful. Often students will say, “I’m just not good at math.” This is a fixed mindset. However, changing one word can make all the difference.
As a parent, you can encourage them to say, “I’m not good at math, YET.” This shows that with time and effort, they can master anything that was once difficult. Encouraging our students to take ownership, get comfortable with uncertainty, and be open-minded can go a long way in the learning process.
As kids move from children to adolescents, their needs for connection can change. It is normal for pre-teens and teens to want to explore peer relationships when in the past familial relationships were enough.
Florida Virtual School offers live lessons in which students can not only learn content but also connect with other students and teachers in real time. Joining a Florida Virtual School club is also a great way to connect with other teens with the same interests! Finding safe outlets for students to socialize can help them feel connected in the online learning environment.
Changes Are Expected
As students transition from elementary to middle school, their tastes and interests may change. Some kids love playing soccer in elementary school, but when middle school hits, they may want to try band instead. This is normal but can be hard for parents. Talking with your child about what THEY are passionate about or want to try can be very helpful. Don’t be afraid to let your child join a club or sport that they have never tried before. Middle school is a great time to explore new interests!
So, while learning a locker combination may not be needed, there are quite a few other areas where parents can aid their child in the exciting transition from elementary to middle school. With you by their side and their teachers cheering them on all the way, middle school will be a wonderful experience of adventure and growth.
Ready to make the switch to Florida Virtual School? Learn more about FLVS Flex and enroll your child today at flvs.net/flex.
This post was written by Anne Flenner, FLVS Flex School Counselor.