I’m always looking for opportunities to stay involved in my son’s educational experience, which has gotten a little trickier since he moved up to middle school. In elementary school, there were more ways for me to feel plugged in to his experience, as well as to engage with teachers and staff. Now there are no more apple picking trips, family dance nights or in-class birthday/ Halloween/ Valentine’s Day/Thanksgiving celebrations (that I’m allowed to attend, anyway). The elementary school felt like an extension of home – my son would run up to me and give me a hug if he saw me in the hallway while dropping off books for the book fair or volunteering in the cafeteria on pizza Fridays. Although I have a wonderful relationship with his teacher and staff at the middle school, sometimes I feel like an interloper; kids I’ve known since they were in kindergarten look at me like an alien life form if they see me anywhere in the vicinity of the middle school. I feel as though they think that the anti-bacterial dispensers stationed in the hallways should contain parent repellent instead of Purell. And (sniffle) I’ve seen my son do a double-take if I show up unexpectedly in the hallway, like “uh, what’s she doing here?”
I found some great suggestions for staying actively involved in your child’s school while he or she is trying mightily to pretend that you don’t exist in 10 Tips for Middle School Parents via SchoolFamily.com. I especially liked the ones about doing behind-the-scenes work and posting a family calendar in a central location where you, along with your child, can add to it.
Middle school can be a confusing time for everyone, so I’m all in favor of anything that keeps me in the loop in the most unobtrusive way possible. I know it’s healthy and inevitable for our middle-schoolers to start asserting some independence but, whether they realize it or not, they need us now more than ever, right? Someone validate me, please (I don’t think my middle-schooler is going to)!
How do you check in with your middle-schooler and stay involved in the school scene? All suggestions are welcome!
Photo courtesy of Mom Meets Blog
Posted in Uncategorized
Tagged calendar, education, homework, kids, middle school, middle school parents, middle schooler, parents, PTA, PTO, schoolfamily.com, teachers, volunteer
What mom hasn’t gotten that frantic phone call from their kid at school – “Mom, I forgot my ________!” You can fill in the blank with any variety of items – homework, lunch, violin, lacrosse stick, glasses -whatever can get left behind usually does at one point or another.
If the same crazy chaos keeps happening day after day, like “Groundhog Day” for the school set, planning ahead and establishing some routines can streamline those manic mornings and help to better organize the day. Get the kids to assist in the prep work – let them “earn points” redeemable for extra computer time or whatever else might motivate them to take part in setting up a plan of attack and sticking to it. It’s just as easy to love a good routine as it is a bad one (I’m paraphrasing here), so check out some tips to help you get started:
Pack it up the night before – as soon as homework is completed, pack up all papers, books, folders, etc. into the back pack, zip it up and leave it in a centralized location (by the door, in the kitchen) every evening so it’s easy to locate in the morning.
Lay out clothes the night before. It’s easier to let your child have a say in this the night before than fighting about it 5 minutes before you have to head out the door. Everyday items like a watch or
jewelry, wallet, or cellphone should also be included with the wardrobe. And how many times have I heard “where are my glasses”? Check out this cute glasses holder from The Container Store
. My son hasn’t misplaced his glasses since I put this on a shelf by his bed a few months ago.
Breakfast hassles? While multigrain cereal or some whole fruit are nutritious options, some mornings my son likes a hot breakfast. He loves pancakes, so I make a batch on Sunday, freeze them, and then microwave them during the week for a hot, homemade breakfast any time. Since I’m making my own, I can add bananas, walnuts, flax seeds - it’s healthier and less expensive than the frozen store-bought kind.
A calendar outlining activities and events for each day (math test, sports and club activities, music lessons, etc.) is a visual reminder
of what items are needed to complete daily tasks – and gather them ahead of time. It’s also a good place for writing down a to do list – charge cellphone, get lunch money, etc. If kids can see what’s coming, it’s less overwhelming and easier to manage for everyone. I use this erasable calendar decal from PBTeen
These methods have cut down on my morning chaos and have helped my son stay organized – what strategies do you use to reign in the madness? I’d love to hear about them and learn something new!
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Tagged backpack, calendar, chaos, kids, mornings, organization, PBTeen, points, routines, school, The Container Store