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