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Middle School Education In The Us

Discussion in 'General Discussions - USA & Canada' started by BhumiBabe, Apr 13, 2017.

  1. Rihana

    Rihana Staff Member Finest Post Winner

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    BhumiBabe's suggestion of Boy Scouts as an activity is very good. If you have a choice of troops to pick from, take the time to visit each one, attend their new-member or other weekly or monthly meetings, get a feel for the troop.
     
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  2. Rihana

    Rihana Staff Member Finest Post Winner

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    Good thread. Middle school is sometimes like the middle child : ) possible to get ignored as elementary and high school related info are more widely available.

    Some general thoughts:

    Extracurricular activities: Late 7th grade or early 8th grade is a good time to start streamlining child's extracurricular activities. The activity should be worth the child's time, parent's money and all the driving around. It should serve some concrete purpose - child is passionate about it, child has a chance to shine in it, serves as a socializing medium, gives child physical exercise, is a unique one that will make child stand out among peers. The point is that high school is around the corner, and in HS time is at a premium. Any extracurricular activity the child does should serve some purpose. If the activity does not serve any concrete purpose or if the child has maxed out progress that can be made in it, consider dropping the activity, or even better - build on the experience and see if child can become an assistant or aide in that activity.

    Start to identify what child wants to study: A high percentage of high schoolers do not know the answer to "what do you want to study in college?" so why should middle schoolers have any clue! It is fine to enter high school with no clear idea of what child wants to study. But, the process of identifying interest can take years for some children. So, start the process in middle school. But how? First step can be eliminating some areas. For example, a child can simply not like physics or biology or chemistry -- which rules out some areas of study. This narrowing down possible majors by eliminating some of them is good. Helps with choosing courses in 9th and 10th grades.

    Learn how to use Facebook efficiently and safely: This might seem like an odd skill to learn in middle school, but can be crucial for some high schools. In some high schools, communication between students, teachers, coaches can happen mainly through FB. Afterschool clubs conduct all their communication through FB. Or, the 100-200 students who have a particular teacher form a FB group to discuss class material, homework, assignments, tests, quizzes, to form project groups and so on. So what is there to learn about FB, you might wonder. Some kids actually need guidance on how to accept friend requests or how not to accept friend requests. I made a simple rule for my kid after once going through the horror of seeing strange people in her friends list. The rule was "if you have not met a person, or do not have a common class with him/her, check with me before adding as friend. Another thing I had to drill into her head was that be careful what you post in FB. It can always come back to haunt you later. Don't criticize teachers with words you don't want them to read.

    Public displays of affection: Middle schools can see some non-Indian kids into very strong PDA's outside the classroom. Indian kids might not know how to react. It can take some time for Indian kids to learn how to navigate their way in such a school and how to be friends with such school-mates.

    Information about after-school activities does not always come to parents: Aiyo.. I learnt this the hard way. In elementary school, the weekly flyer will tell parents about all activities in school that child can participate in. In middle school, that might not be the case always. Some activities or events are mentioned only in the morning announcement (which is usually handled by students only). So, child has to be aware of such opportunities and go find out more information, deadlines and check out if it is of interest to him/her. The average kid will simply ignore all such announcements. : )
     
  3. Induslady

    Induslady Administrator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    @BhumiBabe
    Thank you for your detail response. I'm going to come back to you with more questions though :tonguewink:

    @Rihana
    Here you go...I would have dragged you in here if I hadn't seen your response by this week!
    Will come back to you asking some more guidance too.
     
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  4. BhumiBabe

    BhumiBabe Gold IL'ite

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    Yes, this is a great conversation to start at this age. There is a really cool resource, that would help. Knowing the options and ways to prepare early in school, make a difference in the long run. Job and Career Information for Kids | Grades K-5 | Kids.gov | USAGov

    Many of my friends (and me) started with the idea of being a doctor. But, we didn't get a chance to see what that actually means. Let children start volunteering in hospitals for getting to understand the environment and if it's really what they want to do. I hated the hospital environment, because of the lights and the smell... somehow it made me uncomfortable, but some of my friends loved it, and it really encouraged them to succeed in completing their degrees.
     
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  5. Induslady

    Induslady Administrator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear @Rihana and @BhumiBabe,

    Since both of you recommend talking to kids in the middle school about what they want to study, let me ask this.
    Do you think 5th / 6th graders would be able to think of options from the long term perspective of what they want to become? Even if they could think, won't it be those too common ones like Doctor, Nurse, Teacher, etc.? Also won't they just keep changing it every few weeks? (I remember mine wanted to be an art teacher at 6yrs during the begin of school year, then changed her mind to becoming the 1st grade teacher towards the end of school year as she loved her 1st grade class teacher :) )

    We have been having our older one in the IB program for Primary. Deciding for primary was easy liking the IB way of learning. But now for Middle school we are still deciding about continuing IB or switching to regular schools following STEM/AP curriculum. We really want this to be our kids decision, but wondering if she would be able to say what she likes (Math / Science / Social / Arts) at this age without any bias for the teacher, just by how easy or interesting it is for her as of today?

    How to have this conversation without influencing our likes / dislikes?
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2017
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  6. Rihana

    Rihana Staff Member Finest Post Winner

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    I will be a bit candid here. We started talking with our child about what she wants to study, around late 7th grade. Happened because our friends and other adults used to ask her. So, we had many conversations and when we met a person who worked in a unique field, she asked questions. But, when it came to making decisions of the magnitude of IB or not, DH and I made the decision, and then guided child towards that decision. That has been the case for quite a few decisions.

    Unless the child has very strong opinions, or is very influenced by choices friends make, it is fairly easy for parent to "guide" the child towards the decision that parent thinks is best for the child.

    To decide between IB and regular school, I would talk with local high school parents, in particular parents of current juniors and seniors. Ask lot of questions like - once IB/regular is chosen for middle school, is it possible to change when entering high school. If you have some idea of where child might go to college, you could read up on how those colleges look at IB/regular.

    Tagging @Laks09
     
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  7. Induslady

    Induslady Administrator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Hi Rihana,

    Thank you for your candid response. It is probably fair to expect the kid by the end of middle school to have an idea of what they want to study. Till then try out various options and help them (as well ourselves) to figure what they would like and fit in best! Our child in fact is a very flexible child and that makes us even more conscious about making the right decisions for her :)

    Hi @BhumiBabe!

    Our neighborhood Middle school (public school) allows 2 electives in 6th grade. Physical fitness course is mandatory in 6th grade. Math placement are available for '6th grade Math / Accel Math / TAG Math / Math booster' depending on school districts Math Matrix. Are you referring to any other Pre-Ap courses that may be taken in Middle school besides Math?

    Speaking to a couple of parents they said, their kids took "Band & Theatre" (or) "Orchestra & Art" in 6th grade to explore what they like. Then in 7th & 8th grade, pretty much kept "Lang " as 1 elective and Band / Orchestra as the other elective. That way they got 1 language credit for High school.

    Can you please explain what is this native language test out a little more in detail? Can this be done for Indian languages? Is this done in MS, so you don't need to learn language in HS?
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2017
  8. silento

    silento Silver IL'ite

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    Thank you for this thread, it is helpful for parents whose kids are starting middle school.

    My son will start middle school this year. After going through different parent orientations, windstorm of information from other parents, I feel shaky treading through the uncharted territory.

    I have few questions and I hope I will get some insights:

    1) Band: My son has chosen one of his elective as Band. what if he does not continue for the next year? Will there be any kind of problem going to high school?
    2) SAT/ACT preparation : I understand it is not until High School, is it even necessary to worry about it until 8th/9th grade? If some preparation can be done, then are there any books/ websites that will give a head start?
    3) Foreign language requirements: Any prep work that needs to be done earlier?
    4) CBE exam to accelerate math in middle school :I have heard from 2 parents about this and is this even necessary for 6th grade? I do not wish to push my son in this matter as he is already registered for Gifted Math Category and that in itself might be challenging.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 16, 2017
  9. BhumiBabe

    BhumiBabe Gold IL'ite

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    If your son decides that he doesn't like band, or if he wants to change instruments, he is free to change without affecting his HS life. If you are unsure about his interest, you should consider renting the instrument or getting a cheaper one. Basically, what you do in middle school can help set up the opportunities in HS. If he starts band in middle school, he would have an easier time joining the HS band.

    Personally, I think it's too early to start in 6th or 7th. For 8th, learning algebra or higher math would help prepare him. You can introduce the SAT, if you want, but it's not really a must. I have seen students that only study for SAT/ACT 1 year and drastically improve their scores, while other students who prepared for a long time, and get stuck at same scores.

    What do you mean? As in, what can you prepare your middle schooler before they start a foreign language? not much, it's a pretty beginner class in middle school. In comparison, the amount of Spanish that is taught in 7th grade is equivalent to less than half a semester in college.
     
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  10. jskls

    jskls IL Hall of Fame

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    some take SAT in 8th grade just to know where they stand. Some talent search programs require SAT scores. See this
     
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