1. U.S. Elementary Education : What Parents Need to Know
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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 Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    In addition to what BB and jskls said:
    No problems. Middle school is a good time to try out band/orchestra. Child and parent can decide if child will continue it in high school. Some also change instrument after a semester or year. Taking band/orchestra in high school means they cannot take another elective (in most schools). Typically, in HS, band/orchestra continues for 4 years. So, one period each day is taken up by that. And sometimes, that can mean child cannot take an AP subject that requires two periods daily. Varies from school to school.
    Around the start of 8th grade, it is better to take stock of where child stands in writing. If needed, get outside help, and continue that year long, regularly. For reading, check around March/April of 8th grade.. ask the teacher how child is doing. Check what kind of help, if any, child needs. Teachers can suggest good resources. For my child, who is not a very voracious reader, I use two websites: ReadWorks.org | The Solution to Reading Comprehension ,
    Newsela | Nonfiction Literacy and Current Events These are to improve reading comprehension, and to have him accumulate examples, events, and some opinions, that will be needed later when writing essays. If we had time, I would have liked him to also work on a vocab book -- 10-20 words each week.

    SAT/ACT score can be needed for some summer camps in the summer after 8th, 9th (such as those offered by JHU-CTY and top universities). It can also be a good practice without the pressure of having to score well. IMO, unless planning to use the score for something like a summer program application, it is overkill to take that exam in middle school. Prep work - the reading, writing work mentioned above covers it. For math, doing good in school math is sufficient.

    Nothing. If foreign language is offered in the middle school, take it. Either they can skip a year of FL in HS, or they get a headstart. If child struggles in foreign language, only then external help need be taken. When choosing tutor, choose one who will help child master the FL as it is taught in school. And to score well in school. Learning a language is a vast ocean. Child cannot master everything. For example, excellent spoken fluency or being extremely good in conversational Spanish/French/Mandarin/Korean/etc is not needed.

    In most school districts, there are set paths and exams for child to be placed in accelerated/honors math or to skip a year of math. Find out that criteria. Follow that and help child prepare child for that exam/test. Being in Gifted Math program might or might not mean being placed in the appropriate math level. Here is one school's process for accelerated math: Testing/Assessment / Middle School Math Credit by Exam for Acceleration (without prior instruction) If your school's is something similar, then it is a math test worth considering. Typically, the later you test, the harder it gets. That being said, if child is sufficiently challenged and not bored with regular grade level math, stick with it.

    General disclaimer: If parent or child is very keen on child getting into a top-10 or top-5 college, then, maybe a little more rigor and prep is needed starting from 7th grade itself.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2017
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  2. Rihana

    Rihana Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    @IL_Admin, this is a very useful thread BhumiBabe has started, and it is getting good questions and responses that will be help many parents. Can it be made a sticky thread? Thanks.
     
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  3. jskls

    jskls IL Hall of Fame

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    In middle school Some kids take extra math programs outside school that could supplement school learning. in our school system lvl 1 math is linked to lvl 1 science so kids who get selected for lvl1 math automatically get placed in equal level for science. Again it depends on child's interest. If not during regular school year even summer programs in Math enrichment definitely helps middle schoolers.

    SAT/ACT scores in middle school level helps in applying for online/in-college summer programs for middle/HS kids at some universities. Once in HS exposure to these courses gives them a head start. It also helps in identifying kids interest and strengths.
     
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  4. satchitananda

    satchitananda IL Hall of Fame

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    Hi BhumiBabe,

    I am not a regular in this forum, but came today thanks to @Rihana who has nominated your thread and am I glad! :)

    It is really fascinating to see how different the school system in the US is from that in India. Probably there is no comparison. I don't mean that in terms of standard of education but with respect to approach and opportunities that kids have at various stages.

    I particularly like the idea of kids having the opportunity in middle school to try out various interests until they find something of their liking. Yes, they might be too young for that, but that is precisely why such an opportunity might help. Better than pfaffing around later on trying to figure out what one really likes doing.

     
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  5. silento

    silento Silver IL'ite

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    Thank you all for taking the time providing such detailed information. It means so much for new parents wanting to make decisions and not sure where to look. I am going through the links provided and it will give me new venues to think about. After this I am sure, I will come back for more clarification.

    Have a good day, everyone.
     
  6. Induslady

    Induslady Administrator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    BhumiBabe, may I call for your attention to answer this question?
     
  7. Induslady

    Induslady Administrator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    I understand the need for accelerating if the child is not challenged enough, getting bored and by himself/herself wants to learn more.

    But why am I hearing so much about acceleration in MS, earning credits in MS for HS, then earning credits in HS for college, etc.? I feel I am hearing more of this among Indians (Asians) and its becoming more like a parent/peer pressure on the kids!

    I hear from a Public school in the neighborhood say, if a child takes Accelerated Math (7th Grade) in 6th Grade, he/she can do Pre-algebra in 7-th grade. Another Charter school says they are already offering Pre-algebra in 7-th grade as part of their regular curriculum, but if the child does some online program during summer and completes it, he/she will do Algebra1 in 7th grade. Now why such skipping grades on few subjects?

    Does accelerating like this in MS, help take any additional core subjects in HS, which otherwise could not be done?
     
  8. silento

    silento Silver IL'ite

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    Ever since we registered DS for middle school, we have been hearing about accelerations in Math mainly from Asian parents. Now I am a novice parent, trying to seek information about the same and this is what I have heard. The single reason being that if the child takes Accelerated Math (7th Grade) in 6th Grade, they can take Geometry in 7th Grade and this will give them a edge in SAT exams.
     
  9. silento

    silento Silver IL'ite

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    Thank you. In reference to "summer programs in Math enrichment definitely helps" do you have suggestions of good websites providing the service? Even the paid ones are fine.
     
  10. Laks09

    Laks09 Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    @Rihana - Thanks for the tag. You've so much to share yourself. I generally get information from you. I don't think I have any new inputs when you are around :)

    @Induslady - I teach my daughter math so I can answer your math question. Now this is completely TX based. I'm not sure how other states work. Getting into honors math usually happens when they transition from 5th to 6th. It's usually recommended by the teacher and has to be based on MAP scores and class grade.
    If the child gets recommended it's one grade level ahead. So yes some kids do Algebra 1 (pre Algebra)in the 8th grade.
    Now some parents choose to have their kids CBE(Credit by exam) a math class. If the child is already in honors math, end of 7th grade they write an exam equivalent of Algebra 1 finals (regular not honors) and skip Algebra 1 in 8th. They start off with Honors Geometry 1. According to me CBE is a bad idea. I could never teach an entire year's Honors Algebra 1 curriculum with daily assignments/tests etc the way it's done in class. I could teach someone to pass the CBE exam with emphasis on passing the exam but then the high school math teacher tells me they have a hard time in the Pre Calculus class because they haven't sat through an honors Algebra 1 class. If the kids CBE they are essentially learning two grade levels ahead and according to me it is not necessary. My pet peeve is not having integrated math. So many things overlap between branches, it makes no sense to do it one at a time. Private schools have integrated math/science and was one of the reasons I wanted my DD to switch to a private school in HS. She decided against it and is happy where she is.

    IB vs AP - We let her decide. She was very clear on why she chose IB. I prefer the regular AP HS but in our state the AP workload is much higher than IB. It's the reverse in NJ and a couple of others. The schools do offer sessions on both and kids and parents get an opportunity to visit both schools and then make a decision.

    From a middle school perspective, our focus was to make her as independent as possible. We worked towards self advocacy and diplomacy. A lot of honors courses etc are based on teacher recommendations and I feel the kids have to learn to be street smart and build some kind of rapport with the teachers.
    Regarding advocating for the kids, each child is different. I'm sure my son will need me to go do it for him. In her case, we just got her to resolve issues with coaches and teachers herself. We just gave her tips on how to talk to the teacher and what to tell them etc. She is very impulsive and impatient and we are hoping by the time she gets to college these skills are honed.

    Foreign language is a must to graduate HS in TX. They need three yrs of it in HS. If they do it in middle school, they have Spanish 1 splint between 7th and 8th grade. They will require only two more years of language to graduate. They always have the option of doing all three years in HS.

    Band/Orchestra/Choir and moving between these are all possible in MS. If they find their true calling they can even continue it in HS.

    Debate/theater are good ones to try in MS. It's a nice way of knowing if you want to pursue it in HS.

    Athletics - Mine played two sports in MS and is now playing one in HS. If the kids are athletically inclined then it's a good option to use to try out the various sports. HS sports teams are competitive so the recommendation is to play with a private club to maintain endurance and get into a HS team. I'm not a fan of these coaches but my kid lives for their approval and so she does what she has to in order to stay in the team. If kids aren't playing sports they do need two years of PE in MS and a year of PE in HS.
     
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