The first day of school is especially challenging when it takes place at a new school or is part of another phase of your education. For rising first, sixth, and ninth graders, there is a lot more change happening than just new classes and teachers. It is a whole new world that can be scary and be a big adjustment.
St. Paul Lutheran School endeavors to help each child to grow spiritually, emotionally, intellectually, socially, and physically to the best of their God-given ability. We want to make sure students are ready for every phase of their education. In this guide, we are helping parents prepare their kids for the first, sixth, and ninth grades.
How to Prepare Students for First Grade
For parents, the emotional first day of school might be kindergarten. However, if your child is going to a new school, the first day of first grade might be more challenging.
1. Maintain an Open Dialogue About First Grade
Interpersonal learning is the process by which kids establish positive relationships with both themselves and other people. It's a popular issue amongst teachers, and many school districts are incorporating it into their curricula as well as encouraging parents to practice it at home.
You can learn more about your child's attitudes on attending school by talking about back-to-school. As well as any worries they might have, ask them what they are looking forward to and what interests them the most. Questions you might ask include:
- What excites you about the upcoming school year?
- In what subjects are you most interested?
- Do you know any friends from kindergarten going to your same school?
- What makes you nervous about the upcoming school year?
- Are you excited about how much more knowledge you’ll have at the end of the year? What are you hoping you’ll learn?
You might also offer stories about your first day of first grade and how you managed your emotions.
2. Read Books About Starting School
There’s no need to reinvent the wheel. There are many books designed to help give kids confidence about entering first grade.
Before your child goes to sleep, spend some time each night reading aloud to them and getting their thoughts and feelings about the impending school year. Reading these stories to your child is a wonderful way to encourage them to accept themselves as they begin their first week back at school.
3. Set Goals With Your Child
Even young students can set goals for the upcoming school year. Parents can help by showing children how to set goals and diligently pursue them. Your child's challenges, capabilities, and interests will determine specific goals, such as improving social skills, academic performance, and athletic performance.
In addition to setting goals, help make sure your first grader assesses their goals and achievements while learning how to make adjustments along the way.
4. Encourage Your Child
You are your child’s best cheerleader. Make sure they know you’re in their corner and are cheering for them every step of the way. Help them understand that it’s normal to be nervous but that there is plenty about which to be excited! Make everything an adventure, from school shopping to picking out school outfits. They will feed off of your excitement.
How to Prepare Students for Sixth Grade
This is not your child’s first first day of school, but it is the first day of middle school. Some kids will be thrilled, while others may be dreading it. Here’s what to do.
1. Practice Reading, Writing, and Math
As your child transitions to middle school, in their language arts classes, they will be reading a range of texts and themes in literature. Your child will produce more intricate narrative works, including personal narratives, novels, poems, and news articles. Have your child read and write for 15 minutes each day this summer to improve their reading and writing abilities.
Children who write on a regular basis will develop better research techniques for obtaining, analyzing, arranging, and conveying information. The more practice they can get during the elementary grades and throughout the summer before sixth grade, the more ready they will be for new reading and writing challenges.
Your child will study ratios, geometry, statistics, long division, and other topics in fifth-grade math. By demonstrating to your child how to use classroom arithmetic concepts to solve real-world situations, you can help prepare them for some of the math challenges they'll face in middle school.
To accomplish this:
- Ask your child to calculate the gratuity on the restaurant bill.
- Ask your child to calculate the ultimate cost of products while you are shopping, taking into account sales tax and discounts.
- Ask your child to help you calculate gas mileage when traveling during the summer.
These activities will help pupils improve their mathematical abilities both in the classroom and in practical applications.
2. Set Homework Expectations and Goals
From middle school onward, homework will become increasingly difficult. Getting behind will prove to compound over time, causing stress and anxiety. You can expect middle schoolers to average an hour to two hours of homework each night.
Ensure that your child has a quiet workplace that is well-lit, free from distractions, and well-stocked with school supplies. Television, phone, or websites other than those for your homework are considered distractions and should be eliminated. Regularly check in to make sure your child isn't getting distracted.
Set goals, assess performance, provide rewards, and encourage your middle schooler when they do well while providing patient correction when they struggle.
3. Help Establish a Routine
Establishing an effective routine is key to successfully navigating the middle school years. Your routine will have to work with your family’s schedule and your child’s personality. It should include:
- The use of physical and digital calendars
- Healthy meals
- Plenty of physical fitness and exercise
- Plenty of sleep
- All school assignments
- Opportunities to get ahead
- Athletics and extracurriculars
4. Reinforce Good Study Habits
Planning is essential when studying for exams because your middle schooler will now have numerous assignments from various teachers. Make sure you are aware of upcoming tests and that your child has adequate preparation time.
Together with your child, make a study schedule and help them estimate how much time they should allot to each test. Your child should be reminded to take notes in class, organize them according to the subject and review them each day at home.
How to Prepare Students for Ninth Grade
The start of ninth grade can certainly be an emotional time for students and parents. The first day of high school is the beginning of the end of your child’s pre-college educational journey. Many students will be attending an entirely new school and experience significantly more freedom than they’ve had in middle and elementary grades.
High school is a time when all of the lessons and ethics you’ve been teaching and reinforcing at home should start to come to fruition. Raising teenagers is exciting and nerve-wracking. You need as much to get ready for ninth grade as your student!
Nevertheless, here are a few ways to help your teen prepare for the first day of ninth grade.
1. Establish and Re-Establish Lines of Communication
Part of preparing your child for first grade included opening lines of communication. As your teenager begins ninth grade, parent/child communication is vital.
Even though it might be difficult to engage your teen in conversation, make sure they know you’re available. Don’t set out to fix every problem. These years, you will do a lot of listening and try to instill a little wisdom along the way.
2. Give Your Teens Freedom and Ownership
Your teenager will benefit from taking ownership over their education. While they still need a routine, calendar, organization, and expectations, free them to do their own planning and organizing. You will move into more of an oversight role.
3. Make Sure the Day Feels Like a Milestone
Beginning high school is a milestone - make sure your teen knows how important it is! Celebrate the first day of high school with a fancy dinner or something they will enjoy. This is the beginning of a series of milestones they will reach during their teenage years.
4. Do Something Fun!
Before high school begins in earnest, do something fun. Let your teenager choose an activity or a vacation location and just have a great time. Save all of your difficult school preparation conversations for another time and just enjoy each other’s company.
Choose the Right School for Preparing Kids for the Next Phases of School
St. Paul Lutheran School provides a high-quality academic experience for students in Kindergarten through eighth grades. In keeping with the primary mission of St. Paul Lutheran School, the Christian religion forms the center upon which all instruction is based. Each class opens daily with a brief devotion, followed by instruction in Christian doctrine and Biblical study.
The emphasis on high-quality academics, combined with doctrine and spiritual growth, helps us make sure students are prepared for every phase of their education and beyond. Throughout our sixty years of operation, we have been fortunate to see many students succeed in high school, college, and their careers.
If you would like to know more about how your child will thrive at St. Paul Lutheran School, please reach out to us today!