Friday, August 24, 2012

Starting Middle School

Sorry for the long silence this week, I’ve been one busy mama with the boys starting school. As for my boys, well I’m happy to report that things are fantastic! All three started school on Wednesday, and with my youngest crying the day before about not wanting to go to school, you can imagine my surprise when he came home with giggles and a huge smile! 

As for my oldest, his middle school transition couldn’t have gone better! He was definitely stressed going in, but once there he fell in love with his first period teacher (who was a former kindergarten teacher). He’s also embraced the new freedoms middle school has to offer and likes changing classes throughout the day. Thanks to our 504 plan, we grouped his first 4 classes with 2 teachers & classrooms, allowing the transition from elementary to middle school to be easier. Next, the principal placed him in the Study Skills class we wanted so he could do his homework at school with the help of 2 teachers in a small group setting. This has been very encouraging to my son and even if he has a little homework left after school, he has a better attitude from the start since he’s accomplished so much at school. 

The only challenge for him has been another boy in P.E. who has targeted my son from the first day. He’s been pushing him around, threatening to throw punches at him and cussing him out. My son has been working on staying strong and holding his ground without being abusive back. We’ll be keeping a close eye on that!

The most amazing aspect has been the total shift in my kids, they’ve been so good this week! I mean REALLY good. They’ve been respectful, patient, obedient and just plain fun. At dinner one night we got to experience our kids in a way we haven’t in months—as the boys giggled and shared stories from their day, I was tearing up from joy and my husband whispered to me, “I don’t want this meal to end!” It’s obvious now that the long summer days, too much time together and the growing anxiety over school starting completely unglued them! 

Looking back on the comment section from my last post, I think Meg predicted our success this week when she said:

It is the end of the summer and all kids are wild as March Hares right now. It's like taming wild beasts to get them back into a routine. Things will settle down as school begins and you can see how it all sifts out. At least then your other sons have some place else to go all day and some structure and something else to focus on. Then you can see what is really going on with the oldest.”

Seeing my son now, you’d never guess what happened a week ago—he’s thriving and most definitely not in need of a group home. I think one of my favorite things I came across this week was a notebook that he’s been working on. It’s a book of instructions for his younger brothers to read someday when they prepare to go to middle school. He proudly allowed me to share a few tips he wrote:

Last Day of Summer:The last day of summer is important, it tops off how your summer went. Sadly for me, I had doctors appointments, hopefully yours will be better. Everyone is nervous or stressed today, here’s a tip to help! (Tip #6): Stop thinking about it and think of all the fun you’ll have! 
First Day of School:You’ll feel nervous when you get there, but once you get to class and you’re there for a minute then you’ll love it! (If you get Mrs. Hill) If you feel nervous after your first period here are some tips to help (Tip #7): Find a friend. (Tip# 8): Go to the bathroom or get a drink. (Tip # 9): Find your next class. At lunch period just follow everyone else, sit by a friend and eat lunch. 
Second Day and Dealing with Bullies:The second day is the same as the first, but you’ll start getting use to the schedule. (Tip #10): 7th graders are handy friends, they can give you other tips on how to survive 6th grade. 
If there’s a bully at your school, stand your ground and don’t let him get to you.
Example (this really happened to me):
Bully: “Your face is so fake it makes Barbie’s look real.”
You: “Oh! You play with Barbies?” (then look away)
Reading this, I feel confident that my son is doing just fine right now. It’s such a good feeling.

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Thanks again to everyone who reached out after my last post, it really helped me through a tough time!


5 comments:

  1. ha i remember my first day of high school not sure how it works in america but over here year 8 is the start of high school we don't have middle school. anyway i convinced my mum not to walk me in which was a big mistake because i got lost straight away and had to ask a year 12 for directions. So embarrasing!

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    1. LOL! Thanks for sharing Raven, I’m so glad that I don't have to go through these school years again!

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  2. So glad your back-to-school experience has been so positive. And I just love your son's tips for his brother--so sweet, and great ideas, too!

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  3. Love that your son is "journaling" by creating a guide book for his brothers. I bet it helped him process some of the confusion of starting middle school.

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    1. You're right, I think it was helping him process it!

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