Preparing for High School

If you have a child just leaving middle school and looking forward to high school, be sure that your child is adequately prepared. High school has a unique distinction of being the first time many of the decisions your child makes can impact her years into the future. One missed opportunity in her first months of school and she might have trouble getting into her first choice university a few years later.

Understanding Pass and Fail
In many elementary and intermediate schools, pass and fail are somewhat vague concepts. A child can fail his coursework, attend a few weeks of summer school and still be promoted. Or he might be socially promoted because he’s too old to be a seventh grader. Social promotions and short bursts of summer school no longer apply in high school and children who have relied on these methods to keep them up with classmates will struggle.

In high school, passing a course counts for a credit. You must have a certain number of credits to move on to the next grade level. No credits – no promotion. With a limited number of options in summer school, many surprised freshmen are still freshmen a year later. Even with a concerted effort the next year, however, there simply isn’t much the students can do fix their GPAs or their chances for prestigious university careers following graduation.

Homework Increases
High school courses will include homework. And there is a strong possibility that the work outside of the classroom will begin before your child steps foot in the class. Look for summer reading lists and be sure your child has a copy of the book in question. Read it and drill your child on the content. Many schools hand students a quiz over the reading within the first week of school fully expecting them to have read the book as assigned.

After that point, readings are just as intense and work will increase in other courses as well. It is not uncommon for a high school student to have hours of homework each night to study and prepare for courses, tests and reading assignments. This is especially true of advanced placement or honors courses. The intensity of the work is simply a fact of life as students prepare for careers and university work.