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Middle School Musings

November 3, 2013

Sarah started middle school this year.  She is in sixth grade.  It is puzzling to me why our schools are structured in such a way.  It seems to me that there is enough going on…with puberty and such.  This is a turbulent time in life, and our institutions tip the world upside down.  This is when boundaries should be pushed, and when kids try on different personalities until they find one that fits.  Wouldn’t it be better if it were in a place where teachers and staff knew the kids already?  Wouldn’t it be better because if something changed, or went wrong and some kid was acting differently, (maybe withdrawn?  or maybe acting out?) then an adult would actually know that it was different?  It seems like adolescence is a time where there should be stability, and somebody near who a kid could trust.  There should be a “home base” that could serve as a community.  In a time when kids have to learn how to trust at a different level, shouldn’t there be a place to build that newly sophisticated trust?

Sarah is adjusting to middle school just fine.  She misses her elementary school A LOT.  She misses that feeling that she belongs someplace, and she misses being known.  Grading has changed to actual letter grades now, and 70% (I think…it could be 80%) is based on summative assessment….basically tests.  There are tests all the time.  Every week, and many times multiple tests in one day.  It is stressful for those who value their grades.  Sarah worries about it a lot, and is always online checking her grades.  I had to forbid her from doing that a couple of times….it becomes obsessive!

She has made a couple of new friends, as well.  Only two other people from her elementary school attend her new school, and they are good friends, but she continually worries about where to sit at lunch if there is no room by those few kids.  She has joined one club:  The Battle of the Books.  There will be a quiz-show type tournament this spring both school wide and district wide.  It should be fun!  I still have to require encourage her to go to special events like the sixth grade harvest party and a football game.  I do worry about her, but I try to stay on the sidelines as much as possible.  I know she will find her own way.  I just hope she comes to me if she needs someone.  I am hopelessly proud of the young woman she is becoming.  She is an amazing kid.  I just want her to be an amazingly HAPPY kid, too.

  1. November 4, 2013 3:46 pm

    Whee, here she goes! Document everything you can, it goes SO fast.

  2. November 4, 2013 9:18 pm

    I was thinking today that in 10 short years…and yes I did say SHORT….Sarah will be out of college. EEEEK!

  3. November 8, 2013 11:19 am

    Oh, middle school. I totally agree with you – it’s such a weird time and everything changes and it’s HARD. I do not envy anyone going through middle school. It sounds like you are aware of how she’s handling the changes and can I just say? I am jealous of such a cool club!

    • November 8, 2013 10:33 pm

      I know! They also have a book club called “Page Turners” that meets once a week, but I can’t get her to join that. She has choir on the same day and lord forbid if she gets too busy.

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