Educational Preparedness: High School

The door of educational possibilities opens wide once students transition to high school.  It’s an exciting moment for teens to reach a milestone of greater independence and life-altering pathways. More than ever, teens need parental support to navigate changes and guide them in decisions that set the stage for life beyond high school.

Establishing Study Habits

Middle school offers a stepping stone to organizational and time-management skills.  Homework journals, for instance, provide a one-method system to maintain next-day, short-term, and long-term assignments. Not all methods work; however, finding practical tools and strategies ease stress and save time.  By ninth grade, teens should:

  • Choose one format to record assignments, whether using a notebook, calendar, or phone. Confirm completion through a check-mark, and add tasks to finish short- and long-term assignments.
  • Maintain a study schedule and determine the best location to study without distraction.
  • Reflect on strengths and weaknesses and set attainable goals. Determine how to resolve procrastination.
  • Use a variety of study strategies, such as writing in bold colors to emphasize words, rewriting notes, talking or reading aloud, using a tape recorder, learning SQ3R and Cornell Note-Taking methods, or listening to audiobooks.
  • Set a schedule, which includes breaks and days off. Determine how many extracurricular activities eliminate time with family, friends, and self.  Preparing for high school requires smart decisions, and the word, “No,” on occasion.

The Independent Teen

By the age of 13, teens seek greater freedoms and the opportunity to make choices.  Open conversations provide the best moments to praise successes, while talking through mistakes and disappointments.  Guidance isn’t necessarily advice.  Through questions, parents can lead teens to look beyond blame, discover answers, and grow in remarkable ways.

Two essential conversations include:

  • Defining the expectations of friendship. By having a high expectation, teens will not surrender to bad or declining relationships, and gain loyal relationships.
  • Encourage the connection and value of every assignment, task, effort, or goal to your child’s life. The reputation of a strong work ethic begins with dependability and leads to leadership.

By talking openly and answering honestly, teens need to know they can come to their parents, regardless of the situation or time of day.

Address Good Health

Roughly one out of six members of the world’s population are adolescents, ranging in age from 10 to 19.  In today’s world, preteens and teens need to be fully aware of the following topics:

  • Alcohol, tobacco, drugs, and other addictive substances.
  • Physical activity, nutrition, and a healthy diet.
  • Unprotected sex, STDs, and rape.
  • Interpersonal violence
  • Healthy versus dysfunctional relationships
  • Cyberbullying and Internet predators.
  • Stress and sleep.
  • Feeling positive.

As a stepping stone into high school, teens need to be fully aware of the dangers that can impact their mental, emotional, and physical well-being.  Addressing difficult topics will help when challenges surface.  As conversations blossom to other areas, teens can strive for balance well into adulthood.

Exposure to Extracurricular Activities

Opportunities will arrive to learn a life skill or potential hobby.  It is the one time in life where being a student allows time to invest in new passions.  Encourage your child to learn a foreign language, take a class in creative writing, quilting, or learn to play an instrument!  In almost every extra-curricular activity, group dynamics offer opportunities to solve problems and engage in various forms of public speaking or writing skills. Through experiences, rising ninth-graders will feel more comfortable contributing in large groups or upper-level classes.

Community Involvement

The résumé of one’s adulthood begins well before the first job.  Students obtain accomplishments through grades, athletics, extra-curricular activities, and acts of participation.  Students may enjoy the interaction of a group, reaching goals, or helping to support a cause.  Volunteering within the community, and even state-wide, helps students discover how to create a positive impact on society.  Help your teen find a passion within the neighborhood, community, or school!

The freshman year represents more than just attending classes, taking tests, and interacting with friends.  It’s one year to consider a pathway, whether it’s attending college or a trade school, joining the military or the workforce.  Teens are by no means alone in their thought process.  Guidance comes from teachers and instructors, grandparents and parents, older siblings, influential adults, and friends.

Next Month:  Educational Preparedness Beyond High School


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