This summer was a stressful one in our household for a variety of reasons. My eldest son was clearly apprehensive about the big move from elementary school to middle school. This transition is quite a major worry for many kids but we managed to make it even worse for my son by pulling him out of his catchment middle school and placing him in a school where he knew no one.
My boys have always know that once they hit grade 7 they would leave their catchment school to come over to my school. I know that the middle school years are very difficult and that it's during these years that students make crucial friend choices. I also wanted to try and streamline our lives a little bit; my husband teaches at the high school, my youngest son is at an elementary school and having myself and my eldest son together would mean that we would only have to keep track of 3 school calendars instead of 4. Sometimes it's a bit much coordinating everyone's spirit days, assembly schedules, and shortened days.
I don't think I really realized how stressful the transition is for kids until my own son went through it. Towards the end of August, there was a constant barrage of questions. What is the block order? How will I know what class I have next? Where do I go for lunch? What about lockers? How do term electives work? I think it took my son two weeks to get into the groove of middle school. At the end of the first month, I asked him what he thought of middle school. The one comment that caught me off guard was that he mentioned that there is always something going on and sometimes it was difficult to keep track of everything. It's something to ponder, I think. Society comments on parents overscheduling their kids, but I wonder if the schools are also guilty of always having something on the go and trying to entertain.
The change was hard for me too. When I walk into school, I turn my 'home' brain off. It caught me off guard at the end of the day, to be called Mom. It was simply just out of context for me. And then the first few times I saw my son during school, I was surprised and found myself thinking, "Oh, right, you're here now". The most difficult part has been after school as my son is waiting to head home but that 30-45 minutes after school is when I get to chat with teachers about library time and projects.
We've figured out a balance and I must admit that I really do like having my son at my school and I think he enjoys being there. Though that all might go out the window once grade 8 hits.