GETTING READY FOR HIGH SCHOOL
by Louise Hajjar Diamond
High school brings back special memories for each of us. High school
students struggle with personal identity, fitting in a social group,
peer pressure and of course the stress of academic studies. They also
are concerned with dating, driving, and figuring what they will do
once high school is over.
high school experiences may have life-long consequences. Many of the
choices students make in high school will lead them into adult habits
and situations. Students still need direction and guidance from teachers,
counselors, and most of all from their parents.
are a few ways parents can provide support and guidance to their kids
who are about to enter high school.
- Promote the importance of education.
would agree that when education is promoted and supported by parents,
student achievement is higher. Parents need to remain active in
their childrenĄs education, even through the teen years. Preteen
and teenagers still need the guidance of their parents in making
crucial educational decisions. Obviously, parental involvement will
differ from the preschool and elementary years. Parents of students
about to enter high school will need to become informed about their
childĄs performance in school and learn about high school options.
- Learn about high school graduation
and begin thinking about post-secondary education. Unlike elementary
and middle school, high school grade point averages are cumulative.
Stress to your children that the grades that they earn, as a freshmen
are as important as any other year when applying to colleges or
post secondary education programs. Parents should stay in contact
with their childĄs teachers and counselor to help students stay
- Select the high school and the program
are many factors in choosing a high school program for your child.
The selection process should actively involve both the student and
the parent. Consider your childĄs study habits and interests. You
may want to explore the possibility of a magnet program if your
child has a particular interest. School districts offer various
programs and have varying application requirements and deadlines.
When selecting a high school and program, you and your teen will
need to consider the options and resources the school or program
has to offer. Consider the academic options such as advanced placement
course availability, and other programs such as art, music, and
Parents and teens should visit the school
or program before enrolling and making course selections. Meeting
with a program coordinator or guidance counselor will prove to be
an invaluable investment. High school students will have opportunities
in high school to tailor their course selections to their individual
needs, goals, abilities, and interests. Most schools offer honors,
advanced placement, special education, remedial courses as well as
a variety of electives, both academic and vocational. Electives should
be chosen with future goals in mind. Parents should listen carefully
to their children so not to impose their own interests on them while
remaining supportive and objective. Parents can assist their teens
into making selections that will be most beneficial to the individual
student. To learn more about high school programs and options, you
can visit your school districtĄs website.
- Peers are important. Being a parent of a middle school student,
you are already aware of the influence of peers in your childĄs
life. Some kids do things in direct contrast to the beliefs parents
have hoped to instill in order to be accepted by peers. None of
us dealing with preteens and young teens should ever underestimate
the value of peer pressure.
The good news is, peer pressure can be positive. The peer group your child has
in high school may shape the direction of your son or daughterĄs success
in school and in early adulthood. Encourage your kids to be involved
in positive activities, both during school and during their free time.
Young people can influence each other to keep their grades up, stay
away from drugs, try out for a play or sport, and become leaders in
Communication with your child during the preteen
and teen years may be more crucial than ever. Be a good model and
remain a constant in his or her evolving life. Get to really know
your child and his or her friends.
can assist their kids with the transition from middle to high school
by being informed and offering guidance and support. Acknowledge that
this is a major step from childhood to adulthood. The most important
goal of high school is to graduate with purpose and an action plan
for the future. Parents and students are encouraged to talk to a guidance
counselor to explore options. High school is the beginning of your
childĄs future. Encourage your son or daughter to take charge now,
and be your childĄs fundamental support.
(Louise Hajjar Diamond
is a guidance counselor, freelance writer and mother of two. To reprint
this article, e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.)