How to Help Your Child Take On Freshman Year

Nia Hendricks
What parents need to know about the transition from middle school to high school. 

It seems like parenting is a never-ending series of twists and turns. As soon you get one routine down — bam! It’s onto a new milestone, a new challenge, a new school, or a new grade level. One transition that can certainly keep you on your toes is the jump from middle school to high school.

Your freshman year may feel like another lifetime ago. So, we turned to the people who are interacting with hundreds of high school students every day — our secondary teachers — to find out what you can do to help your child transition to ninth grade and take on high school with grace and confidence.

Take freshman year seriously.

“I always hear upperclassmen say when they graduate that they wished they took 9th grade more seriously… so parents and [freshmen] should be careful to plan their classes appropriately. Sometimes they bite off more than they can chew with the rigor of classes they sign up for in high school.” —Stephanie Saavedra, Secondary Language Arts Teacher
A parent’s influence is more impactful than anything.

Be the spiritual leader you want to see your child become.

“A parent’s influence is more impactful than anything teachers could ever do... Do you want your child to have a love for the Word of God? Then you have that love. Let them see you commit to a church community, serve the Lord, study, and pray. Do you want your child to obey God’s commands? Then you must obey them first. Do you want your child to be forgiving? Then be humble and forgive yourself. Teenagers follow more of what they see than what they hear.” —Tina Reeder, Dietetics & Home Management Teacher & HS Discipleship

Help your child develop a plan.

“It’s important to develop a long-term view of high school with your student. Before freshman year begins, I encourage parents to have a talk with their children about maintaining a healthy balance in their schedule. Take some time to set a few goals and priorities that will guide them toward spiritual, academic, and social success in the years to come. Calvary Christian Academy offers an amazing variety of opportunities for students. A healthy balance between academics and extracurriculars is important, and your student will need your wisdom and guidance in achieving the right balance for them. —Matthew Ozolnieks, Secondary Social Studies Teacher
No matter what they tell you, they need you close by and connected.

Continue to be involved and present.

“Maintain a healthy balance of involvement and freedom in your child's life. No matter what they tell you, they need you close by and connected; and no matter what fear you feel, failure is a great teacher — especially since they have you as a safety net right now!” —Mike Leger, Secondary Bible Teacher

There will be a lot more for your child to manage in high school.

“Help your student prioritize! High schoolers love to be involved in everything, but sometimes having conversations with them and helping them get to a place where they can say ‘no’ to some activities will help them tremendously in the long run. Find those one or two extracurricular activities that they are really passionate about so they can commit and do those well! Help them learn to manage their time so that they can enjoy their family, friendships, extracurriculars, and still keep up with school work. If your child can start to learn this skill in 9th grade they will be way ahead of the curve!” —Katlyn Cervone, Fine Arts Production Coordinator

Before you know it, your child will be walking across the graduation stage and onto the next big chapter of life. Your support and your presence has a greater impact than you could ever know. Cherish these exciting and sometimes challenging next four years with your teen — it will all be worth it!
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