Don’t you just love freshmen?
They’re one of my favorite groups of students- a marvelous blend of big kid psyche and little kid sass, of sophistication and naiveté, of brilliance and idiocy. I taught them science for years, watching their morphosis from September until June. I can say, without a doubt, no one change as drastically in such a relatively short period of time as high school freshmen.
Here is my unsolicited advice for freshmen starting high school. (Freshmen, listen up!)
Keep a tight rein on your freshmen.
Parents, your kid may look more mature and responsible than ever—and s(he) could very well be—but the beginning of the school year is not the time to extend latitude.
Think of it this way…
EVERYTHING will be new!
New building, new schedule, new peers, new protocols, new classrooms, new locker, new principal, new teachers, new coaches, new clubs, new library…
And EVERYBODY, including the custodians, is older than the freshmen. That alone can be a shock to your system.
Especially after ruling the school in the eighth grade.
And you’re going to add new freedom on top of all that crazy adjusting that has to take place? I don’t think so.
Having familiar parameters for them creates a safe, predictable island in their tumultuous life where they won’t get blindsided. Familiar boundaries let freshmen know what they are supposed to do, and when they are supposed to do it. School may be mad new, but home expectations are comfortably unsurprising.
After the first successful report card, you can loosen the reins.
At this point, most freshmen will understand the building, their teachers, the library, their schedule, their locker (maybe not the locker), their peers (umm… and maybe not their peers), etc.
At this point, new freedoms can be more readily assimilated into the freshman lifestyle—now that the new school isn’t so new anymore, and high school life feels more manageable. As your freshmen become more savvy and can juggle time for group projects and long-term assignments with ease (despite navigating that new crush, and negotiating that mean kid) a satisfactory report card is proof s(he) is better prepared to make appropriate independent decisions.