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Is Your Child Ready for High School?

< School Success

Is Your Child Ready for High  School?

Why is it important to be ready for high school?
High school students cope with many pressures. In addition to academics, high school students struggle with personal identity, fitting into a social group, and peer pressure. They are also concerned with dating, driving, and planning for life after high school.

You can help your child navigate these challenging years by being prepared. There are many educational options in high school. With preparation, you and your child can create a plan that fits your child's needs, learning styles and post-high school goals.
  • Visit the high school your child plans to attend before you select classes or programs for your child.
  • Find out about the academic programs your child's high school offers, such as advanced placement, vocational, honors, and remedial education.
  • Find out about the academic programs your child's high school offers, such as advanced placement, vocational, honors, and remedial education.
  • Discuss all the options with your child, and find out what his or her interests are.
  • Help your child select electives that match his or her interests and career goals.
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How can I support my child in high school?
Your child needs guidance and support from you as he or she goes through high school. You can:
  • Communicate that education is important and that you expect him or her to continue to do well in school.

  • Provide guidance as he or she makes important decisions about classes to take and activities in which to be involved.

  • Be knowledgeable about graduation requirements and college entrance requirements so you can help your child take appropriate classes in high school.

  • Keep the lines of communication open so you will be aware of problems with schoolwork and friends.

  • Stay in touch with your child's teachers and counselors to help him or her stay on track.

  • Make sure your child knows that a grade point average is cumulative in high school and the grades earned in 9th grade are just as important as those earned in 12th grade. The better your child's high school grades, the more options he or she will have after high school.

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What academic skills should my child have?
By the end of middle school your child should have a solid foundation of academic knowledge that he or she can now build on with more challenging high school courses. At a minimum, your child should be able to:
  • Read at or near grade level. If your child still struggles with reading by the time he or she enters high school, it will be difficult to catch up. Continue to encourage reading at home throughout the high school years.

  • Perform basic math skills. Your child should be able to do basic addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, and use a protractor, ruler and calculator. Math skills are important for success in both math and science classes.

  • Demonstrate basic English skills. Your child should be able to write a simple paragraph that includes a topic sentence and a supporting sentence, using correct punctuation.  He or she should also be able to write legibly.

Throughout high school your child should take courses that challenge and interest him or her, to prepare for college-level work.

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What other skills should my child have?
Social and emotional skills are also important to your child's success in high school. He or she needs both relationship skills and personal discipline skills.

Skills in relating to others:
  • Respect for diversity;
  • An understanding of his or her own limitations;
  • The ability to cope with stress;
  • Responsibility for his or her own decisions;
  • An understanding that attitude can affect his or her life; and
  • The ability to modify behavior based on feedback from others.
Skills in personal discipline:
  • Time management skills;
  • Good study habits;
  • The ability to set attainable goals;
  • The ability to stay focused in class;
  • Good note-taking;
  • The ability to complete homework (and turn it in);
  • Organizational skills;
  • Motivation to learn and work hard; and
  • Commitment to his or her education.
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How can I help my child move into education and training after high school?
In today's job market, education and training beyond high school is increasingly important. Even if your child doesn't want to attend college, he or she should take college-level courses in high school.

By doing so, your child keeps post-high school options open, and can more easily attend community college, vocational school or a four-year college.

Basic college preparatory classes include:

4 years of English
3-4 years of Mathematics
2-3 years of Science (Biology, Chemistry, Physics)
2-3 years of a Foreign Language
2-3 years of History and Geography
1 year of Visual and Performing Arts

For more information:
  • Adventures in Education
  • Family Education Network

  • Are You Ready for High School? (Jefferson High School, Daly City, CA)
  • Choosing and Planning Courses (Adventures in Education, Undated)
  • Getting Ready for High School (American School Counselor Association, 2002)
  • Getting Ready: Taking the Right Courses for College Starts in Middle School (Getting Ready for College Early, U.S. Department of Education, 2000)
  • Moving from Middle to High School (Family Education Network, Undated)
  • Prepare at School (Minnesota Higher Education Office, Undated)
  • Student's Planning Guide (Minnesota Higher Education Office, Undated)
  • Top 10 Skills for High School Students (Family Education Network, Undated)