Choosing the right classes in middle school
In elementary school your child learned basic reading, writing, and math skills. Your child will build on these basic skills in middle school. In most middle schools, students may not have a choice about the classes they take. However, different levels of math and language arts are typically offered. Encourage your child to select academically challenging classes and to work hard. The courses your child takes starting as early as 8th grade can have a significant effect on choices after high school graduation.
When students enter middle school, they are probably not thinking about what they will be doing after high school. As a parent, you can help choose classes that prepare for any post-high school option available. Even if your child does not end up going to college, the skills learned in high school by taking a college preparatory course of study will also act as preparation for the world of work. Everyone in every kind of work needs to be able to write and speak clearly, listen carefully, understand what is written and spoken, and use math effectively.
The subjects your middle school child will most likely study in preparation for high school include:
- English, science, social science. Together with math, these make up the basic academic classes students take every year.
- Algebra and geometry. Although students may wait until high school to take algebra, many eighth graders complete Algebra 1 and take geometry as a freshman in high school. Algebra and geometry are the foundation for high school math and science.
- Foreign language. Many colleges require at least two years of a foreign language for admission. Even if the middle school does not require these classes, learning a second language early creates more opportunities and increases proficiency.
- Computer classes. Basic computer skills are now required in college and on most jobs. Make sure your children take advantage of the opportunities the middle school offers to use computers and learn new skills.
- The Arts. Most
middle schools offer classes in art, music, theatre, etc. These classes
can help your children explore outside interests and broaden their
understanding and appreciation of the world. The arts also contribute significantly
to intellectual development.