But what if you fly? My daughter is the nervous type. The nervous type with a special education diagnosis, sees a therapist, and, honestly, has been on medication for anxiety for over a year.
Starting high school sounded like the worst event on the planet for her.
Even with all my daughter’s special education needs aside, starting high school is nerve-wracking for any of our children. But what if I fail? I had to assure her it would be alright; her older sibling had paved the way. We would get through this transition to high school together, and she would fly.
To help her launch, I came up with five high school hacks.
1. Lunch Waves
The cafeteria is the social scene for the high schooler. Some kids love it; my kids hate it. Guess what, my child? You don’t have to eat in the lunchroom if you don’t want to. This might depend on the school, but our high school allows students to have a “quiet lunch” in the library. They also can eat in a sensory-sensitive interim room for students. Some teachers allow students to eat inside their classroom while they work on a project. There are alternatives to the lunch room.
2. Study Hall
I cannot stress enough how important having a study hall on a kid’s schedule is. We learned this the hard way. We packed the schedule with electives that sounded fun. There are four years of high school and plenty of time to complete all the necessary course credits to graduate. A study hall allows for downtime to quietly get work done, chill, listen to music, and have a snack.
Make sure it’s there! All work and no play; let them still be kids. New activities can be frightening; honestly, my second child is still struggling to find non-anxiety-producing fun in her high school life. For many kids, this fun is found in sports activities, being involved in arts like theatre or band, and joining many high school clubs. All of these help the transition to high school.
My two high school students have IEPs and have supports in place already, but this is a good idea to implement for all kids. Every student is assigned a school counselor, and I highly recommend the children meet their said counselor as soon as their high school career begins. Counselors can help with class loads, social needs, and implementing everything else on my list here. A counselor’s open door has been crucial for my children.
5. Know Study Habits
This one comes from my seventeen-year-old, know how you best study. Is it by repetition? Listening to a teacher lecture? Reading the material? Find out how your child best learns and retains information. It will be needed much more in high school compared to middle or elementary school. Don’t wait until the coursework gets harder and your child scrambles.
Also, an additional tidbit from my incoming senior, be prepared for the high school hallways. They are loud, they are cramped, they get congested, and you get lost. Please go if your school allows students to find their lockers before the first day of school. We missed it once. We will never miss it again. It’s a great idea to walk their schedule that day too.