When my oldest daughter transitioned from elementary school to middle school, I was a nervous wreck. I worried about her making friends in a new environment, keeping up with her responsibilities, adjusting to the expectations of so many different teachers, and I was nervous about her riding her bike home from school by herself.
Fast forward three years, and now it’s time for my son to transition from elementary school to middle school. This time around, it’s a whole different story. I did a little dance in the parking lot on his last day of elementary school.
Don’t get me wrong. Elementary school was a wonderful experience for my son. He had wonderful teachers, and he made really great friends. My son had incredible opportunities like being on the school news crew and participating in our school district’s art show. I truly have no complaints, and yet I am not sad to see this chapter of his life come to an end. Middle school is a much better fit for this low-key mom than elementary school.
Five reasons why middle school beats elementary school (unless you’re a Pinterest perfect mom, in which case you can stop reading right now):
- No more spirit week! The middle school my children attend does not have crazy hair day or tacky Tuesday or anything else that requires me to plan my children’s wardrobe or purchase anything in advance. I never have to wake up half an hour early to spray paint anyone’s hair or dress them like senior citizens.
- The take home folder with umpteen flyers per week advertising after school clubs and parent nights are a thing of the past. In middle school, students are expected to keep up with the information that pertains to them and pass it along to their parents. My kitchen counter is no longer cluttered with the papers that caused thousands of trees to sacrifice their lives.
- Middle school does not have fundraiser frenzy. I know all middle schools are not the same, but I really hope this one holds true for you. Elementary school felt like an overload of requests for money. My son’s elementary school had fundraisers for: PTA, the art department, Pre-K’s graduation ceremony, school patrols’ overnight trip, the American Heart Association, fifth grade’s end of the year party, and more. I personally believe in financially supporting my children’s educational endeavors, but the requests can be overwhelming. My daughter’s middle school has one fundraiser per year, and even it requires minimal effort. I can breathe a sigh of relief for a few years until my little one starts elementary school.
- In middle school, the kids shoulder the responsibility. My middle school daughter is responsible for her own homework and special projects. I do not sign an agenda to acknowledge the assignments she has. She takes care of her homework, and the consequences for how well she handles that responsibility are hers. This part of growing up was difficult for both of us at first. My daughter forgot quite a few homework assignments (and still does from time to time), and I struggled with not being aware of all her assignments and their due dates. Over time, though, we adjusted, and I feel that this added responsibility is just an important part of growing up.
- I saved the best one for last. All my worries were unfounded. My daughter had a wonderful experience in middle school. She hasn’t dealt with “mean girl’ behavior, and she always made it home safely on her bike. I expected her to be excited to start high school, but she actually cried on her last day of middle school because she doesn’t want to leave. I can’t think of a better testament to a positive experience.
Now that I know that I know I have no reason to worry about middle school, I can spend what should be my carefree summer time wringing my hands over what pitfalls my family will face as we venture into the world of high school.