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Transitioning from Grade 8 to Grade 9

My son/ daughter is in grade eight they have a learning disability and we have to start picking classes for high school, and I do not know what to do? This is the most common introduction I get from parents. Many parents come to me wondering how to prepare their child for change, and transitioning into high education. Should I get a tutor? Not sure if they should go applied or academic? So many questions what is a parent to do?

From my observation most of the literature around parenting a child with a learning disability focus around the process and advocacy very few discuss the importance of transition. Transition, is a part of life as children get older they are going to move from one stage into another and we need to help and support them during this change. The expectations for students in elementary school are different in middle and severely change in high school. Here are some key factors to decide.

Applied versus Academic. The classic debate of of selecting applied or academic courses. In Ontario, students are required to pick courses in the applied or academic stream. Certain courses are prerequisites for post-secondary program. This is why its important to guide student on the course selection. Applied is a more hands on concrete approach whereas academic is a more abstract approach to learning. Both levels students will learn objectives in the curriculum, the delivery of the content will differ. There is a lot of stigma around applied classes, however to be clear students will learn the same objectives the method of assessment and instruction will differ.

If you are a parent and need more understanding helping your son or daughter with course selection, contact me and I will be glad to help.

Organization and Time Management Skills.

A grade nine student told me the one thing they wish someone had told them in middle school about grade nine is how quickly everything goes. Longer classes, multiple teachers, new routines there is a lot of big adjustments in high school. This is why organization and time management skills are essential. Many take for granted that students will learn their skills on their own. In many cases some learners may need guidance to demonstrate or an example of effective note taking.

Tips to stay organize.

Designate a specific colour for each class subject. i.e. Math notebook is red, English is Blue, Science is Yellow. Use a folders and binders that are the same material to organize handouts, or colour code class folders on devices. In a more digital age students should have a folder for the course subject which further contains folders for Assignments.

Plan study time and Fun time. Students also feel the pressure to perform, but developing a routine of when to study and work on assignments helps to take off the pressure. I always advise to students give yourself 5 days room for the final due date. High school will open the doors to a lot of clubs, events that allow students to meet new friends and discover new interest. Take advantage of what high school has to offer and get involved. Find the harmony between study time and fun.

There is a lot of emotions and feelings that arise with transitioning into higher education. All those feelings are normal and part of the process, just remember regardless what route you decide to take there is #NoLearningLimtis to what you can achieve.

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