The common myth is that grades don’t matter until the student reaches high school, but the reality is that a student’s performance in middle school can have a profound impact on how they will do the last four years before graduation.

There is a big difference between elementary and high school with middle school being the transition period  to help students go from concrete learning to more analytical and independent thinking. The time frame of 6th – 8th grade is critical to helping students develop the necessary skills and create a path that will be successful in high school. It is during this period that students start taking electives and can take advanced courses that count as high school credit.  Additionally, the type of material changes so students can learn critical thinking. Parents and teenagers need to understand that performance in middle school, especially 8th grade, is just as important as high school and can actually determine how students approach this last educational step.

Depending on the 8th grade online school the homeschool student is enrolled in, the available electives and courses will vary. Families should have the option to choose an upper math if the student is eligible and comfortable with starting on the advanced path in this subject. This means they will take Algebra instead of pre-Algebra and the class should count as high school credit which means that it will be on the official transcript that is sent to colleges and universities. Electives may not count towards high school credit, but they help students adjust to making selections and to determining their interests so they can choose courses in high school that build towards their chosen career or technical skill.

The selection of courses in middle school sets the tone for the track they will  take in high school. If students choose to stay on the standard track, it is harder to switch over to the Honors or advanced track because of pre-requisites in math, science and other courses. By planning ahead, the parent and student can decide which is the best level and create a plan with the guidance counselor that will take them through the remaining years of their education. Middle school is where study and writing skills are heavily developed because of the material and work assigned. If students do not take the time to learn how to study independently and determine which methods work best for them, then they will probably struggle in high school where these skills are heavily needed to get through the majority of classes. Parents are critical in this process by encouraging and providing suggestions to teens as well as helping them set aside time in the daily schedule to devote to studying. Good grades are a direct result of diligent study whether the student takes a short amount of time to grasp the material or they need to spend longer time getting it done. When students see their elevated grades and GPA in 8th grade, they are more likely to have confidence they can perform well in high school and increase their skills further to help them in college.

Middle school is a time of transition in several ways but the investment that the student and parent make during these grades can pay off big in high school and thereafter. Take time to check out the best 8th grade online school program so the student can prepare for the next phase with the right tools and resources available to them.

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