Sooo, I just attended my very last Parent Night at the Middle School--EVER. That's right, baby: done, fini, hasta luego and all that. And while Riley's team of teachers acknowledged and addressed this topic with sympathy and understanding--"We know some of you might be feeling emotional"--I, personally was experiencing only positive thoughts. Like, "Yay, check that one off the list!" Or, "Whoo hoo, only 34 more weeks of classes until we're promoted to High School!"
Now, before you get the impression that I'm a completely unsentimental hardcase (yeaahh, right...I think we all know better...), let me hasten to assure you that I'm already planning for how to manage myself NEXT year, when I'll be dealing with the double-whammy of Freshman Riley...and Senior Derek. (Pause....waaaaaaaaa!!! Deep breath...now take the healthy...um..."self-preservation" approach: bury and refuse to consider these issues until September 2017.) And it's not like I'm dying for Riley to hurry up and get through 8th grade--because the past 2 years have been good ones, and I want him to enjoy his last hurrah in the formative adolescent period between the pure childhood of the elementary era and high school's time of...um..."young-adulthood...ish".
Therefore, I was pretty much able to just listen to the presentations, make mental notes...and remain calm and rational. One interesting fact: I don't know if parents have...become weary of the routine?...or given up?...by 8th grade, but there seemed to be very few present. I sat with a couple of the "usual suspects"--that is, fellow soccer parents from Riley's team--which was a pleasant change from way back in the beginning, when we'd just moved to North Carolina and I literally knew no one. Because of the light turnout, I had the opportunity to introduce myself to most of Riley's instructors, who all seem delightful. (And not only due to the fact that they told me how wonderful my son is. It's early in the term, and I'm sure they're contractually obligated to say nice things...)
I learned that they'll be taking a field trip (3 miles away, but it counts) to UNC to watch a play after reading Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. (Cool! Can I come, pretty please?) I found out that much of this year will be spent emphasizing preparation for 9th grade, not only in terms of content, but also study skills and time management--as one would anticipate, but it pleased me to hear it anyway. The educators also took a bit of a cautionary tone, however, about how students and their parents can expect grading this year to more closely align with High School standards; that is, more emphasis on test and project scores, and less on homework, classwork, or participation. (Objective evaluation of knowledge and skills? We're ready--bring it! Er...hopefully Riley agrees...)
Finally, there's one aspect of Riley's 8th grade curriculum that I'm very much looking forward to--he's taking Spanish. Derek completed his third year in 9th grade, and decided not to continue after that, so I've been lacking an amigo de Espanol for a while now. So far, Riley seems very enthusiastic about it, asking me to practice pronunciation and vocabulary with him most nights. (And can I just say: Yaaayyy! Wait 'til we get to GRAMMAR, baby, then we'll be having soooo much FUN! She said in a totally nerdy-but-doesn't care kind of way...) Even better...so far he's retaining the phrases, and his accent improves every time he runs through his worksheets...dare I hope...that maybe he has a knack for it? (And yes, I offer this with the realistic attitude that it's verrrry preliminary, and it could just be that I WANT him to love the language as much as I do, so he willingly keeps going and one day can actually, you know, converse with me. That'll be awesome...eventually...if it happens...fingers crossed....)
And...that's basically what I took away from the whole shebang. Work hard, get ready for High School, deal with higher expectations...blah blah blah. Wait, there's not gonna be a QUIZ on this stuff, right? Shoot, I'd better go ask Riley to share his study guide--I want to start off with an A--ha!