THE BLOG
09/08/2014 01:19 pm ET Updated Nov 08, 2014

Starting a New Middle School in 8th Grade

My son, Jacob, has just switched to a new middle school. He is starting 8th grade. He moved from a small private school where he has been for the last 10 years to the local public school.

I loved the private school. I knew the ins and outs of that school--the faculty, the administration, the parents, the kids, we all knew each other. I knew who to go to for help and when I fell short with forms and registration, someone called me to remind me.

Goodbye to hand holding. Welcome to a brave new world. I am a new mom all over again.

I thought I filled out all of the forms for middle school and yet, I missed the sports packet and the computer form. (I'm pretty sure I filled them out already.)

The week before middle school started, Jacob took a math placement test. The results indicate that he does not know any pre-algebra. He took pre-algebra last year. The math department chair said, "It's a shame he didn't take the placement test at the beginning of the summer. He could have spent the summer catching up." I didn't know that he should have done that.

Jacob's new school has a period for music. The choices are band, orchestra, or choir. He has heard from his football buddies that he shouldn't take choir. So Jacob, who doesn't play any instrument, decides that he will take band and learn trumpet. One week before school starts, we need to rent a trumpet and find a trumpet teacher.

The first day of school was a success but Jacob fell asleep at 9:00pm on the couch. After a summer of late nights and lazy mornings, 6:30am wakeup followed by the first football game of the season came crashing down on him. With a nudge, he moved to his bed but he did not set his alarm. So day two of school began with chaos.

At 7:00am, I realized that he was not awake. I shouted for him to wake up and that he was running late. Middle school begins at 7:30am. He raced. Grabbed some breakfast on the go. And left his lunch at home. At 10:40am he called me. (He has "lunch" at 10:40am.) I was in a meeting and couldn't run lunch to him.

I did not plan for any of this. I didn't anticipate any of these bumps. What was I thinking?

We filled out all of the requisite forms--many of them requiring all the same information over and over again. Done.

I moved into problem solving. The math department chair said he could retake the test in four days and during that time he could use an online program to learn/relearn pre-algebra. Done.

I found a trumpet to borrow. I dragged my feet on the trumpet teacher because I was worried about how well this decision was going to work. Jacob is starting a new school, doesn't know the math he learned last year, and is playing football; he doesn't have time to start a brand new instrument. I made an executive decision. Jacob is in choir. Done.

The forgotten lunch. I called the school to ask what his options were. I was able to open an account and add money for him to make cafeteria purchases. Unfortunately, the money would not be available for 24 hours. Fortunately, the kind woman who answered the phone walked down to the cafeteria to tell them to let Jacob order something. Done.

I can't wait to see what is in store for us this week.

Susan Borison is the founder and Editor In Chief of Your Teen Media. Your Teen Media: Helping parents understand, influence and guide their teenagers.