Home > School and Learning > By Grade > 8th Grade > Choosing a Middle-School Curriculum

Expert Iconexpert advice MORE

Choosing a Middle-School Curriculum

College/Career Expert Advice from Carol Carter

Q: My eighth-grader's middle school is adopting four new programs and I want to choose the one that will best prepare him for college. He reads at a 12th-grade level, has good analytical thinking skills (he does well in science, is an excellent creative writer, and is very athletic). He took the first half of Algebra I this year and didn't do well. He also lacks structure in his formal writing. He is highly intelligent, competitive, and motivated. Yet it seems that because he is not structured in his presentation, he is only performing at a low B or high C this year.

The four programs he must choose from are humanities, international studies, middle school IB (focus on study skills), and performing arts. I am leaning towards either the IB program or the humanities program. I'm concerned that the rigor of the IB program might be too stressful, and that the humanities program might not prepare him for the structure needed in high school.

A: I think the humanities curriculum would be helpful for him. You might want to also get him some tutoring help in algebra. He might never be a straight-A math student, but he may be able to work through his math difficulties, really grasp the material, and get Bs. That would be very positive.

Remember that the most important thing you can give your son is to support him through any of these courses. His academic education is only part of the success equation. He also needs to develop his ability to be with others and develop his own sense of what his true passions and interests are. With a mother as interested as you, he is very fortunate.

My book, Majoring in High School , might be good for him to read this summer. It's all about how eighth-graders and freshmen can prepare for high school so that they can make the most out of the opportunity.

More on: Expert Advice

Carol Carter is the author of many books on college and career planning. She is the cofounder of Lifeskills, Inc., a nonprofit organization that encourages high-school students to explore their goals, career options, and the real world through part-time work and internships. She also gives workshops around the country on career exploration and other issues directly related to helping students succeed in college, career, and life.

Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks


Join BIC on our mission to save handwriting and Fight For Your Write! Writing helps kids become better readers, boosts their confidence and sparks their creativity. Visit BICFightForYourWrite.com to sign our petition to save handwriting!

7 Tips for Reading Aloud to Babies & Toddlers
The AAP advises reading aloud to babies and toddlers because it boosts brain power and has many other benefits. Get some tips for making the most of story time with your tot!

Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

How to Survive Summer Boredom
When the kids are home all day, every day, summer boredom strikes hard and fast. Learn the best summer boredom busters and tips for surviving until September.

12 Birthday Party Favors that Won't Get Thrown Away
The next time you're planning a birthday, forgo the penny candy and cheap toys. Send your guests home with one of these fun and creative party favor ideas!