What to Expect from the Upper Elementary Years

Your little kids are growing up before your eyes! Today we discuss what to expect once it’s time to move onto the upper elementary school years.

more responsibility

Gone are the days mom is expected to sign the homework folder every night. Students will be expected to keep track of their own assignments and to turn them in on time. Students who fall behind with homework assignments are likely to have some sort of consequence for not following through. Mom, you can breathe easy knowing it’s not on your shoulders now. Or maybe you’re feeling anxious that you now have to dig even deeper into those backpacks to figure out what your child is up to at school.

less free time

If you’ve been waiting for the days of homework to begin, you can say hello now. If your child has only been coming home with occasional homework it’s about to get a little more exciting. Your student is likely to bring home some type of homework every night. Some nights may just be 15 minutes of reading but other nights may include writing assignments, math and studying for history tests.

critical thinking

As your child progresses through grades, the emphasis shifts from repetition and reiteration to answer synthesis.  Simple answer questions like “How would you feel if…” become subjective with “What do you think about…”  Beware of the return of your own childhood assignment worst nightmares. Yes, here come the story problems.

exceeding difficulty

Subjects like math increase in difficulty rapidly.  Don’t be surprised if you have trouble recalling how some math problems are solved, especially when work must be shown.  Enter challenging vocabulary, book reports, and social studies beyond the history behind federal holidays. Don’t be afraid to seek assistance if you and your student are both feeling lost. Talk to your scholar’s teacher about tutoring possibilities as soon as you feel the need.

role model opportunities

Some schools have programs in place for older kids to be able to mentor younger kids. Whether it’s reading books to kindergartners, peer mediation, or helping out at crosswalks, there are plenty of opportunities for your older elementary kid to act as a role model. You may find that if your child chooses to participate in programs like this they may experience some added confidence and responsibility as a perk!

focused technology education

Technology education likely started in kindergarten with your little scholar. In the upper elementary years expect a larger portion of assignments to be turned in typed up rather than hand written. Some assignments may need to be researched using approved internet sources instead of the handy encyclopedia that you used as a child. Kids may also take a basic computer class and typing course if they have not yet started these.

sex education

The single most dreaded part of parenthood is coming faster than you realize. Fifth grade is a common point for public school implemented sex ed classes to begin.  It is crucial to not be absent in this area of your child’s life.  The more comfortable you force yourself to be talking with your elementary school child about sex, the more likely they will be willing to return to you with their problems when it counts.

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Do you have older children that have already been through the upper elementary school years? Was there anything that surprised you? Share about it in the comments section.

For a complete list of our back to school posts, visit the NURTURE section.

Photo Credit: Little Miss Eclectic Photography

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Sara Taylor

Sara is a work-from-home mom with a photography business and a passion for capturing real life. She spends her time chauffeuring, teaching, encouraging and cherishing her three elementary aged children. Aside from her family and photography, Sara loves knitting, baking, and Instagram. You can find her on Facebook .

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