) for schoolmates, and the time to talk is early and often.

Every family has its own mores and values and every ninth grader should know them.

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In an ideal world, each student would have a counselor who guides them through the process of course selection and planning their four years. Freshman need to imagine where they would like to end up academically senior year and draw a path of classes that will get them there.

Plans change but it helps to set goals from the start.

Realize that every year you will want to move their curfew back a little bit in acknowledgment of their growing maturity and freedom. If you start ninth grade at midnight, you will soon find yourself in trouble.” Couldn’t have said it better.

If you have not been talking about the hard stuff, drugs, birth control, sex, consent…is the time to start. Your child is now in world where these issues arise, if not for them (hopefully!

As multiple middle schools feed into one high school, it can be immensely liberating for 8th grade students who crave different peer groups.

It can also shake up an existing social order, bringing in a breath of fresh air to stratified social status.

Sure, older students have much to teach younger students about leadership and excelling at extracurricular activities, but it doesn’t end there.

The world of a 14/15-year-old is very different from that of a 17/18-year-old.

Freshman year is high school, but not all high schoolers are the same.

The social order of high school means that kids largely stay in their grade groups.

My network of mothers gives me insight into the high school party scene, dating, driving concerns (a big one), drinking, drugs, and which parents monitored all these things at their houses and which do not!