Learning Guide: Seventh Grade
Portrait of a Seventh Grader
Seventh graders often think the world is against them: "She looked at me the wrong way; I'm going to cry." They behave better at school -- they can be cooperative in class, then go home and become very territorial. They are couch potatoes and not very adventurous. They don't know what to do with themselves but hate to go anywhere with the family, especially on vacation. Friendships are all-important.
Up until now, kids have been merely thinking of defying authority; now they are prepared to do it. Peer issues and a rapidly developing interest in the opposite sex occupy the minds of most seventh graders, who are struggling desperately to fit in. Girls still want to be in with the other girls, and boys with boys, but now the way to win acceptance may be to have a connection with a member of the opposite sex. Kids will try one mode of dress to make them look hip, only to get snickers and stares from classmates. The result is despair -- then suddenly the mood improves for no apparent reason. Expressions of individuality may show up in your teenager's choice of music: rock and rap music are increasingly popular with this age group, and the controversial, sometimes violent, sexual lyrics can be troubling to many parents.What your child will learn
The biggest academic change for seventh graders is that in most junior high schools specialists teach virtually all subjects --math, science, language arts, and social sciences. (True some middle schools use team-teaching and integrated subjects.) Your child's day is more fragmented, but she can benefit from each teacher's intellectual best. The transition from being the oldest in a school to the youngest can be scary for those seventh graders who've had to switch into junior high or middle schools. Guidance counselors spend a lot of time resolving battles between groups of friends. A desire to define rules, and then seek to overthrow them, is common.