Dear Mom of a High School Freshman


high schoolBack to school excitement feels similar and worlds apart from your tiny kindergartener to your big high schooler.

The nerves are similar for both parent and child.

The excitement is similar. And mostly the feeling of dropping your child off into the big bad world is terrifying all the same.

It’s tough letting go. We do it in stages all through parenting and while it is never easy it does evolve and change over time.

They evolve, we evolve, our relationship evolves.

We go from wondering if they will be able to open their lunches and eat it in time to hoping they don’t spend their lunch time hiding in the bathroom.

We worry through all the stages.

It can be so much fun to relate to your big kids on a new level of real life. It’s so fun to talk about the world together and watch them develop opinions and thoughts of their own and exploring the world still while safe under our roof.

It is all a process and starting high school can be one of the biggest steppingstones before adulthood. Sending them off on the right foot is only giving them their best opportunities for their future.

As a mom of five (5-19 years old), here’s a few tips and encouragement to best prepare for sending your freshman to high school.



Supply lists

For back-to-school supplies shopping you will get a list of things you need from their teachers usually at the orientation day typically a few days before school starts.

Listen to those lists. The teachers don’t make a profit off pushing graphing calculators. They recommend them because they are needed.

They only have so many in their classroom so when they are all loaned out, they are gone. They are expensive but you can often find them on secondhand apps. They will be used all through High School and post, often through college.

Teachers (and upper classmen) highly recommend one heavy duty pocket folder per class as opposed to a binder. Binders can add unnecessary bulk in their backpacks.

Backpacks aren’t an accessory; they are a necessity. Junior and High Schools commonly no longer have lockers except for P.E. meaning your child will be carrying it all on their back.

If they play a sport, they may be carrying two backpacks. Try to pick backpacks with support and a water bottle holder and meet within your child’s style preference because if they don’t like it, they won’t use it.

Budgeting for orientation day

Back to school is expensive. Read the lists and pay attention to the must haves and while your kids will insist, they need things they really don’t, make some compromises.

Maybe the multicolored pen pack seems unnecessary to you, but she feels like it will be helpful to her in this brand-new environment, maybe let her just get them.

This is all about budget however and each family is different. Do what you can, and teachers will understand.

Also speaking of budget, be prepared on that orientation day for sticker shock. You will be asked to purchase all the things that day. Student activity passes (highly
recommend if your child plans on attending any/all extracurriculars), yearbook (can be purchased later, but cheaper in the beginning of the year and if you forget and miss the deadline, they will be out of luck), PE clothes (we only purchased freshman year).

That day you can also help him find his way around school, learn the bus route, and set up a lunch account if you don’t have one already.

Student athletics and clubs

If your child plays a sport get familiar with their policies on the school website.

Fall sports specifically because it starts quickly into the school year and they have forms that need filled out, online courses to take, updated sports physicals done with a physician.

Find out about tryouts and when and where. You child should be getting this information as well but there is a lot going on starting high school, while we want to promote independence and responsibilities, it is important to keep an eye on everything as well,
especially freshman year.

This goes for more than just sports. I believe the best thing about High School is there is something for everyone.

So many activities and clubs and ways for kids to connect and meet their people. It is hard to make a child do something they don’t want but gentle nudges and encouragement can go a long way in getting them to reach out and try something new.

Celebrate how far you both have come

I’m proud of you for getting your child this far. I know the mixed emotions are swimming within you. Understand it’s swimming in them as well.

They may not tell you this or even act like it, but they love you and appreciate you for being involved and being there for them.

Even if all we see are the eye rolls and the sighs. Take a big breath and if they let you take their picture, take it and send them on their way.

You packed them full of love and security up until now. You will see how they flourish these last 4 incredible years of their k-12 education.

Check out more back to school posts here. 


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