Six months into the middle school experience and the kiddo is faring well. The first (of two) report cards was issued online a few weeks ago; there were no surprises for us and the grades were a bit lower than the elementary grades.
Most of the grading / progress is fairly transparent, even if we don't have an online grade book to consult obsessively each day. Major grades are recorded in a little blue book that we check, for both grades and other communication, and initial nightly. There are no grades for homework or participation...simply assessments (mostly summative), both oral and written. Young One brings the written assessments home for us to review.
Despite the fact that there are no grades for homework, the kiddo would rather die than go to school without completing the work. The dreaded "crocetta" or x mark keeps her honest. A collection of x marks warrants a note in the little blue book; no one wants such a shameful note to be sent home. And, yes, there is a constant flow of homework in all of the subjects, much more than I ever had to complete. It consumes the evenings and some of the weekend. This philosophy of homework and assessment is very much in tune with my beliefs.
While we did receive warnings that middle school would range from very difficult to nearly impossible, our experience is that the work is rigorous and the expectations high...but none of it is impossible. It does require an enormous amount of organizational and time management skills, much of which is likely not yet developed in most pre-adolescents. Lucky us...our girl is a well on her way to mastering those skills. It could be a nightmare, a complete nightmare.
She is thriving socially in a way we never could have imagined. Grazie Dio.
Music is her thing and, thankfully, she has connected well with her flute teacher. We believe that these connections in education matter, a lot. The public performances during the holidays were impressive, and the students in the music sections (grades 6-8) are currently working on a play about the life of Mozart. The music instruction moves at a very fast pace.
I hope this positive experience continues for her. We did recently hire a tutor for her Italian studies to attempt to mitigate the disadvantage of having non native speakers as parents. The first appointment is this week.