Don't be surprised if your once-enthralled-with-school student suddenly puts the brakes on his enthusiasm for the classroom. The jump to middle school is rife with new stressors: changing classrooms, remembering locker combinations, handling complex homework assignments and managing peer relationships.
Fortunately, it's also full of new discoveries. For example, if your sixth grader's American history assignments prompt a fondness for Civil War, you should jump on the bandwagon, too. Whether this means watching Confederates and Yankees battle it out on DVD rentals at home or taking an impromptu family trip to historic forts, validating your child's newfound interest or idea has a big pay-off. Not only will he get plugged-in to the learning process, but you'll boost his self-esteem, too.