One thing I don't enjoy about beginning the school year is the piles of paperwork the kids bring home for me to do. Emergency cards, volunteer surveys, and most of all, (we get this most with the middle schoolers) the reading of multiple (often lengthy) syllabi and signing that I had read over it all with my child and we agree to it all. ("We went over the whole thing in class already, Mom!")
The one part of this I do appreciate, is when the language arts teacher includes a list of what they are reading that year. So when I was asked to sign that particular handout this year, I went straight to our library website, which is what I meant to do last year, and reserved a few of the things my illusive, witty, yet challenging middle-schooler will be reading this year.
Now when I ask at the dinner table, "What are you learning about in school?" and he answers, "Nothing," I have a little more to go on than that. "Have you gotten to the part about Boo Radley yet?" (To Kill a Mockingbird is on his list.) I also have something to go on if I get the classic "We're reading this pointless book."
Fortunately, I like reading, and at this phase in life, it is a treat to take the time at all. For me, audio books are my most likely chance to read much of anything. I find that the middle school books literature teachers choose are usually quite good, so if I haven't read it before, I'm glad to take advantage of the opportunity that also gives me the chance to get a little involved in my child's education.
I also like to occasionally find a book in Spanish, which lets me work on that part of my own education also. If you learned (or are learning) a second language, I recommend reading books in the target language (something at an easier level than you can read in your native language) .