No matter your child’s age, back to school is always a good time to set up a healthy routine and stay on track for success and motivation all year long. We know all children are different, so you will find below some recommandations to help every student become really efficient and fulfil one’s potential, right from the start of the school year.
1- Conceive together a “homework timetable” and stick to it
Homework is a great opportunity to review the important points studied during the class, to prepare the study of a new theme, to make sure you have built some strong skills and to deepen your knowledge of some amazing subjects.
To avoid procrastination and unpleasant last-minute surprises, we advise you to build a timetable of homework hours together with your Middle or High School child. Start with finding the time-slots that can be dedicated to personal study during the week and the weekend. Then after asking each teacher an estimation of the weekly time to be spent on homework, fill these time-slots with subjects. Be realistic and don’t expect to study maths for 2 hours right after a full day of school, but make sure every recommended hour fits into the schedule!
Of course the goal is to stick to it but keep in mind that flexibility is always an option, especially if your child receives a last minute assignment or if he/she is invited to a special event. You may also have to adjust the schedule after few weeks to make it match better with the real needs of your son or daughter.
In elementary school children usually like routine with homework and prefer to know in advance when it will be done, so you may also want to prepare a special timetable to refer to. Don’t forget to specify activities and off time to highlight that the timetable is not all about work but a nice balance between studies and fun. The time dedicated to homework will vary a lot between children at this age and will increase every year, so do not hesitate to ask your child’s teacher for some guidelines. Furthermore, when the teachers start to plan homework in advance (one week or more), you may want to explain your child how to organize his/her time depending on the activities planned during the weekend and after school during the week. Remind her/him that extra homework may always be added from one day to the next, hence the importance to get ahead with the homework.
2- Help your child to work efficiently
Homework requires some time to be done but this precious time also has to be efficient. The more productive and organized homework will be, the quicker it will be completed. As a parent, you may suggest to your child to:
- Put aside screens and connections to social medias that are not directly necessary,
- Learn the lesson and read all associated documents before doing the exercises,
- Prepare paper or digital lesson sheets and others learnings aids, like mindmaps, sketches, podcasts or video…
- Exploit his/her best type of memory.
3- Value your child and build his/her self-confidence
If your child is worried about back to school, it may be because some skills still needed to be reinforced last June. Show him/her your interest in his/her work, progress, results, and value them. Keep in mind that self-confidence plays a key-role in success.
During the first weeks of September be attentive and listen to your child’s feedback and feelings; in case you feel that he/she does not feel totally comfortable, be proactive and talk to the teachers so you can know better the expectations (skills to be acquired, methodology, goals, assessments…) and find solutions to boost your child’s motivation that will lead to success.
4- Be flexible and make yourself available for your child
Some children are able to work independently at home from a young age on. Others need to be reassured or motivated until Middle or High School. Remember that from 1st grade on, children learn the discipline of personal work. Most children will need your supervision at this time to understand properly the instructions and keep staying focused. Moreover, as he/she will be learning to read (in 1st grade) and then consolidating his/her reading skills (2nd-3rd grade) your child will need a adult to listen to him/her and correct any mispronounced word.
Some children in elementary school also like to have you ask questions regarding their lessons. At this age, you may also have to repeat and redo the same things over and over, so you build strong methodology skills. For instance, show them that it is useful to read and understand a lesson before doing the exercises related to it. Work together on an example, using the method that was used in the classroom. In grade 3 or 4, try to encourage your child to become more independent with his/her homework and material but stay available and double check with him/her that no lesson or exercise has been forgotten…
From 6th grade, keep being attentive and listening to your child’s needs. Usually in Middle School kids become more independent with homework and organization overall. Some children will still need some help to adapt to the new routine and rhythms. Keep an eye on them to make sure that the homework is done properly and on time. Always offer your help and remind them that you are available if they need.
If your own schedule does not allow you to be available every night, try to have a weekly slot when you talk with your child about school and show you care about his/her personal work and projects.
5- Make sure they have a healthy life
Rest, sleep and nutrition are key-elements to overcome busy lives including students’ life. No matter their age, children should take some time everyday to relax and enjoy activities they like. A lot of teenagers lack of sleep so decide together a suitable bedtime and try to be firm. Offer healthy meals with plenty of fruits and vegetables, and don’t skip breakfast.
Furthermore, if you think the first weeks are a bit challenging at school, and that you child may benefit from an individualized help, do not hesitate to connect to Mytutorspeaksfrench.com and find the tutor who will allow your child to fulfill his/her potential.
Here you go, all set for a successful back to school!