Expert Back to School Advice
For parents looking for a little bit of guidance and support, we have consulted our top tutor, Mark Maclaine to tell us his 7 top tips to make going back to school a little easier. From making an action plan to valuing your child’s friendships!
1. Set goals together
As the term is starting, make some time for you and your child to reflect on the previous school year. Ask them what they enjoyed most, what they found difficult. If they were ahead or behind in any particular subject, ask them why this might have been the case. Try to agree on some goals together for this upcoming year. Try to be as specific as possible, for example: "I aim to keep my notes up to date in Biology”, and “I aim to get my homework done on a Friday evening to stop me feeling panicked on a Sunday night".
2. Create a homework action plan
If they’re getting homework, allow them to take ownership of their work schedule. Let your child choose when and where they will do their homework, and work out together which days or times they will be seeing friends or taking part in after-school activities. This ownership gives your child an element of control and accountability. Ask them whether there is any way that you can help facilitate their action plan, for example by getting them a whiteboard or term-time calendar. Structure is key to every good action plan, so try to establish a routine early on. Having this plan can also mean that reminding them of what you agreed on is more likely to be seen as support, rather than just nagging.
3. Engage with your child’s curriculum
Most of the more successful students I’ve met have parents who take an active interest in their school work. This doesn’t have to be too in-depth but simply showing an interest can make a huge difference. Not only does it increase the perceived importance of hard work, but it communicates to them that should they need some support it is there for them. Having a weekly time to talk about work can give them a chance to tell you they’re struggling, or receive praise if they’re working hard. Opening up communication around school work is very important, not only does it help you understand the type of person your child is becoming, you can also spot signs of them feeling overwhelmed early on.
4. Embrace your child’s hobbies
Life is not just about Maths and English. Not only do extracurricular activities offer your child some much needed academic down-time, they can actually help develop processes that will help your child in school. For example, research has shown that playing a musical instrument can have a dramatic effect on the parts of the brain used in all learning. Parents could ask the school for a list of extracurricular activities on offer and discuss what they might like to try. Whether it is dance, music, gardening, sports, coding or crafts. Hobbies are a great way to make friends and learn new skills!
5. Starting a new school
This can be a very daunting experience, for both older and younger students alike. For younger children starting their very first day, my top tip would be to try familiarising them with the names of their teachers and any school words they may not already know, such as “register”, “assembly hall” and “break time”. This way they can focus on making new friends and remembering where their coat hook is! For older students find out the names of teachers who your child can go to for help, even just knowing there is someone can be hugely beneficial. Take the time to read all school literature together so they are prepared for their first day.
6. Get involved
Work on building a relationship with your child’s teachers. These are your child’s greatest allies in school, and having them on side can be very helpful. This can help your child feel that everyone has their best interests at heart, and also give you a heads up if there are any problems early on. When teachers feel supported they are usually more happy to update you on how your child is doing throughout the year. Volunteer (if you have time) to be extra support on school trips, prepare questions for Parents’ evening, or help with the PTA.
7. Value your child’s friendships
Your child will learn as much from their friends as almost anyone else during their school years. Take an active interest in who they are friends with and try to get to know them. Don’t worry if your child only makes one close friend, rather than a big group, just remember that we are all different. Be a role model for your child, teach them to listen and be polite, share, and respect others’ opinions. The way they develop relationships now can be hugely beneficial to the rest of their lives.
We hope you find our expert back to school advice helpful. If you would like some extra help and support from our tutors this term, search today using your subject and postcode to find the right local tutor for your child. Contact our tutors through messages, and tell them what your tutoring goals are for the school year.
Search for Top Local Tutors Near You >