Our third part of this series looks at supporting your children with their schooling during the lockdown, in the first few years of secondary school, from the ages of eleven to fourteen.
This is often a very awkward age when your children are developing into teenagers and one minute they want to share everything with you, and the next minute absolutely nothing. They are striving towards independence but at the same time desperately seeking reassurance. School will probably set lessons for every subject which will usually involve sitting down at a desk or table with a screen, and concentrating for a long period of time. You may well be trying to work from home at the same time, which makes supporting your children even more of a challenge, because what you need, and what they need, might not be the same.
Although they can work on their own, and even be left on their own in another room, they do require monitoring. If they are good at concentrating and sitting still, encourage them to have regular breaks, get fresh air and make the work more varied and interactive. If they find it difficult to concentrate, help them to break up the work into more manageable chunks, have regular breaks and explore creative topics on their own.
For all ages… Structure and Routine
More important than ever is to have structure and routine in your day. This includes having breaks together, eating meals together and making the week days different to the weekend. A structure to your day will help children feel more secure in this time of great insecurity. It will also help them to be more ready to return to school once they do re-open.
Talking to your Children about their work
No matter what age your children are, talk to them about their work and their learning. Talking about work is what they do all the time at school and it is difficult to replicate this in remote learning. At school, teachers and friends are interacting with them constantly: asking questions, discussing work both formally and informally. As parents we can ask questions, discuss work and share ideas.
Tips for Supporting your children with Homeschooling in KS3
- Plan each day with your child going through the work that has been set by the school, asking them if they understand what they have been asked to do.
- This is the age when your child has the widest curriculum of possibly their whole education, studying everything from drama, music and all the design technology subjects, to the traditional subjects of maths, english and science. They do not have imminent exams. Therefore encourage them to explore their interests, do things on their own and be creative. Don’t panic if it’s not on the set timetable … it’s all educational:
- baking a cake (food technology)
- going for a bike ride (PE)
- building a model aeroplane (product design)
- up-cycling old clothes (textiles)
- drawing a cartoon strip (art)
- Seek out experts and resources to ‘go to’ for help for each subject, as it’s unlikely that each subject teacher will be on hand to answer questions. These can be channels on Youtube, on-line resources, BBC Bitesize, text books, friends, big sister or brother…even you!
- Encourage them to have a ‘study buddy’ for their school work…a friend who they can chat with online and help each other with school work. It is best to select wisely … a friend who they can stay on task with and who normally works well with them.
Eventually the lockdown will be over, and they will return to school. Hopefully they (and you) will remember this time as one, where they not only had lots of learning, but also had lots of creativity and fun.
For more guides and support, check out Student Navigator.