Our fifth and final part in our series looks at supporting your children with homeschooling in KS5, the sixteen to eighteen year olds.
Let’s be honest, it isn’t an easy task to support your seventeen year old son or daughter, who is used to working independently, starting to spread their wings, and suddenly finding themselves at home … ALL the time.
Whether they are in Year 13 or Year 12, it is a difficult time for them, with many questions about their future remaining unanswered, and the situation beyond their control.
Year 13s have had their schooling stopped abruptly. However, many will be in a good position, with good predictions and university offers sorted. For others, it is devastating news. Gone is the opportunity to prove they were making progress or got what it takes for that university place.
Year 12s know they have to return to school…eventually, but without the vital preparation that Year 12 provides for Year 13. They have lessons, but without teacher interaction or often teacher explanation. Gone are UCAS fairs, university open days, work experience, mock exams…
Provision varies widely amongst schools. Some schools continued to teach Year 13s after lockdown, seeking further evidence of performance, while other schools stopped teaching.
For Year 12s some schools are continuing with a full and interactive teaching timetable each day, with students expected to check in as normal, albeit remotely on packages like Microsoft Teams and Google Classroom. However, many schools are setting the work and expecting the students to complete it in their own time. Some in individual lesson, sized chunks, while others in a big weekly or even half-termly chunk.
Our tips for Supporting your children with Homeschooling in KS5
Structure and routine
More important than ever is to have structure and routine in their day. This includes having breaks together, eating meals together and making the week days different to the weekend, and for teenagers in particular, night time different to day time. The daily timetable provides a perfect structure for Year 12s and has worked perfectly since September. It also provides opportunities for breaks, and free periods can be used for catch up and revision/study.
- Discuss the work that has been set with your child. At this age they might resist. but it is what they are used to doing, both formally and informally, with their teachers and classmates throughout the day. Ask questions, share ideas and have discussions about what they are learning.
- Encourage your child to keep on top of the work that has been set by the school. If there is any reason why your child gets behind, let the school know and ask for support.
- Foster independence by building up a list of ‘go to’ resources for each subject. These can be channels on Youtube, on-line resources, books, friends, family…or you!
- Ask the teacher questions if extra clarification and explanation is needed.
- Check that your child is testing their learning. This can be informally with a quick re-cap or formally with exam style questions.
- Where possible, suggest your child has a remote ‘study buddy’ to discuss and work with. It is a generalisation but girls are much better than boys at this, but when it works, it is very effective.
- Keep an eye on the future and Year 13 and discuss UCAS (www.ucas.com), university and career options and apprenticeships. Most universities offer excellent virtual tours.
Ideas for Year 13s to work on
- Ask the university courses to send reading lists to focus their study on.
- Use the time to get their CV updated and other employability skills.
- Take up a new hobby or re-visit an old hobby that they haven’t had time for: art, cookery, sketching, model making, up-cycling old clothes, photography, creative writing, music production.
- Write a blog, keep a diary, make a short documentary film about these months and this moment in history.
- Use the time to volunteer to help in the community. This could be for the local council, NHS or for a local charity eg a food bank.
We all remember being this age…it should be a time of great excitement and promise for the future. Hopefully, soon your seventeen and eighteen year old will be returning to that future, with A’levels, higher education or apprenticeships on the horizon, but in the meantime, support them to make the most of this moment.
For more guides and support, check out Student Navigator.