Our partners at Holland Park Education share their top back-to-school tips for different subjects and age groups
As the weather cools and we look toward the slow approach of autumn, families all over the country are preparing for the start of another school year. Summer holidays provide much needed respite to fully rest and rejuvenate in anticipation of the next academic year and the challenges it brings. However, this transition from rest and relaxation to meeting the new standards of ongoing education is one to handle carefully, and with professional guidance. Longina, Lilliana and Nirvasha have considered ways to support families on this re-entry, and how this might vary based on age bracket.
Support with Maths
If you notice trouble or shortcomings with Maths from your child, get as much information as early as possible and immediately start making plans to help. This is applicable to any student age, but positivity, making maths fun and practicing every day is key for the younger set.
Practice and repetition is key when getting familiar with formulas and maths processes that may not have stuck the first time around. Using maths in everyday life is a fun way to help children understand the “point”. This can include cooking, measuring relative heights and volumes of buildings around the city, or using money and counting change at the shops.
Support with English
If you notice your child struggling with English, the most important thing is your passion for the language; make sure your child can see this. Your child will need a lot of encouragement and praise. Be gentle and patient. Maybe your child needs more time to learn and absorb new information. Your child will learn to speak, read, and write English in their own time.
Reading more is the number one way to improve performance in English. Make sure to read with your child; make time at bedtime and at the weekends, and take a moment at mealtimes to discuss what they are reading. Ask questions about what is happening in the story and how they feel about it.
Routines for Learning
It can be difficult to get back into a routine at home after the summer holidays are over. Change things up when school resumes and build a daily programme that functions best for your family. Choose times for studying, reading together or completing homework that are convenient for the whole family, and be sure that everyone knows what and when something will happen. From the beginning, teach the ability to wait.
Primary School Children
Children in primary or junior school can find the transition back to school difficult. Try and talk to them as much as possible about school. Discuss fun memories you have of their teachers and stories about them and their friends. This will help to ignite positive memories and enthusiasm about their school.
It could also be helpful to reach out to the school directly and discuss your child's anxiety with their teacher. Perhaps you might consider organising a video call to reengage your child with their teachers and help get them excited about returning to the classroom.
Additionally, encourage them to talk to their friends, even if it's just through a video call. Your child will not be alone in having doubts about returning to school, and discussing these with their close social groups can help ease the tension.
Moving to Secondary School
Children moving from year six into secondary school face a challenging transition. It’s a major event in their lives and they’re going to be worrying about a lot of things, including whether they will be losing their close friends and what unknowns they will face when they get to their new school. Encourage your child to think about the things they can do with their friends who are moving with them to their senior school, so they can start to plan and look forward to it together.
We recommend also asking them if there’s anything they would really like to know about their new school. No matter the response, voicing your fears is key to facing them, and you can always help answer their fears by emailing the school. By reducing the unknowns, you help to reduce their worry and anxiety.
Young adults in year 11 are more mature but have changes of their own to manage. When they return to education, they’ll be in a new situation, studying new subjects. Most students will be quite enthusiastic about the courses they’ve chosen and it's important to keep this enthusiasm going. Encourage them to contact their Sixth Form or College and ask if there are any textbooks they could borrow or buy.
You might be surprised how willing they’ll be to have a read around the subjects they’ve chosen to study. This will also help them feel that they’re getting ahead, which is a nice position for them to be in.
Encourage them to connect with their friends over things they both have in common. For example, if they're both into exercise, they could agree to develop a high-intensity training session each week that they do together online. Or if they don’t know what to do with their time, they could have a brainstorm about things to take up together. Sixth Form is a great opportunity to take up new classes and learn new skills. Opportunities to learn sign language, a foreign language, or take up something completely new like debating will all be open to them. They can then start researching and learning together, which will help take the pressure off them.
A Final Note…
Students and parents should practise being kind to themselves. Manoeuvring any transition or change requires focus, energy, a level of mindfulness and attention to self-care. Maintain the healthy influences around your child that became routine during the holidays such as exercise, quiet alone time, and time outside whilst the weather is still nice. Remembering to keep up the healthy habits from the summer will only sustain a level of clear thinking and replenished energy to make this academic year a huge success.
Since 2004, Holland Park Education has been committed to giving parents and children access to the best private tutoring and consultancy, and each year, Holland Park experts help students achieve places at the most sought after schools, pass public and entry exams and reach target grades. Offices in London, Dubai and Shanghai facilitate global tuition and consultancy and we have thousands of hours experience teaching, mentoring and advising both online and in person to an exceptionally high standard.