Before they start:
• Agree a routine for the mornings and after school. Will they shower/bath in the morning or evening? Will they get their school bag ready the night before or in the morning? Who will make the packed lunch? When?
• Work out with your child what time they will need to get up to get to school on time. Work backwards from the time they need to be at school. Include all the things they will need to do.
• Have spares of essentials at home if possible, it prevents panic when things get mislaid.
• Name everything, even shoes - you would not believe what children lose! A marker pen is as good as labels.
• Time the journey to school. Be sure your child is clear about what time they are expected to be home and what to do if they are held up for any reason. Make sure they know/have your contact numbers.
• Help your child organise their living space so that they have a place for everything to do with school. Try to ensure they have access to a desk, good light and storage space for their school books.
• Equip them with the tools they will need at home (it's best to keep two sets of everything - one for school and one for home so that losing a pen at school does not stop them doing their homework).
A useful home ‘tool kit' consists of:
• Pencils, pens, rubber, sharpener, colouring pencils, felt pens, whitener, ruler, maths equipment (protractor, compass set-square and calculator), sellotape, glue-stick, paper (lined and plain) and plastic wallets.
• A box file or stacking system is useful for students with organisational problems - each file can be labelled with the subject and all books, worksheets, etc. can be kept ready to pull out and put in the school bag when required.
• Agree a bed time for school days with your child that will ensure they get enough sleep.
When they have started
• Teach a routine for ‘emptying the bag'. Getting PE kit out of bags can be a problem. It is amazing how often PE kit can appear at 8.00 pm needing to be washed and dried for the next day!
• Get a copy of your child's timetable (it will usually be written in their planner in the first week). Keep this on display in a prominent place so that you and your child can refer to it.
• If you have a timetable displayed for your child (a good idea) colour the days when your child has PE so they can see each day if they need to take their PE kit.
• Encourage your child to learn what lessons they have on which days, so that they can become independent.
• Encourage your child to hang up their uniform straight away after school.
• Decide on responsibilities - who irons the shirts, when/who puts them away? Etc.
• If your child is very disorganised, check items one by one, or give a checklist at first.
• Encourage your child to put everything out the night before (there's much more time in the evening for finding odd socks).
• Have a system for making sure that clothes are clean and ready - the earlier children start to take responsibility the better but, whoever does it, both parties need to know ‘the system'.
• Homework can often be a bone of contention between students and parents/carers. For some reason, watching the Simpsons, Cartoon Network or Sky Sports is more interesting than doing homework, so it is important to agree a routine for homework with your child. Life can become a constant ‘nag' if you don't start this from the beginning. Homework becomes an increasingly important part of the curriculum as your child goes through school what he or she starts off doing is what they will do until they leave.
• Encourage your child to read as much as possible as this will improve their literacy skills and general knowledge.
• A good time for homework is after a short break when they return from school, getting it out of the way early, leaving the rest of the evening free - who wants to start work at 7.00 pm?
• Agree with your child that TV, other activities, phone calls, etc. will only be possible after homework is done.
• Many children will say that listening to music helps them concentrate and do their work. Agree whether this is allowed. If their attention is on their favourite song, it can't also be on their homework (and more so for the television!). The important thing is to make an agreement and stick to it.
• Be prepared to invest time at first - for example, be available for a set time each day to help with homework until the routine is established - it will be time well spent.
• Recognise how hard it is to work unsupervised. Help your child structure their time and use it usefully - provide a clock or timer and agree the tasks that should be done in each half hour period. Try to be available to do ‘progress checks' - have they completed the task in the set time? - but otherwise leave them to it - don't establish a pattern of always doing homework with them - (it's unsustainable and they won't learn to work independently).
• Point out the rewards to working in this way - homework doesn't drag on all night; it feels good to have completed the tasks, etc.
• Don't let your child really struggle with homework that they don't understand. Check their planner and go through it with them. The recommended time to spend on homework is half an hour per subject. However, if they are enjoying the homework, don't stop them, and conversely, if they are finding it really difficult, put a note into their exercise book or planner.
• Take an interest in the marks and comments on the homework your child gets back - celebrate success and give the clear message that homework is valuable.
• When homework is completed, supervise the ‘packing of the bag'. This is best done the night before.
• If you know your child has Product Design (cooking) on a certain day, check at the beginning of the week if they need ingredients - searching through cupboards on the morning ten minutes before the bus leaves is not to be recommended!
• If your child is consistently not getting homework when they should (according to the homework timetable), do contact the school.
• Please check their planner each week and write a comment if appropriate.
If you have any concerns, please contact the form tutor. He or she will be pleased to help and welcome contact from parents/carers.
If you have any concerns about your child, Please do not hesitate to contact your childs form tutor>>> Contacts list
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