Photo: Jaidi Amal
Research shows that children do better at school if their parents are involved in their education. High levels of parental interest are associated with better exam results at GCSE.
Helping with homework
Your child will be working more independently at secondary school than at primary school but your interest and support are still important. Encourage your child to share with you what they’ve been learning – they may not always want to, but there will be particular topics that spark their interest and they may be keen to talk about them. You can help with homework by providing a quiet environment for study – this may be at the kitchen table or in their room depending on how much input they want or need from you.
A rough guide to how long your child should be spending on homework at secondary school:
- Years 7 and 8 – 45 to 90 minutes a day
- Year 9 – 60 to 120 minutes a day
- Years 10 and 11 – 90 to 150 minutes a day
Maths can fill parents with dread. Even if you struggled at school or have bad memories of learning it, you can still support your child! Try to avoid passing on any concerns you had about maths to your child. Difficulties in maths can become a self-fulfilling prophecy! Ask your child to explain to what they’re learning – this can often help with their understanding as well as yours!
Even though you’re probably no longer reading with your child, you can still support their reading habits. Talk to your child about the books you’re both reading. Encourage them to use the school library to try out new authors and ask which books they’d like to be given as presents. Your child will find that keeping up to date with the news can help with school and homework. If you have newspapers at home, encourage them to use them for research or explore news websites like bbc.co.uk.
Writing and spelling
Have a dictionary and thesaurus at home or show your child a reliable website to check the meaning and spellings. Look at your child’s work and talk about it. The ‘look/cover/write/check’ method is still useful to learn new spellings. Websites like BBC Bitesize can be useful for checking work against and reinforcing what’s been covered at school.
It’s always helpful to visit a museum or gallery with links to whatever your child is studying in art, English, history, geography or science -- this can be a great way to add depth and interest to your child’s learning.