Starting secondary school can be an incredibly stressful time for your child. Everything is different and scary – particularly the homework.
In primary school, your child has one teacher giving homework for every class, and they know how much is appropriate. In secondary school each subject has its own teacher, who has no idea or interest in what work other teachers have handed out.
Kids can find their homework during the first few months of secondary school overwhelming, but with a bit of organisation and support you can help them cope with the change.
Set a routine
With primary school homework, the workload is usually small enough that any spare time in an evening will be enough to complete it. In secondary school your child will have to learn to be more disciplined.
Figure out a time that works well. Some kids do best if they start straight away when they get home, in order not to lose the working mindset. Others are too exhausted when they come home, and need some time to unwind.
Once you find what time works best, stick to it. If 6pm is homework time no matter what, they will find it easier to just sit down and start working.
Create a deadline timetable
While your child might come home with a huge amount of homework, odds are that not all of it will be due the next day. Help them learn how to prioritise by making a work calendar together.
Before homework time each night, make sure both of you go through the new homework and add it to the calendar. Decide together what needs to be done first.
That way they won’t spend all evening on the fun art project that’s not due until October and realise at bed time that they have an essay due. After a few months, prioritising will be second nature to them.
Divide up bigger projects
Both children and adults struggle with procrastination and leaving things until the last minute. One of the best things you can do for your child is breaking that habit early.
Using the work calendar you can break up bigger projects like essays into more manageable chunks that will feel less daunting.
Everyone works to a deadline, so make yourself the enforcer of the mini deadlines for a project. Set mini deadlines each night, and check their progress.