High school is a big transition for students; they will have to be more independent and will need to take responsibility for their own academic work. They will also be subject to more social pressure and will have to adjust to new friends and activities. If your child struggles with change, is not performing well academically or isn’t an independent learner, there are steps you can take now to prepare them for the transition to high school.
Participation helps foster enthusiasm
Allowing your child to be part of the process will help them to commit to their new school. Include them when selecting the school that is right for them. Investigate your options together and list the pros and cons of each choice. Align schools with career choices i.e. select schools that have strengths in areas your child may be interested in pursuing as a career.
Go to the orientation days of schools on your short list and look online for reviews by other parents and students. Then make a final decision together; including your children in this will help them to commit to their new school.
Fill in the Missing Building Blocks
High school is far more challenging academically, so if your child is missing some foundational building blocks in their knowledge base, they will fall further behind as teachers don’t have the time to go over things learned in earlier grades.
Start with a private in-home tutor a couple of months before school starts. One-on-one tutoring will give tutors the opportunity to find the gaps and fill them so your child has the perfect jump-off point and the best chance for success.
Instill Independent Learning Skills
In high school, teachers are far less likely to nanny their students. That means each student is responsible for organizing everything they need to bring to school and take home to complete assignments. Students must be independent learners and for this, they need to have executive skills.
Executive skills are the ability to organize time, to ensure that they have everything they need for school and to complete homework and assignments, to prioritize tasks, study skills and self-discipline.
Ensure that your in-home tutoring service offers an executive skills program. This means that the tutor should not only be helping your child to fill in the missing building blocks of their knowledge, but that they should also be teaching executive skills that your child will need to succeed in high school, in college and in life.
Every year in high school (and then on to college) the volume of reading that your child has to do will increase exponentially. If your child struggles with reading or language skills, their ability to get through the course materials and then communicate their thoughts effectively in assignments and exams will be compromised.
That will mean that even though they have all the answers, their academic performance will not reflect their abilities simply because their language skills don’t allow them to communicate effectively. Work on language skills by getting your child to read as much as possible in the months leading up to high school. Reading books they enjoy will help to improve vocabulary, sentence structure, comprehension and reading speed.