These early days of a new school years are really important for how our young people will learn to get the best out of their school year. Here is some advice for parents of Year 9 students who might be new to life at secondary school

We encourage the “merge like a zip” transition to secondary school. Speak positively about Year 9 and your teen’s ability to adapt to it.

Too often, our young people have heard things like “just wait until you get to high school then you’ll know what hard work is”. What this does is create fear that the work will be too challenging and too hard. We don’t say that when they go from Year 7 to Year 8 and there is no need to say it now. It creates a barrier to learning and success when what we want is for our students to be clear that with effort, organisational strategies, homework routines and the confidence to ask for help when they need it they can all achieve.

There are many things a parent can do to help get the year off to a good start and we have listed a few of them below.

What might help?

  • Teach and reteach time management and organisational strategies.
  • Have a copy of the day’s timetable on the wall or the fridge – use it to pack books and equipment the night before.
  • Have a homework planner . Use this to plan when homework can be done each night and when other activates are taking place.
  • Make a homework time non- negotiable. No Homework? Review notes, bullet point main ideas, read and research.
  • Ensure you have a quiet space your child can complete homework.
  • Encourage student to use different coloured highlighters when reading handouts.
  • Make sure you have all the resources that are needed for each subject area.
  • Using a diary is a great idea as you can both see what needs to be completed and tick it off when it is done.
  • Use a diary to break down assignment tasks into nightly tasks.
  • Consider having a system such as homework buddies in place. Someone they can ring if they are just not sure what to do.
  • Check that the day’s notes or handouts are glued into books placed into clear files or stored in folders on the computer.
  • If your child is really struggling with a subject consider weekly tutoring.

Lastly, it’s worth remembering our most successful learners are the ones who have great study habits and routines. Some active support with managing homework and study will be one of the greatest gifts you can give your teenager.

For even more tips on starting out at high school on the right foot, see our article Tips for starting the high school year.

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Julie Mulcahy is married to Peter, a Primary School Principal and is descended from a long line of teachers. She has taught Years 4 through to Year 13, moved from country schools in Bay of Plenty, Waikato and Northland and spent the past 10 years in Auckland where works in a high school.

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