How to prepare for secondary school

(19 Posts)
Simsim1 Mon 17-Mar-14 12:00:53

Hi All, looking for some tips and practical solutions on how best to prepare for a smooth transition to secondary school. Ds will have an earlier start, need to be more organised responsible for his own stuff. At the moment i am constantly having to remind him about things, nagging him to speed up, hoping he hasn't left his glasses / water bottle at school etc.

Seeline Mon 17-Mar-14 12:08:09

Get into a routine that ill work next year.
In particular, make sure bags are all packed and ready to go the night before.
Also make sure homework is done when given rather than leaving it until the last minute.
Perhaps give your Ds a list of stuff that he has to remember to bring home from school, and then make sure he knows that it is his responsibility to check it each hometime, rather than you chasing.
Make sure he knows the actual times for things to happen by - eg breakfast finished by 7.30, washed and teeth cleaned by 7.45, coats/shoes on by 7.50, leave house at 8 (regardless of state of dress/readiness). Put a timetable on fridge/bedroom wall etc.

I agree about the routine and habit of packing bag the night before.

Some of these might depend on the child & the school, but:

Practise typing
Practise saving documents on the computer and on a USB stick
Practise the journey to school
Practise tying a tie
Practise tying shoelaces
Practise prioritising a list of tasks

For DS1 & DS2, I did the following, which seemed to help:

Put up a list of tasks for when they get home (unpack bag, have snack etc).
Put up a list of things they needed to take with them (phone, locker key, games kit, clarinet etc).
Got them to colour in the timetable (one colour for each subject) to make it more readable. Many secondary school timetables seem to be in code.
Set up a file on the computer for each subject for them to save their homework, and a Word template with date/name/form header.

bigTillyMint Mon 17-Mar-14 15:17:04

I didn't do any prep for their transition to secondaryblush

However, they were in the habit of being responsible for doing their own homework and looking after and not losing their own school stuff, ie PE kits, pencil cases, uniform, etc.

DD went on a bus practice run the day before with some friends going to the same school and some kind, older girls and then she looked after DS for the first week.

Be prepared for the first half-term being a very steep learning curve for both them and you!

ChocolateWombat Mon 17-Mar-14 15:22:21

Get them a coloured clear plastic envelope file (with popper) per subject. They can keep all their ex books and textbooks for that subject in it, so it all stays together.

Have a sticker on the front of it, with subject and the days on the week it is needed and when homework is due in.

Make sure it's big enough to hold chunky text books. You candy in advance and label once they have timetable.

Yes yes to lots of coloure coded lists stuck everywhere.

Reading them back, I've realised that my input might sound a bit OTT to some parents, but DS1 is absent-minded/mildly dyspraxic and DS2 has Asperger's/ADHD.

When DS3 starts secondary, he'll be fine with minimal input! grin

hellsbells99 Mon 17-Mar-14 15:29:17

Big plastic box or similar to store all books, geometry set etc. Whenever he unpacks his bag, everything gets put in the box - hopefully that way nothing gets mislaid lost

TeenAndTween Mon 17-Mar-14 15:32:46

Between now and end of year 6
- get them responsible for their own stuff
- get them going to school independently (if possible)

In the summer holidays
- practice route to school
- tying ties
- making friends if needed
- what to do if things go wrong
- ensure they have good 'workspace' at home if at all possible
- check what bags current y7s have! (may only be relevant to girls)

At start of term
- get a copy of their timetable and make sure you have it visible somewhere eg kitchen

PennySillin Mon 17-Mar-14 15:33:40

I have been recommended this book by a friend who has 2 children at secondary school. (have ordered it but it hasn't arrived yet!).

She told me a really good tip from the book was to buy a big plastic box where all school books go and bags get filled the night before from the box. When they come home with their timetable if you can laminate it and keep it in the bottom of the box so they always have it there for reference.

TeenAndTween Mon 17-Mar-14 15:34:15

Have two sets of stationery, one for school bag and one for homework. Then at least he should never go to school without the basics of pen and pencils.

HolidayCriminal Mon 17-Mar-14 15:35:04

Independent travel & scenario discussion if anything went wrong with transport, etc.

grants1000 Mon 17-Mar-14 16:06:38

Help them as much as you can to start with, this will make them feel supported and encouraged. They get info overload in the first few weeks/months and need some help. I had to show DS who to pack his rucksack properly (stuffed packed side by side not all just chucked in) he was not to know as he'd never done it before. It's bonkers to expect them to be all organised and with it from day 1, it's so new, huge and overwhelming at times they need to know you and home are places of refuge and support.

I backed all books and exercise books in sticky back plastic and this has helped massively by keeping then books neat and tidy as they get a lot of shoving in and out of bags and become tatty quickly.

Routine helps, DS automatically hangs up his blazer, tie and locker key lanyard on a coathanger that is on a hook at his height each night, stops dramas in the morning trying to find them. Find out if they have lockers with padlocks and keys, if they do buy some lanyards so they can wear the key around their necks so they don't bloody loose them!

ChocolateWombat Mon 17-Mar-14 16:29:44

And don't take the line that they are now at secondary so need to be totally responsible for themselves. Having them do homework at the kitchen table and then showi g it to you, is a very good idea. Look at their homework planner every day and also look at their marked work, so you can get a sense if things are goi g well or not.

It works well to have TV slots. Can be either when they get home or after homework. Don't allow the homework slot to be too late. Yes yes to getting into a routine at home. Def good to have 1 weekend day without any work.

Simsim1 Mon 17-Mar-14 17:53:37

Thanks everyone. This has helped a lot!

Stressedbutblessed Tue 18-Mar-14 05:27:33

I also have additional set of text books at home - bag becomes so heavy and also no excuse that HW cant be done.
Got the second set 2nd hand from students going up a year

Stressedbutblessed Tue 18-Mar-14 05:29:44

Ohh - and the same type of pen at home so that work started in class can be finished at home with the same ink etc.
And check if they need locker keys and find a "type" your DC prefers so that it gets usedhmm

Stressedbutblessed Tue 18-Mar-14 05:33:06

Chocolat wombat - we too do the plastic folders per subject and it works a treat, and have gone as far as putting a small stationary set in each plastic folder . Although now coming to the end of Y7 its not "cool" & wants to walk down the corridor holding books!!

BackforGood Tue 18-Mar-14 23:30:40

and keep your eyes on MN, there are always threads for supporting parents of new Yr7s, and offering handholding, advice and suggestions smile

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