Can you share any tips for how to prepare for and get the best out of Y7?(29 Posts)
Hi - I was just wondering if you could use your hindsight to tell me how to help DC get the best out of Y7 - what should they be doing over the summer? Any hints as to how to settle down socially and academically? What should they expect? What standard of work will they need to attain? Should I be working with them over anything in particular? Is there anything you know now which you wish you'd know then? DC going into a good state comp - but I've been told the adjustment to seniors can be tough so I just want to make sure that they make the most of it. Thank you!!
It can be hard for some kids (probably most) because the change in sheer size of buildings, different subjects, new people etc. can make it quite daunting.
Things to settle nerves:
Remind DC everyone is new and keen to make friends (even if they're going with current primary school friends, it's likely that they will want to make new friends also).
Minimise any anxiety about homework by encouraging the use of their homework diary to help keep track of it all.
Get them used to making the journey on their own, even if they plan to walk with a friend it will boost their confidence if they can do it alone.
Get them used to buying things on their own, if they have to use cash to buy lunch or just that simple transaction and interaction which they may not have to do currently.
Some schools seem to initially set loads of homework to get them into the habit of it, others seem to ease them into the routine. Just make sure they're keeping track and doing it, if possible.
Some schools will test with the first few weeks to enable setting, not much you can / should do to prepare for these tests IMHO.
Over the summer before secondary school, we did no academic work. My DCs enjoy reading, so they continued with that as usual. Our main preparation was buying uniform, stationery and a plain tupperware box for packed lunches (replacing "childish" primary school lunch box).
It's a rare opportunity in their school lives to be absolutely pressure-free, so I would let them just enjoy these weeks and do things for fun
I think LemonDr1zzle has it spot on. On every aspect.
For us, the journey to and from school was key. We did a few practice runs but, with hindsight, I think more would have been useful. So, my advice would be to focus on that.
But mostly, enjoy the holidays!
Thanks very much for this advice - really helpful. X
Mostly just have a fun summer. No real point in working as who knows what the school will expect.
Few things that helped us are:-
Make sure you have every piece of uniform/ pencil case/ dictionary/ calculator and whatever else is on the list.
Practise the route to and from school so they're confident.
When they start, set up good systems to help them organise themselves. So photocopy their timetable and stick a copy on the fridge. Try and keep an eye each day to make sure that they've got everything, (it can really stress them if they forget a book or a piece of homework) - I try not to let me DS know I'm checking as I want him to be independent, but have saved his neck a fair few times by spotting things aren't in his bag. We've also got a box for school books, etc, so if they're not needed on a particular day they always go in there. That way you're not racing round the house at daft o'clock looking for a missing history book, etc, etc.
Schools are pretty good at settling everyone in. My DS has had a great first year and it was genuinely a lot, lot easier than he thought it would be.
Write everything in the planner.
Go through the 'unwritten rules'.
- don't tell tales - but report bullying / drugs etc
- engage in class - but don't be overkeen like Hermione Granger
- don't be cheeky to / annoy the big kids
Be prepared for the possibility of your child changing quite a bit! My DD was always very quiet and unwilling to try new things but her excellent comp has changed all that - it took a while for me to adjust and step back from "encouraging" (ie pushing) her.
Be positive about the school but encourage your child to talk about any worries. If their worries seem more than just normal nervousness talk through what they might do if that situation were to arise. I don't see much point in saying "Of course you won't be bullied" if that's your child's fear but saying "It's unlikely you'll be bullied but if it did happen what do you think would be the best way to stop it" will encourage them not to feel helpless.
Other than that all the practical things for which you've already had many excellent suggestions.
As others have said, the homework planner becomes The Bible. Get copies of the timetable on your phone and your partner's, and in at least one key place at home (and definitely on or over your child's desk).
Keep everything at home in the same place, always, e.g. books, P.E. kit, etc.
Pack and check the bag the night before, always!
One pencil case at home for homework, and another in the school bag.
Our school encourages parents to check homework to ensure it is a good standard. You know what your child is capable of, you shouldn't let them send back substandard work, it is a bad habit for the child and a waste of everyone's time.
I would agree with all the advice given so far but would also add that she will almost certainly have a better time if she gets involved in school clubs.
DD had a brilliant Year 7. She joined the choir, debating society, got very involved in drama, and much more. Consequently she knows many children throughout the school from Year 7 to Upper Sixth.
DD is an only child so I have always told her to go and talk to people in new situations. The only other child from her previous school was in another class so she didn't know anyone in hers. She went over to another child who didn't seem to know anyone and just said, "Shall we sit there?" They have been friends ever since.
Throughout the holidays I kept telling DD what a great time she was going to have and that was very much her mindset when she started. I never mentioned the possibility of anything negative happening - bullying for example. There is time enough to deal with that if it happens but no need to mention it before your DD starts at her new school.
If you have a child who loses things, keep this year's school shoes hidden in a cupboard, so that you have a spare pair if your child temporarily mislays their nice shiny new pair. Saves a mad panic at 7.30am.
DD has just finished year 7 and has had a pretty good first year. She didn't really know anyone when she started but I encouraged her to make eye contact and say good morning every day to the more friendlier girls (the popular type girls only wanted the friends they knew and cold shouldered my DD attempts to be friendly) and then by day 3 she was confident to go up to a girl who had smiled back and ask her to introduce her to her friends and she has remained with them the whole year and added to it by including shyer girls (all girls school) or girls with no friends.
I encouraged her to join after school clubs where she met girls from other houses and when they set for classes she then knew a few extra faces which helped. I also gave her slips of paper with my name and number on and any girls she had got to know could give them to their parents and we could get in touch and get the girls to hang out. I work so DD catches the bus so I never met any of the girls and I wouldn't want my DD just going to a girls house she didn't know where they lived or the parents and assumed the parents felt the same hence the slips and it worked out well.
Every night DD would pack her bag for the next day so less chance of forgetting stuff as rushing for bus but I told her that if she ever did forget a book etc then go straight to the teacher before class started to tell them and apologise which she did once and the teacher was very cool however a girl who didn't let him know she'd forgotten her book got detention.
Like someone else said upthread be totally positive about year 7 and the opportunities she'll have etc.
Have a great summer and don't worry too much as it'll pass on to your DD
This is based on having seen four children through Y7 at two different schools, but some stuff might not apply to every school.
Practise the journey.
Create a designated space for homework if they don't have one already. If schoolbooks will be kept at home, then create an organisational system to keep materials for each subject together. Some subjects seem to provide lots of handouts / booklets, so durable plastic wallets (slightly bigger than A4) can be useful.
Homework will be easier if there is access to a computer with a proper keyboard, internet connection, MS Office (especially Word & PowerPoint) and a printer. Create files and subfiles to save work in an organised manner and back these up regularly.
Making the most of Y7:
Join clubs. This will create a wider network of friends, which provides a safety net if any friendship issues arise.
Organisational skills are really important in Y7. Photocopy the timetable; if it is a computer generated timetable where all the subjects are given as a code, then colour it in using a different colour for each subject. Use a planner to record detailed info about homework: "Do German" is not going to mean much in five days time.
At the back of your mind, be aware that there may be exams at the end of Y7. For these, legible notes will be useful, a list of which topics have been covered, and some basic revision techniques.
If your DC is desperate for an academic challenge over the summer, there's always long division. For my DCs, they did hardly any at primary school, but in Y7 it was assumed that they were already confident with it.
During the summer, live for the moment. Be led by your DD - if she wants to talk about school, then do. Otherwise forget it and have fun.
Then make as much time as you can manage to be around in the first few weeks after school.
Make sure she has plenty of chances to meet up with primary friends at weekends, if she won't be going to secondary with them. Then she can make new friends at a pace that suits her.
Be prepared for her to lose everything, all the time (just my experience) at the start. It got better though.
The best advice I saw on here about DD starting yr 7 was to have a system for books..
We bought 5 magazine holders and labelled them Mon - Fri.. Every day after school (once homework was done) my DD would look at her timetable and see when she next had that lesson (timetable was stuck to the wall above the holders). She would then plonk the books into the correct holder.
Each morning (never did manager to get her to pack her bag the night before).. she would go to the correct holder and then put the books into her school bag (checking the timetable again to make sure she hadn't missed anything...
The system worked wonderfully.. If the books weren't in the holders then she could assume that the teacher had them because they couldn't be anywhere else (apart from bag possibly). It saves hours of stressing about lost books etc.. Her locker wasn't big enough to store much so books never stayed at school.
Also agree about getting them to attend extra activities.. At DDs school they have to attend at least 3 (either lunch time or after school). DD went to about 7 but then she is very sporty, and they get 1.5 hrs for lunch so easily done. She had made a mixture of friends, from form, class and activities.
Try to encourage your child to make new friends, don't rely on the old ones, but don't just ditch them either. DD found it worked well making new friends then introducing them to her old ones, hence making her friendship group bigger (and helping out the shyer old friends too).
Don't underestimate just how tired your child will be in the first term. DD was knackered (and grumpy tbh). She has loved yr 7 but definitely found it more tiring at the start.
Thanks for all these tips, my firstborn is off to secondary in September and is really nervous although I am sure he will be fine.
Some great pieces of advice so far. I'm a guidance teacher and for the last few years have been very involved in the transition programme for our new S1s.
It's a big change for them and a lot more is expected from them. They'll be expected to move around the school independently and ensure they arrive at classes on time (although allowances are usually made for the first few weeks). Another difference is that they will likely have to bring at least some of their school books home with them every night, so there's a lot more to remember. Parents can help with this by helping their child come up with a system to remember what they need for each day although it ultimately needs to be the child's responsibility! Telling me you've not got your homework because your Mum didn't pack it won't wash!
When it comes to school bags, experience says not to buy something until they've worked out what everyone else is taking (if that's something that bothers them). It saves you spending a fortune only for them to come home on the first day insisting they need a new bag because the one they've got is 'so uncool'!
For inside the bag:
* Buy some of those plastic wallets (the ones with a button on the front) for any loose sheets they will inevitably acquire! It's also a good idea to put their jotters in these if they're bringing a drink to school with them. That way, if their drink leaks, their books won't be ruined.
* If your child is going to be taking public transport to school, put the cost of an extra fare in a sealed envelope and sellotape it to the bottom of their bag in the case they lose their ticket. Let them know that it's there but make it clear you will not be replacing it if they spend it on junk!
* One I've read on Mumsnet in the past! If your child needs a door key, attach it to a piece of bungee rope inside their bag. That way they will hopefully never lose their key or accidentally leave it in the door!
* A pencil case with all the usual items: pens, pencils, a ruler, a gluestick etc.
* When it comes to calculators and modern language dictionaries, don't buy these until you know which ones the school use. It makes the teacher's life a lot easier if all the kids have the same version and you can often get a discount if you buy through the school.
* If your child has long hair and the school don't ask them to tie their hair up anyway, provide a packet of hair ties to keep in their bag. Many schools will require them to tie their hair back for cookery lessons and science practicals.
Try and appreciate that friendships will take time to form, so don't panic if your child hasn't made a 'best friend' after the first week. Just encourage them to be friendly to everyone. I agree that joining clubs can be a great way to make friends too!
I think an important thing to do over the Summer is to do a few dry runs of the route, if your child is not already familiar with it. If they're getting the bus, show them how to buy a ticket and where to get on and off. Also, make sure that they are confident going places without you. If they're capable of getting from A to B alone, it's one less thing for you to worry about on their first day!
As I said, it's a big change for everyone but the overwhelming majority settle in easily and quickly. They'll get used to their new routines, their new classes, their new teachers and their new friends and it will become the new 'normal'. For some kids, it takes longer than others, but they'll get there in the end!
Everyone - wow. Just wow. Thank you so much. I have made a huge list of these helpful tips and am now more excited than nervous for DC! I almost want to be going to school myself! Thank you for taking the time to post and for being so generous with your advice. Xxx.
Oh yes, the unwritten rules.
I told ds to be nice to everyone. Never to slag off another child because the next day they will all be friends again and someone will tell what you said
Join in as much as you can with activities
Good bag with decent shoulder straps to avoid back ache. My sons back hurt for the first half term until we bought a new bag from jack wolfskin that had a special strap system.
Magazine racks for books.
Photocopy the timetable and out a spare copy in school bag somewhere. - ds has a small pocket with some cash, pen, timetable, emergency medication.
Don't use the school lockers. Bring everything home every day. It decreases the chances of stuff getting lost - no PE bags shoved somewhere at school forgotten until the next Lesson when they can't find it and that was a week ago.
Pack bag every night
Keys on a telephone wire clipper keying attached to bag. I sewed a name tag on this too.
Things that saved me where tutor having a spare locker key for when DD lost / forgot / broke hers. Big clear box by front door that everything school goes into thus reducing where is my ........panic. If child shy or similar practising small talk, list of questions to ask kids etc etc. Checklist on fridge of what to take for what day so DD could run through it in the beginning and I didn't have to remember and say have you got your xyz. DD had a pencil case that held a clean pair of knickers, sanitatory stuff for just in case. Pencil case so she wasn't embarrassed if it fell out or whatever.
Sit your child down and explain how different older children behave. My children all experienced behaviour that they had been protected from at home. My DD watched in horror as 2 boys beat each other up leaving a trail of blood. They heard language that they had never experienced before. They were asked inappropriate questions by older pupils and heard classmates bragging about drugs and sex.
By the time my 3rd child started high school I had made absolutely sure they had this behaviour was explained to them by me at home. It wasn't a shock to them and they knew it was just bravado by the majority of children. We also went through how to discreetly report incidents to staff etc
I need to set up a decent homework area. I know the general consensus is no computers in bedrooms but I'd far rather the homework stuff is out of the way in their rooms. Can't decide whether to put the computer up there or not.
I am taking notes for the various bits and pieces they'll need. The plastic envelope is a good idea.
I've had a year 7 tutor group this year. Some brilliant advice on this thread.
Photocopy the timetable lots of times - they will lose it and their planner at some point. If you have a two week timetable have something on the fridge that tells them/you whether it's week A or B. Have a dedicated place at home for books and homework.
If you choose to give your year 7 a phone, make sure they know they go to their tutor, year head, support workers etc for help and don't phone/text you in a flap...causes parental panic over simple things that we can sort out.
Talk to your child about how they're going to be with lots more children and they won't get on with all of them. They need to rise above petty squabbles and develop resilience. This has been really hard for some this year who have been telling tales on each other one minute and best friends the next.
Try and get them to at least look at homework on the day it is set. Teacher have very little patience with children who wait until the day something is due and then say they couldn't do it, when they've had time to come and ask for help.
Some parents struggle with the transition too, because you're not having that daily contact with one teacher and if your child is making their own way to/from school you're not seeing other parents as much. Your child's tutor really won't mind a quick email or note in the planner and we'd rather know about anything that might be affecting your child than wonder why they're behaving out of the ordinary.
Oh and teach them to tie a tie...Or the art of tying it once and then loosening it to get it off.
I love this thread!
DS is my first going to highschool and I don't know who's more anxious, him or me! (Not showing my anxiety to him as best I can)
The journey is a worry, we have the option of train and then a 5 min walk (which we can practice) or a school bus that goes to the door but we won't be able to practice it in the holidays.
DS has a chronic health condition and we've really been fully involved in school so far and I'm worried about taking that step back.
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