How can I support my child’s learning at home?
Learning at Home
Children and young people always do better at school when parents / carers support their learning at home. Our young spend only 20% of their time in school. It is essential that our pupils make the best use of their time at home and that we support parents/ carers with learning at home.
It is therefore vitally important that they develop good habits and routines for learning at home at an early age. You can support them to do this in the following ways:
- Create a quiet area for home learning, study and filing and storing notes and other resources / equipment which support learning.
- Monitor your child’s homework diary. Pupils are encouraged to enter homework tasks on the date the work is due. Please help them to get into the habit of recording homework in their diary in a consistent way.
- Monitor the quality of your child’s homework and instil in them the desire to produce their best work at all times.
- Support your child to manage their time and meet the deadlines set for homework. In a large secondary school, teachers are not always aware of the homework being set in departments other than their own. This could mean that several pieces of work are due around the same time. Young people must learn to manage their time to ensure that all tasks are completed by the due date.
- Help them to get organised for the next day by checking their timetable and ensuring they have the appropriate equipment, homework etc. for the day ahead.
- When examinations are due, support your child to develop a study timetable which will allow them to plan their study over the weeks before the examination and also plan time for relaxation and healthy leisure activities.
- Develop your child’s thinking skills through discussion: For example, support them to develop the skills of decision making, problem solving, analysing, evaluating and creating.
- Listen, talk and encourage your child to talk to you about what they are learning and what you can do at home to build on that.
- Help your child to identify their strengths in learning as well as their areas that require further development and encourage them to have a growth mind-set about their learning.
- Look for opportunities at home to develop literacy and numeracy skills: money, number, problems, time, measuring, matching, size, reading, writing, understanding instructions, questioning information.
- Encourage your child to take part in activities e.g. hobbies, clubs which will provide opportunities to develop a range of skills both in school and in the wider community.
- Help them work on tasks on their own and then talk about it with you afterwards.
- Do things together where appropriate – learn together e.g. if your child has a project or task to do, take an interest and discuss with them what he/she is doing or offer support if this is needed.
- Help prepare for change, particularly at key transitions such as the move from primary to secondary school, from the Broad General Education to the Senior Phase and from school to further study or work – talk about and plan the change together.
- Work together with the school by taking part in discussions about your child’s learning and progress e.g. by attending parents nights and special information evenings for parents.
- Contact the Principal Teacher of a subject department if your child is experiencing difficulties with learning in one subject. If children and young people are to become independent learners you could also encourage them to find alternative ways to improve their understanding, e.g. by conducting research on the internet, by asking a friend for help etc.
- Contact your child’s Guidance teacher if they are experiencing difficulties with learning across several subjects.
How can I help my child to study for exams?
Regular attendance throughout the year will help to ensure that your child keeps up with course work. If they do fall behind, through illness, please contact your child’s Guidance teacher to seek support for them.
Talking to your child to reassure and encourage them will help them get through what can be a stressful time and will help them to do their best.
Managing their time
- Encourage your child to start revision in good time to avoid cramming and panic. Pupils should start their revision well in advance of their prelim exams.
- Help your child to plan a realistic timetable of study for each subject.
- Part-time jobs are important for developing skills for life and work, but during exam time pupils should cut back on the hours that they are working to make sure that they can properly prepare for their exams.
- Talk to your child and help them decide on a quiet area at home where they can study with the least amount of distraction. Make sure that the materials and equipment they need e.g. pens, pencils, paper, notebooks and past papers are at hand in this study area. (Past papers are available from the school (Subject departments) and the SQA website).
- Monitor your child’s progress in studying. Parents often tell us that their son / daughter tells them they are studying when in fact they are distracted by other things such as social media. You can monitor their progress by asking to see the study notes, diagrams, mind maps or posters they are developing to help them learn. You can check to see if they have completed past paper questions issues for homework.
- Ensure that snacks and water are close by to prevent any unnecessary distractions and make sure the study area is warm and well lit.
- Speak to the rest of the family, particularly younger members, about respecting this study area and as far as possible trying to avoid interrupting.
- Check the dates of each exam and keep a record of them somewhere you can see them easily. You can access the full exam timetable on the SQA website. Your child can also use the SQA Personal Timetable Builder facility to create their own timetable. The mobile timetable builder is now available for most mobile phones along with those using Google Android and IOS (iPhone).
Tips for Studying
- Exam times can be stressful so encourage your child to take breaks. Hour long revision sessions with short regular breaks of 10 minutes can be effective.
- They may prefer to complete each task and then build in a break rather than stick to definite time slots. It’s the quality of work that is important.
- Young people often focus best earlier in the day or early evening so encouraging them to study at these times may be beneficial.
- Your child might find it useful for you to read through revision notes with them. Asking them about what they have learned in their revision may be useful.
- Encourage your child to get plenty of sleep. This is particularly important the night before an exam as it will help them perform better.
- Encourage your child to eat well. On the morning of an exam encourage them to have a breakfast, or lunch if the exam is in the afternoon.
- Help your child to avoid any unnecessary anxiety or panic by making sure they are in plenty of time for each exam and have everything they need for it, e.g. pens, pencils, highlighters.
- Encourage regular exercise – it promotes physical and mental health and reduces the symptoms of anxiety.
- If your child is experiencing high levels of stress and anxiety or problems with learning, please contact the school for advice and support.