Tired of nagging, cajoling, bribing your youngsters into doing their school work?
Sandra (The Door’s very own and very lovely Family Support Worker) has some top tips to help you out:
“Feel like you are on a study programme yourself, catching up on your knowledge of tectonic plates, metaphors, photosynthesis and algebra?
Despair no more .. let’s put some order around this and inject a sense of happiness and satisfaction. After all, learning is a fun and empowering activity for our youngsters, right?”
1. We need to pass this over to the student, so let’s work with them to get some structure in place so that they feel they can take control of their studies .. discuss with them what would be their best times of day to work and whether they prefer to set aside chunks of time or short bursts for their work.
2. Help them to put a timetable/chart together to ensure an even spread of subjects across the week and that deadlines are taken into account. If your youngster feels there are too many subjects, concentrate on the most important ones. Encourage them to use colours so that the timetable/chart is clear and inviting.
3. Discuss with them about how they would like to organise the work within those subjects: list the topics/tasks to be covered and start with the hardest, the longest, the quickest or their favourite. Then break those down into steps such as reading from various sources and expanding/practising with online study aids and apps such as BBC Bitesize, Khan Academy & CGP, then organising their notes into key points and key words if revising. Researching and note taking, thought showers/mind maps, planning, drafting, writing, editing and printing if an essay. These steps can then be timetabled into the above.
4. Where and how is good to study? What are their preferences and do they need a variety? Having a bit of peace but also not being shut off all the time makes for a good balance so help them to organise the space in relation to the household. It’s always nice to have a variety of tools if possible too; access to the internet, text books, paper, pens/pencils, highlighters, study cards make for a good start.
5. So phones .. what’s good and what isn’t? We all know that an hour long piece of work can take 5 hours if constantly engaging with social media, but it can also be useful to connect with friends about the study or for a nice chat. So discuss this with your youngster; it may be that some of the above study steps could be done alongside a friend on Messenger or Whatsapp, chat breaks could be timetabled in, some phone free times agreed and so forth. It’s always best not to be tucked up alone for too long so pop in to check on them and encourage them to connect with friends and teachers as appropriate.
6. Most importantly, our young people need to chill, create, exercise, eat, sleep and interact with friends and family .. balance is the greatest thing in all things, right? So there are huge spaces in that timetable for all these aspects of life to be enjoyed, so encourage your youngster to move away from their studies and enjoy a variety of activities which will be even more enjoyable for knowing that they are on top of things and that things aren’t on top of them.
So we return to the beginning: fun and empowering, not onerous and out of control!