The transition to secondary school is tough on both parent and child, which is why once again, I’m here to offer more tips on this challenging time during your child’s arduous journey in life. Here to help offer insight is Michelle Choy, whose son has entered secondary school.
However, the year got off to a rough start during this transition.
“The first week was berserk – all the things that could go wrong went wrong,” the parenting blogger recalled.
It was as Mrs Choy said, chaos. Her son’s entire allowance was spent on the first day of school, he became lost taking the bus, and he was struck with a fever on the third day. After a few months, however, Michelle’s son settled into the new routine with ease.
“Now, he’s up at 5.30am, showers, packs up, goes to school and comes home – and is able to take public transport by himself. There are no issues now, although he does come back late on CCA days and doesn’t get enough sleep,” she said.
“He’s still getting used to the workload and the different subjects. It’s all part of the learning process.”
Michelle runs her own blog, mummyweeblog.com, so she knows better than most parents how difficult this learning process can be, particularly when you have six children like her. Her kids range from the age of 6 to 20; the older five have made it to secondary school. Having such a large group of secondary school kids to handle, she has become experienced enough to share the following tips and experiences:
Tip 1: Develop independent learners
Different children have different learning capabilities. Some may be slow, while others might just breeze through the challenges with no issue. Even those who did well for PSLE might find themselves struggling when secondary school comes along.
To tackle the oncoming challenges, Michelle encourages her children to self-study rather than relying on their friends and teachers so much. This is so that they can learn to be independent and handle the increased workload and stress in secondary school. Rather than acting like a “helicopter parent”, Michelle nurture her kids with important life skills like critical thinking, planning their future ahead of time and problem solving.
“My kids don’t rely on their parents for their school work. They have been trained from primary school to handle it themselves, so transitioning to secondary school wasn’t such a rude awakening for them,” she observed.
In developing independent learners, parents should recognise that effort and attitude matter more than grades.
“As long as your child shows that he is trying, he does his work, gives his best, and his attitude is positive – to me, that’s enough. It’s not all about the grades,” she said.
“The process and mindset is more important.”
Tip 2: Helping your child with time management
With the amount of workload in secondary school, your child will have a tougher time juggling his schedule. Longer school hours, more subjects to handle and CCAs as part of his daily life; these will be the everyday aspects of secondary school life and your child will need time to adjust.
“They have a lot more homework in secondary school. And because these subjects are so new to them, it also takes them a longer time to complete each assignment because of the variety of subjects,” Michelle shared.
That’s why it’s important to teach children about proper time management skills, something Michelle encourages parents to start teaching while their kids are young.
“In Primary 1, my children were already able to plan their own timetable. Time management is a skill that they will keep for life,” she said.
This management includes setting time aside for every single activity and aspect like homework, revision, play time and even sleeping.
In the future, Michelle shall share with you more tips on techniques for the transition from primary school to secondary school, so be sure to watch this space for more practical and useful advice!