It seems like only yesterday, when the daunting thoughts of three long months off school had me in a tizzy; and now, just like that, it's all but over.
Of course, now that it's over it seems like it all floated effortlessly on by, and all thoughts of any teenage/parental angst are nowt but mere illusions.
Now that the teen boy is doing a sailing camp this week, giving him a reminder taste of the early morning risings and the long days ahead, I'm seeing some time ahead for me too. More time for blogging perhaps?
I've also had time to consider the things I've learned, or happened across on my journey, that may help make surviving secondary school possible! I will stress that very few of the following tips have been tried and tested by us, but you may find them helpful. Some were 'taught' to me along the way and others I've included for my benefit. And no, I won't be revealing which is which!
*Buy the school books early on and let your child look through them in advance of going back to school, to help familiarise them and get them back into 'school mode.'
Try to get your child to do some school work during the holidays, such as some basic maths from going through the above books, some writing and laptop typing. The latter can be turned into a fun project of their choosing. The very best of luck with this one!
Small group resource hours can be very effective in making a teen realise that they are not the only one getting 'extra help' - and can also gently encourage friendships.
If you think your child may need a just-in-case 'go-to' person/teacher during the day then liaise with his/her Year Head who may be a helpful resource in this regard. Also, find and locate a nice approachable teacher - try a resource teacher - as a discreet 'go-to' person for yourself too ;-)
If your child loves his/her technology you can always put that to good use in encouraging time management skills. iPads have alarm clocks you know ;-)
Remember, your teenager also wants to be one of the gang and to not stand out. They want to invoke their new found independent skills. They may not want you any where near, let alone in, the school or talking to any of their teachers. Unless of course they suddenly explicitly request you to do so - and then you'd best hop to it!
So, be ready to discard all of the above and any other plans you are considering, and to listen to your child. Be prepared to let.them.go. It seems that our job as parents is to stay a discreet two steps behind our teenagers as they independently lead the way. While simultaneously - and invisibly - being at least one step ahead, to gently nudge them back on track should they stumble along the way.
If you figure out how to achieve this then please, do tell!
The above list is not exhaustive so if you have any other suggestions to add then, please feel free to do so in the comments below.
I know a few children starting secondary school this year, especially one special cool dude, and another certain young man starting Second Year!
You know, they grow up so much during the summer break .... and sometimes they just surprise us.
The very best of luck to you and your child for the coming school year.
Note: If you're just behind us on the 'Road to Secondary' you might find my previous posts on choosing a school here and on the questions you might ask when choosing here helpful. Good luck!