Going to high school will be a new experience for your child. The school is likely to be much bigger than the primary school and your child may feel a little insecure at first. Instead of being a senior in a small school, they are now a beginner in a big school. However, it is also an exciting time with many opportunities and a broader curriculum.
From Day 1, there will be many changes to get used to including having a number of different teachers and different classrooms, often spread across a larger campus. Set class periods on particular subjects may also be of a longer duration than in primary school. Students carry around notes and books, sometimes heavy, from class to class.
In high school students usually have 8 or more teachers and a student or year adviser to coordinate their activities. There are also head teachers for different key learning areas and classmates can vary from class to class.
Year 7 students will be introduced to subjects they haven't experienced before. They will also be expected to be more independent, self-reliant and self-motivated than in primary school. Lessons will often be more student-centred and teachers will become resources and guides, rather than instructors.
Students are given timetables with subjects, times and room locations listed. They need to check their timetables each night to make sure they have the correct books, equipment and homework completed for the next day's classes. Reading and understanding timetables can take some time to get used to and moving from room to room might unsettle and tire them.
Making new friends can be a daunting task for Year 7 students. Students often come from a variety of primary schools and they may find themselves in classes filled with children they don't know. Fitting in is often important to Year 7 students – finding people they like and who share their interests helps motivate them and increase their self-esteem. Discuss their new school experiences each day, the people they've met or observations they've made – that way there is an awareness of difficulties when they arise rather than when it's too late.
Making new friends and a desire to fit in sometimes means students do things they might not normally do – just so they can be liked or be one of the crowd. Letting children know they don't have to do everything their peers do is an important way of ensuring the friendships they make are genuine and positive – not based on pressure or conformity. Telling them a real friend is someone who likes them for who they are is a valuable message.
Homework and study
Homework set will vary in amount and type because of the number of teachers and subjects each day – most students will need to do some homework every night – whether it be a review of the day's lesson, completion of exercises or starting an assignment that is due down the track.
Study time is different to homework. During study time, students should go over the day's work, read their textbooks or notes, create summaries and try to increase their understanding of concepts covered in class.