Planning for Success: How to Help Your Child to Thrive Throughout their Education
Mary Lonsdale from Mentor Education offers advice on how to plan your child’s education to help them thrive in the modern world
Our children face many challenges in this fast-paced, highly pressured modern world. While pressure is not necessarily a bad thing – many children thrive on challenges – it does mean that young people may need greater support and skills in order to flourish.
It’s also apparent that mental health and physical wellbeing play a crucial role in their academic success. Please read our Parent’s Guide, Helping Children Excel in Education and Beyond, for tips to help children with their emotional and social wellbeing.
This article is about planning ahead for your child’s education and creating a flexible road map through school and university, informed by your core beliefs and their emerging talents and personality. During our 35 years of experience helping families, we’ve found that being pro-active, rather than reactive, creates the least stress and the best outcomes all round.
Plan with flexibility
Why: No one can be certain what is going to happen over the next 15 years, so it’s important to stay adaptable. Your circumstances might change, and your child will certainly change and develop as they grow up. Equally, with rapid developments in technology and changing economies, we can never be sure what skills and jobs our children will be competing for.
What to do: Settle on your core beliefs. Do you prefer a state education or private, day school or boarding, single sex or mixed schools? Do you prefer the A Level or the International Baccalaureate, and would you like your child to be educated in the town or country? These key parameters will sign post your next steps.
It can be overwhelming and you may have more questions than answers. When should your child start preparing for those all-important entrance and public exams? What can you do if your child is struggling with a particular subject? A Child’s Education Journey by Mentor Education outlines all the key stages of education and the support options at each stage and this is a free resource on our website.
The value of finding the right support in business, nutrition and fitness seems obvious to us now – why shouldn’t it be the same with education? Educational mentoring and support benefits everyone in the family, so it’s never too early to involve an Educational Consultancy in your plans.
Tips for parents: Start thinking now – it’s never too early to start visiting and researching.
Make informed predictions
Why: It helps to know all the key academic milestones and their impact on your child at every age. From 7+ to A Levels, well informed parents anticipate potential crisis moments and critical transition points, e.g. failure to get into a first choice of school at 11+ entrance need not cause despair if good alternatives are already in the bag.
Tips for parents: Seek opinions from educational experts and their perspectives on the future. Ask where education is heading; and what future challenges will there be for students when it comes to 11+, 13+, GCSEs and A-Levels.
At Mentor Education we use special tools such as the CEM InCAS tests devised by the Universities of Durham and Cambridge as part of our Academic Assessments, which allows us to identify children’s academic potential and any problems with their current achievement. This means if there are any areas your child needs help with, we can provide age-appropriate tips for parents and expert tutors if necessary.
Choose an appropriate path and prepare to support
Why: Any plan is only as good as its implementation. Central to our approach is the belief that each pupil is an individual and will follow their own path. This often means that a little trial and error is involved when deciding on how best to help your child as their learning style and character develops.
Tips for parents: Try and work out how your child learns best, for example visually, kinaesthetically or in an auditory style. Also consider their confidence, ability to focus and their current behaviour at school. Some children absorb information better in short sessions, while others need lots of time to go through each detail without pressure.
Choose the right support partner
Why: The best partner to join you on your educational journey is one that takes the time to understand your goals, understand your child and most importantly, shares your values. This is a sensitive, human process, and algorithm-based matching websites just won’t cut it. Speak with several education organisations, consider their services and their approach, the skills and qualifications of their staff, tutors and consultants.
Mentor Education is the perfect size for really getting to know our clients and anticipating their needs. Our expert team offers professionalism, experience and a down-to-earth approach, a winning combination that has allowed us to build long standing relationships with local and international families, schools, councils and SENCOs. This special combination of skills and relationships means that we have fantastic inside knowledge and are uniquely placed to support your family in multiple ways.
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