How can I motivate my children to study at home?

Ask Brian: Try to make learning fun for younger children and help older ones focus

For exam year students, sitting back, doing no work and expecting your school to pick up the pieces after this is over is not a viable option. Photograph: iStock

For exam year students, sitting back, doing no work and expecting your school to pick up the pieces after this is over is not a viable option. Photograph: iStock

 

I have five children all living at home and I’m finding it difficult to motivate them to continue with schoolwork. My eldest in UCD is getting on with things, but my Leaving Cert daughter’s stress levels are going through the roof and the younger children are wondering why they should continue with schoolwork.

We are all getting used to new ways of living - many of which may long outlast the current crisis. This crisis will likely reshape how post-second level education takes place worldwide, combining modules of face-to-face interaction with on-line learning.

Regarding your daughter taking the Leaving Cert this year, a few points should help focus her mind ease some of her anxiety.

This crisis will eventually pass. All current sixth year students will likely receive a period of tuition in school prior to sitting the written papers which - as I write this - are still currently scheduled for June.

Project work which forms part of the Leaving Cert assessment process, the submission dates for which have been pushed back three weeks, should be taken very seriously. These elements of the exam will form part of the eventual assessment grades your daughter will receive. If schools do not re-open immediately after Easter,these submission dates may be reviewed, but work to the present published dates for the time being.

If you have IT issues and struggle to get online, remember that all students still have access to their schoolbooks, past exam papers and marking schemes from previous years. Sitting back, doing no work and expecting your school to pick up the pieces after this is over is not a viable option.

There is a clear distinction between the State’s commitment to provide every Leaving Cert student with an end of schooling certificate of achievement in every one of their subjects, and the requirements of third level colleges to allocate places on their degree programmes.

The State is also committed to providing Junior Cert students with the same certification process, but this can happen, if necessary, in most cases during transition year if necessary.

In the light of all of the above, I would suggest that your daughter continue to spend a couple of hours in her daily schedule preparing for her exams, in the sure knowledge that when the education system restarts, she will be more than ready for whatever transpires.

Regarding your younger children, keeping them focused on education is very difficult, particularly now that Easter beckons. Challenging them daily to undertake age-appropriate tasks which can be fun related, or activity based indoors or in your garden, requires lots of planning and not a little ingenuity. Maybe, you can set the older ones the task of planning a range of activities with the younger children?

Have you a query? Email askbrian@irishtimes.com