As a parent or babysitter of a child in grade 6, 7, or 8 of elementary school, you are probably familiar with how the material gets more difficult. It seems like overnight your (babysitting) child is faced with fractions, percents, ratio tables, and complicated reading texts. Why does the material become really difficult in grades 6, 7 and 8? More importantly, how can you support your (babysitting) child during this challenging period?
In this article, educational expert Nienke of the exercise platform Studira explains what is changing in the upper grades and how you can help your (nanny) child succeed in the upper grades of elementary school.
Math: from simple to abstract
In grades 6, 7 and 8, math becomes increasingly difficult. Your (babysitting) child is now learning about fractions, percents, ratio tables and large numbers up to 100,000! Story sums, or editing sums, are also becoming more difficult and everything is being offered interchangeably.
It is important to know that this new learning builds on what they have learned before. If your (nanny) child was already struggling with table sums, then fractions will also be a challenge. The level is becoming more and more abstract and math is starting to look more and more like math here.
Language: from reading comprehension to grammar
In addition to math, language gets harder in grades 6, 7 and 8. The texts your (babysitting) child has to read become increasingly difficult. Different types of texts occur in class, such as interviews and manuals. To understand these texts well, your (nanny) child needs a large vocabulary.
Your (nanny) child is expected to know more than 20,000 words and reading exercises will become more difficult. Your (nanny) child needs to be able to summarize and read between the lines. And more difficult topics are also covered in spelling, such as conjugating verbs and understanding sentence structure with, for example, the "verb phrase" and the "cooperating object. This way, your (nanny) child will be prepared for the subject of Dutch in high school.
Preparing for high school
But it's not just the curriculum that is changing. The focus in upper school is also shifting more and more to concentrating and taking tests. Important skills that your (nanny) child will need in high school.
The exercises your (babysitting) child will receive require more concentration because they often include multiple steps to get to the answer. As a result, children can be easily distracted.
In grades 6, 7 and 8, children take tests in a student monitoring system (LVS) to track progress. These tests cover all the skills your (babysitting) child has learned, and everything gets mixed up here. This can be confusing and children may mix things up. While taking the test, the classroom is quiet and a child is not given an explanation. The assignments must be completed within a certain amount of time, which can add pressure. This can be exciting for a child because they do not know if they are doing the assignments correctly or not.
3 tips to support your (babysitting) child in upper school
As you have read, there are many changes in grades 6, 7 and 8. For you as a parent or nanny, it can sometimes be quite difficult to properly guide your (nanny) child in the superstructure. Fortunately, you can support your child during this challenging period. Here are 3 practical tips for you:
1. Practicing for your tests: support at home
Practicing together and going over the explanations can boost your (babysitting) child's confidence. Sometimes it may be necessary to take a step back and repeat the basics before your (babysitting) child can proceed independently.
2. The power of repetition
Practice and repetition are the key to success. The more your (babysitting) child practices, the better the results will be. Repeat it together in a fun way, by turning it into a rhyme or song, for example.
3. Invest in tools
By investing in practice and repetition, your (babysitting) child can develop the skills needed to be successful in grades 6, 7 and 8. Studira is specifically designed for upper grades to get started on the subjects your child wants to improve on. You can also practice with the final tests (such as Cito, ROUTE8, IEP and more), and there are personalized learning paths so your (babysitting) child always practices at their own level in Studira.
Our guest blog writer Nienke Post is an educational expert from the exercise platform Studira and has years of experience in primary education.