5 tips to help your child with subject choices in Grade 9

Subject Choices

Subject choices time for the final phase of school

It’s that time of the year when grade 9 learners are going to be faced with one of the most important decisions they will make during their school years.

By the end of August they will have to decide on the combination of subject choices that they would like to take for matric. They need to choose seven subjects which they will take from grade 10. Four subjects are compulsory, that leaves three subjects which they have to decide upon. A student may take on additional subjects, as well as advanced courses in certain subjects – purely to pursue an interest. These, however, will not impact their matric scores

Compulsory subjects:

  • English,
  • a second official language,
  • Maths (literacy if they can’t cope with regular Maths) and
  • Life Orientation are compulsory.

Decision making

These days too many learners tend to lack passion, perseverance and grit. As a result they have given no thought to any career after they leave school. More than likely they have never made a decision as important as subject choice and they will not fully understand the consequences of choosing the ‘easiest’ subjects.

And often children don’t understand what a particular career entails and what the prospects are. A learner’s interest plays a huge role in subject choices because if they’re not going to enjoy the subject then they need to ask themselves why they have chosen to take the subject.

Many parents play quite a coercive role in trying to convince their child as to what they might feel is the best combination. This can be a huge mistake.

There’s a mistaken idea that the best combination for learners is Mathematics, Science, Biology. This is a good combination provided the learner enjoys and is doing well at that subject. But there are many other combinations that, depending on the learner’s interest, might ensure a better matric pass and open doors for a particular career.

Many schools provide questionnaires to their grade 9 learners and results are usually furnished by means of a short typed report.

Getting professional help for subject choices

If there is uncertainty regarding subject choice, it is highly recommended that the parent seeks the help of a professional. This should include a feedback session with the parents and their learner. The advantage of a post-test personal interview is that any concerns that either the learner or parent may have can be addressed and resolved.

Subject choice assessments

 

Here are  some suggestions:.

1. What are my child’s interests?

The saying goes “pick a passion, rather than a profession.” This is because passion usually breeds success.

Too many parents make the mistake of forcing their child to choose subjects which they think will guarantee them success in life.

A subject choice assessment with a professional will include an interest questionnaire and will give a very good indication of the learner’s interest. An assessment by a professional is invaluable in assisting and ensuring that a child makes the best choice.

2. Don’t force your child to choose a subject because you feel that you what’s good for them

This is a mistake many parents make often to the detriment of the child.

And remember, as technology continues to evolve rapidly, the available jobs and the skills required to do them can change.

3. Your child shouldn’t choose subjects based on what their friends are taking

Most of your child’s friends will not have the knowledge or expertise to give advice on careers.

 4. Do your homework and don’t rush this decision

Without fully understanding what options are available it’s impossible to make an informed decision. This decision is critical and shouldn’t be left to the last minute. Your child’s school may provide questionnaires and may issue a short report with recommendations.

Familiarise yourself with the subject choices your school has to offer and also check what subject combinations are possible. Often, your child may be forced to follow a particular subject combination based on lack of resources, etc.

5. Consider your child’s ability

 If your child is not doing too well, or failing a particular subject, then you should seriously think about seeking advice from a professional in this field. This occurs quite often with subjects like Maths and science.

You will be given an opportunity to change your subject choices during the year and even in grade 11, BUT, you must be mindful of the department deadlines as well as how this will affect your overall score.

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Author

Dr Ken Resnick

Dr Ken Resnick

Ken Resnick, parenting expert, psychologist, author, family negotiator, teacher, school counsellor, speaker, career counsellor, passionate about parenting, successfully raised step twin girls who turn 21 in June and ex-Springbok rugby triallist.  Visit his company SmartChoice Parenting.

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