Friday, February 07, 2014

How to Survive Your Childs Final 2 Years of School

How to Survive Your Childs Final 2 Years of School

This year our Miss 15 has embarked on her final two years of school.I still remember her first day of Kindergarten vividly and I can't believe how fast that time has gone.

Becoming a senior member of the school is very exciting in itself. You get a new uniform that distinguishes you from the rest of the student body and the majority of the schools Leadership positions become available.

On the flip side,  studying to achieve your HSC or equivalent (Higher School Certificate in our case) commences and therefore the workload and stress levels of all concerned rise dramatically.

Over the last week I have been bamboozled with terms like assessments, essays, exams, Board of Studies, RoSA, study area, ATAR, non ATAR and misadventure....just to name a few.

After our Year 11 information night I felt like my head was going to literally explode. A side glance at Miss 15 and I knew she was feeling the same way...if not worse.  The look of horror on her face was incredible and I could literally see her thinking "OMG what the hell have I got myself into!!!" Two hours later....yes two hours!.....we made it out of there laden with notes and assessment books, exam and assessment timetables and that was only for year 11....we haven't even got to year 12 yet!!

With this in mind I thought I would offer some survival tips for this period in your child's life for both the parents and the student.

  • Ensure they have a well structured study area set up.  Make sure this is away from the all the general noise of the household, away from noisy siblings and free from distractions.  Ensure it is well ventilated, has good lighting and enough desk space for computers, text books and folders.
  • Make sure they get adequate sleep each night.  Ensure their mobile phones are switched off and put away early.
  • Encourage them to keep up with their regular exercise.  If they participate in a weekly sporting team don't let them give this up to concentrate on study. A fit and healthy body is very important and conducive to successful studying.  It will give them an outlet from studying and believe me they will cherish the break.
  • Provide them with well balanced and nutritional meals, complete with healthy snacks that include nuts, seeds and dried fruit for longer lasting energy. Make sure their diet includes plenty of dairy and fresh fruit and vegetables, no alcohol (especially if they are under 18).   Encourage them to drink lots of water and to have a water bottle with them at all times.  Sometimes they will be so engrossed with what they are doing and they will forget to drink.  Dehydration can lead to tiredness and headaches, not good for studying.
  • Don't push them to achieve high results, instead be supportive and encourage them to do their best without being overbearing.
  • Try and avoid confrontation over incidental matters.  In the end who cares if their room is a bit untidy or if a light has been left on.
  • Encourage them to still spend quality time with their friends and to make the time to have some fun. Time out from study is important too and their lives will need to have a good balance. It is also good for them to spend time with friends who are going through the same experience as they are, it will make them feel less alone.
  • Have a day out with your daughter, spend some quality time together not talking about school and exams.  For some ideas have a have a look here.
  • Be prepared to be a "punching bag".  They will feel stressed and you will be their perfect outlet. Don't overreact to outbursts, it won't be personal.
  • Be supportive of their life decisions.  Don't put unrealistic expectations on them after all not everyone is destined for University. Some of our most successful people didn't attend University. Don't project your unfulfilled goals and expectations onto them.  This is their life and you should support and listen to their life decisions and goals, even if you don't agree with them.
  • If they are struggling with a topic or particular subject, advise them to seek help from their teacher sooner rather than later.
  • Let them take a break from their most pressing household chores.  I'm not saying give them free reign around the house and no responsibility, but if they have a heavy school workload and perhaps a part time job also (as most teens seem to do), maybe easing up on the home front isn't such a bad idea.
  • Make sure they have all the necessary stationery for each subject they are taking.
  • Ask lots of questions about their day, and if anything is bothering them.  Become interested in the subjects they are studying.  Make sure you show an interest in their private lives and let them know you are available if they need to discuss anything at all with you.
  • Congratulate them on their successes, but do not dwell on their failures, and there will be some of these I assure you.  They will inevitably have a bad day and certain results will not meet their expectations.  All you can do is be there to help pick up the pieces and help them to become focused on the next assessment or exam.  Encourage them to learn from their mistake and to let them know that it's not the end of the world.
  • Don't forget to give them a hug and make sure that you continue with the normal routine of the household.  Structure and routine are very comforting and important and will help ground them.
  • Above else stay calm and positive.  A glass of wine at the end of the day (for the parents of course) will definitely be a must!!!!

I hope that these tips will help your family through these next couple of challenging years, I wish your kids all the luck in the world.

Remember that the HSC or your equivalent is not the be all and end HSC sits in the bottom of the cupboard somewhere and I haven't looked at it in years!

There are plenty of other career avenues to explore and discover that don't need a fantastic HSC result and you never know what life has in store for your young people.  The world is their oyster!!

tips for final 2 years of school hsc-vce-sat-alevels

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