Figuring out the best way to support your child as they complete the HSC and their final year of school is a big question. It’s often hard to know exactly how much input you should have, or what might cross the line into being annoying.
If you’ve been struggling to help your child without feeling like you’re constantly on their case, we’ve got some tips for you! It doesn’t always have to look like helping them with their study — sometimes, just being around and knowing what to say can be a huge support.
Keep reading for a bunch of tips you can implement!
Why is it important to support your child through the HSC?
Your child may often seem like they don’t want help from anyone — they’d rather be independent and get through the HSC on their own. However, this final year of school really is a team sport.
The trick for most families is finding a balance in which your child feels supported, but not over-monitored or pressured. Consider talking to them to find a level of parent input that works well!
Generally, HSC students will have a pretty good understanding of what they need.
Starting early is KEY to building healthy HSC habits. Keen to get help your child get started? Check out the tutoring we can provide in Bondi Junction, and all across Sydney!
Tip #1: Use Tough Love
One of the best ways to help your child through their final school year is by setting up good boundaries in their life. They won’t always like you for doing this. That’s where some good old tough love comes in!
Tough love is about setting up clear systems and remaining strict, to the benefit of your child. It’s not about just throwing rules out and expecting your child to follow them, nor is it about being super stern in all areas of life. I
n fact, most students won’t respond well to this by the time they hit Year 12. Tough love instead combines compassion with boundary-setting, allowing you to work with your child effectively.
How can you implement tough love?
Of course, this style of parenting isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. Some students may deal with the HSC very well and will need limited amount of discipline — others might really struggle.
It also depends on your parenting styles — if your child has had no rules since they were 16, it might be very hard to bring them back in at 18.
However, there are some practical ways to support your child by setting boundaries. They include:
#1: Creating a study timetable
A great way to manage time and set clear expectations is by creating a study timetable. This is something you should work with your child on, because it needs to be realistic and achievable.
We have some great tips on creating a timetable here (this one is for the 30 days leading up to the HSC, but you can use the tips anytime).
At a minimum, timetables need to consider other commitments like sport, family time and downtime. Timetables should also have times on them for specific subjects. It often works well to set a minimum amount of study your child is allowed to do per subject, and let them allocate accordingly.
Here’s an example of how the timetable could be laid out, but of course other commitments should be filled in and subjects should be specified!
#2: Signing pages of homework
This tip will work well for some families, but it’s not for everyone. By signing or sighting your child’s homework, they are accountable to you for getting everything done.
This can be a simple solution to getting students on track for the HSC. However, it’s important this is just a first step, as internal motivation will be what gets them over the line.
#3: Creating a no technology rule
We all know that phones are distracting. How often do you get caught scrolling on yours?
A great way to help your child is by removing tech while they are studying. Have them put it in a different room or hand it to you. For laptops, extensions like Cold Turkey can block distracting sites.
It’s important that you make it clear to your child you’re only taking their tech for their benefit. Don’t hold onto it longer than you need to, and certainly don’t invade their privacy by going through it. Tough love is about trust.
Tip #2: Academically Support Them Through Tutoring
If you’re not sure how you can personally help your child during the HSC, tutoring may be a great step! While this is a financial investment, there are many benefits that your child will gain.
First, tutoring takes the pressure off you as a parent. You don’t need to have all the answers! It’s probably been a long time since you studied, and syllabi change rapidly.
As much as it’s important to support your child, you aren’t expected to understand everything they are learning.
There’s also several ways tutoring helps HSC students, including:
Benefit #1: Allowing students to learn at their own pace
When students work one-on-one, their specific needs in regards to content and timing are going to be matched. They aren’t waiting on other peers to catch up.
Conversely, students who need extra help don’t feel left behind or silly in tutoring. They know they are right where they need to be. This can really help limit boredom with schoolwork and creates engaged students who want to work hard.
Benefit #2: Tutoring helps students take responsibility for their study
By working on tasks outside of school, students quickly start to take ownership for what they are learning. This creates internal motivation that will help your child do well in the HSC.
Benefit #3: Tutors offer new perspectives
This point is pretty straight-forward, yet important! Most tutors have studied the particular topic they are helping students with. If they haven’t, they certainly have a great understanding of the content.
Tutors can often provide new ways of explaining difficult topics, or can create new academic perspectives. This will give your child a leg up against their peers!
Benefit #4: Tutoring can improve self-esteem
Making sure your child feels comfortable with what they are learning during the HSC is a huge part of being a good support. Tutors help students understand information at their own pace.
They often boost exam marks and generate increased trust in academia. As such, tutoring can be a huge confidence boost for many students!
Tip #3: Lessen Their Chores
We’ve talked about ways you can help your child to create great study habits in order to support them through their HSC — now it’s time to discuss what to do away from the schoolwork.
Many students are incredibly busy and stressed during the HSC. Even if they seem to have a lot of free time, HSC students need time to wind down with nothing on their plate.
One of the ways that you can be supportive is by lessening chores and housework, giving them more space to breathe.
Now, we aren’t saying take away all of your child’s responsibilities. Housework teaches children how to balance multiple commitments — it also creates a routine. Both of these things are very important.
However, taking away large chores that take a lot of brain power or time, especially around assessment periods, can be useful. It shows your child that you understand what they’re going through and you’re there for them.
Here are some reasons why being lenient around chores can be good:
Giving your child less to do around the house increases their study time. It allows structured timetables where study is prioritised.
This shows your child that you understand what the HSC involves and you’re on their side. It also suggests that you trust your child to make decisions about how they spend their time.
As we just touched on, free time is vital for HSC students. On top of study, school, sports activities and family commitments, they really need time to just chill out! Eliminating some large tasks provides increased opportunity for this to occur.
These are things you should factor in when deciding what chores to give your child:
Tip #4: Provide Snacks While They Study
Food really is the language of comfort for all of us, right?
Even better, did you know that snacks can actually be a great procrastination buster? By providing your child with readily-available, healthy snacks, you’ll really be supporting their HSC study patterns.
Let’s talk about the science first. Teens are growing and using their brains a lot. Therefore, they need nutrient-dense food that is consumed at regular times.
Snacks are a great way to ensure your child is nourished by not overeating between meals.
Snacks are also great on a psychological level. By eating healthy food, chemicals affecting neurotransmitters that control moods can be altered. You can literally make your child happier by giving them good food!
There are three ways that providing snacks to your child will be a great support to them as they study:
Benefit #1: Snacks eliminate excuses to get up
Often, getting up to eat can be a form of procrastination. Students spend a lot of time out heading to the kitchen, deciding what to eat and then cooking it.
By delivering snacks to your child’s door, you skip a whole step in this process! Students can feel nourished while sitting at their desk, or can just get up for a very short period of time.
Benefit #2: Snacks ensure your child has energy to work
Like we talked about, snacks can increase energy and therefore give students a better workflow. Eating regularly can boost concentration and keep your child in the zone!
Benefit #3: Snacks show your child that you care about their work ethic
On top of the physical benefits of providing snacks, it’s really vital that your child knows you support them. Giving food to students is a tangible yet unobtrusive way to acknowledge that they are busy working away.
It shows that you care about their work ethic and want them to succeed. Older teens in particular can respond well to this, as it shows they have parental support without it being overbearing.
And that’s it!
That’s our breakdown of how to support your child through the HSC complete! By drawing on this plethora of resources, you should be able to create a routine that accommodates both you and your child.
You can establish different levels of support that have been agreed upon and work well. Play around with some various means of support to show your child you care about them!
Are you looking for some extra support for your child during the HSC?
We have an incredible team of HSC tutors and mentors!
We can help your child master their HSC subjects and ace their upcoming HSC assessments with personalised lessons conducted one-on-one in your home or at one of our state of the art campuses in Hornsby or the Hills!
We’ve supported over 8,000 students over the last 11 years, and on average our students score mark improvements of over 20%!
To find out more and get started with an inspirational HSC tutor and mentor, get in touch today or give us a ring on 1300 267 888!
Lucinda Garbutt-Young hopes to one day be writing for a big-shot newspaper… or maybe just for a friendly magazine in the arts sector. Right now, she is enjoying studying a Bachelor of Public Communication (Public Relations and Journalism) at UTS while she writes on the side. She also loves making coffees for people in her job as a barista, and loves nothing more than a sun shower.