Support your child to reach their potential
The HSC is a big year for both students and parents, so we’ve put together some free resources to help you navigate the journey ahead!
Here’s some free resources to help you manage parenting throughout the HSC:
Fostering a Growth Mindset
How, as parents, can we develop a growth mindset in our children, particularly at the pointy end of their education: the HSC? It comes down to language and a few other strategies as well. Here are some simple ideas to get you started.
Success in the HSC requires a number of factors to be in balance. In this guide, we walk you through tips on how to help you help your child manage stress, develop resilience, find a school/life balance, and establish a support team.
Improving Parent/Student Communication
Communicating with young people is a challenge for many parents. Often they will listen to anyone else before they listen to their own parents! Here are some different approaches to help you and your child stay on the same page.
Understanding Tertiary Scholarships
Many universities offer a range of scholarships in many shapes and sizes, which is often overwhelming for us parents! But don’t worry – this document sets out everything you need to know.
Providing Academic Support
For most HSC parents, being able to provide good academic support is about knowing where to look for help. Here’s a quick run-through of your best ports of call throughout the HSC, and who is best to go to for different matters.
Dealing With Results (Both Good & Bad)
The HSC is a battlefield of exams and assessments. Regardless of if your child is happy or sad with how they go in them, a huge part of year twelve is being able to keep moving forward. Here’s a quick guide on how to help your child process their results.
Here's what previous parents have said about us:
"I just wanted to give you some feedback about the HSC coaching in the Holidays. My daughter, Sheridan, attended 4 sessions and found them enjoyable and helpful (rare for her to praise anything like that, usually she would say things were a waste of time). When it came time for her exams she said that she used information and techniques taught and found them very useful.She did not score at all well in her trials and school assessments so went into the HSC exams with nothing at all to fall back on, so was not hopeful of a good result or getting into the university course that she wanted. But she obtained 5 x band 5 and 1 x band 4 and a UAI of 81.35 !!! Well above the UAI that she required. Naturally she (and we) are absolutely stoked and proud. Sheridan put in a huge effort preparing for the HSC exam, but we are in no doubt that the coaching sessions went a long way in assisting her. I would have no hesitation in recommending your college". Thanks again Anne Apter.
"My daughter Primrose attended 4 of your HSC courses last year and I think they made a huge difference in her HSC as she had offers from 2 unis and is studying Nursing at Notre Dame Darlinghurst. Very well done!!!!! Thank you very much and I am going to recommend you to others". Kind Regards, Claudia Rodley.
Dear Kathryn, My son, Jake attended HSC in the Holidays. We are really happy with his results. He should get into Engineering at UTS. His ATAR is effectively 90.6. He has also managed to get a cadetship with the RTA. Thank you so much. Robyn Jordan
"Thank you for all the help with the seminars in October. The courses helped Adam's motivation levels and confidence immensely. As a result, his HSC marks far surpassed what he was expecting to get following his Trial exams". Thanks again, Kerrie Watson.
HSC Parents and Mental Health - increasing support
After five previous blog posts written especially for HSC parents, we have come to the last blog post for this series! Take a look HERE at the other posts and their various strategies for the many different ways that you can support your child’s education in the lead up to their final HSC exams. The first three posts looked at the ways you can help ensure your child maintains their physical well-being,whilst these last three posts have looked at the emotional/mental support that you can give to your child. In the last post in this series, we will wrap up the emotional elements of support that you can provide to your child during their HSC year, followed by some tips for providing extra academic support. Supporting students emotionally Most (if not all) students in Year 12 will experience some level of stress, often without any obvious indicators. Many fear that they might let their family down.Others fear that they will not be able to match the performance of siblings or relatives. Moderate levels of stress can be useful to maintain motivation, but if your child’s stress levels become too high, some proven strategies for them include: Find their release valve: this might be exercise, or taking time out with friends, or reading… Relaxation: smartphone apps like Smiling Mind or some sort of meditation Time Management: make a list of tasks and prioritise Connect: with others – talk about your worries, laugh and be positive! For parents, your role is vital in protecting their mental health! You can: Practical support: take them to the library if they need it, or buy stationary Listen: and offer your support when they need it, be there for them! Identify: stressful situations at school, home or work for them Help solve: find other ways to solve practical and emotional problems Be there: be there for them! In the background or foreground, it doesn’t matter – make yourself available! Academic support Places to access academic support include: Teachers: contact your child’s teachers if you feel there is something each should know Tutoring: targeted and intensive is beneficial is your child struggles in group situations Online: https://studentsonline.bostes.nsw.edu.au/go/seniorstudyprovides information on the HSC process including assessments, exams, marking, results etc. HSC in the Holidays: free resources, seminars and subject-specific lectures/workshops to help your child achieve their best – https://hscintheholidays.com.au *According to the Mission Australia Youth Survey in 2012, coping with stress and school or study problems remain major concerns for respondents. Research has shown that Year 12 can increase rates of depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts and even suicide. In particular, the fear of failure and the apparent lack of prospects as a result of poor results in Year 12 were identified as major stressors for many young people. As well as managing school, many young people were also trying to cope with work, family and social commitments. The cumulative effect of these demands appears to be leaving many young people feeling besieged and struggling to cope.
HSC Parents and Nutrition - The Essentials
In the second of this series of blog posts for parents, we are continuing to discuss the strategies you can implement to improve your child’s physical well-being. Last time (in this post), we looked at the role of sleep in your child’s life, and how important it is to maintain an appropriate routine to ensure that your child’s body recovers and recharges. This time, we are looking at the role of nutrition in stimulating successful studying. NUTRITION TIPS: Key foods and their components have been found to enhance cognitive function, improve mental alertness and enable sustained concentration to help students learn and remember the themes, concepts of formulas for their final exams. So, what should we be feeding them? Protein and neurotransmitters Protein consumed from food sources provide the body with amino acids (or the building blocks) to produce key chemicals, such as neurotransmitters for the brain. Neurotransmitters are vital for brain cell-to-cell communication, and foods such as brown rice, salmon, avocadoes and sesame seeds all assist in memory, learning and improving mood. If students eat high levels of food low in these amino acids, such as junk foods, this will result in low levels of these hormones. This leaves students with lowered mood, concentration levels and a reduced ability to transfer immediate learning to long-term memory. Carbohydrates for energy Alcohol, caffeine and foods high in refined sugar are all seen as ‘energy boosters’. This is wrong. As the refined sugar from these foods is quickly absorbed by the body, there is a rush of glucose into the bloodstream, creating a short burst of energy. When the body and brain quickly use up this energy, the high is followed by a ‘crash’, leaving you feeling lethargic, irritable and sleepy. Carbohydrates, on the other hand, can provide sustained energy for mental alertness and concentration. Complex carbohydrates are absorbed a lot more solely, meaning that energy is slowly released and available for a longer period of time. This allowed students to be more alert, able to concentrate and commit information to memory for longer and more effectively. The best foods for this include wholegrain cereals, wholegrain breads, fruits and vegetables. Before an exam or a long study period, try: a light meal comprising carbohydrates and protein – e.g. an egg or tuna salad sandwich on wholemeal bread – with a snack of vegetable sticks and hummus.
HSC Parents and Physical Well-being - The Basics
In the third of this ongoing series of blog posts for HSC Parents, we will continue to discuss strategies you can implement to improve your child’s physical well-being. In the first post, found here, we looked at the role of sleep in your child’s life, and how important it is to maintain an appropriate routine to ensure that your child’s body recovers and recharges. In the second post, accessible here, we looked looking at the role of nutrition in stimulating successful studying. In today’s post, we will discuss the ways you can encourage your child to engage in some physical activity and leisure time to stimulate adequate rest to enhance cognitive function. Physical Activity It’s essential that your child engages in some sort of physical activity during their HSC year. Whether they play a team sport such as soccer or netball, or prefer individual sports such as tennis or dancing, your child needs to get out there and move! There are plenty of good reasons to be physically active – the big ones include reducing the odds of developing heart disease, stroke and diabetes. “Smaller” benefits include lowering blood pressure, preventing depression, improving sleep and mood, and reducing stress. Encourage your child to: Do 30 minutes physical activity each day: walking, riding a bike, running, etc. Join a team sport, if they can – this combines health with essential social interaction with others Spend time in the fresh air and in the sun Take time out from studying to go for a walk Walk to the bus-stop / station / school Social Activity Alongside physical activity is the just-as-important idea of social activity. You may think that you are doing your child a favour by reducing their social leisure time in lieu of studying, but in fact you are limiting precious interaction with friends that can combat depression and anxiety and increase general happiness and mental health. It is important for your child to: See their friends outside of school hours at least once a week (this is where a team sport comes in handy!) Put aside some time for leisure activities, whether alone or in a group Interact with friends in a situation that is not stressful or intimidating Acquire a new skill to keep the brain actively engaged outside of studying and academics Maintain friendships throughout the HSC year (in considering the future!) Students who engage in regular physical and social activities outside of school-time are more likely to have higher levels of happiness and success, and lower levels of stress, depression and loneliness. Ultimately, our physical and mental well-being depends on it.
HSC Parents and Resilience - improving communication
In the previous blog post for parents, we looked at the way that we can encourage a growth mind-set by praising effort, strategy and action, and giving honest feedback. In the latest of this ongoing series of posts, we will discuss ways that you can encourage your child to develop resilience and accept emotional support. Resilience in the HSC Almost every child experiences some anxious moments or have fearful thought and feelings during their HSC year. But anxiety and fear can be paralysing, and it takes time to manage. It’s your job, as parents, to stay calm, think clearly and project confidence when your child gets anxious. Here are some tips: Calm is created through your words, voice and facial expression. When children become anxious, some get angry, some become upset and others withdraw. Work out the pattern for your child and help them recognise when they are anxious, using soothing words. Accept your child’s anxious feelings. They need to trust that you are with them and there for them. When they trust you, they will be more willing to let you help them cope. Discuss, at a later time when they are not anxious, the validity of their fears. If there isn’t any, diplomatically discuss that they may be catastrophising, and look at ways in which you can help them reduce their fear. Challenge the validity of your child’s fears and anxiety, but don’t dismiss it. Don’t allow them to wallow in self-pity and encourage an outlook to the future. Encourage ways for your child to overcome their anxiety through action Improve parent/student communication Getting on the same page with young people is a challenge for many parents. Here are five different approaches to use so your child will listen to you: Use proactive language: This means using “I” rather than “you”. Don’t make them feel victimised when you say, “You haven’t done enough study!” as they will become defensive and want to fight back. Slow down: Slow down the conversation, and don’t make snap decisions or judgements! Teenagers often want you to make quick decisions in their favour but take time to think first. Don’t point: Lose the habit of pointing your finger at them out of frustration! Again, it victimises them and makes them feel frustrated. Use an open palm to indicate their messy room. Be aware of your face: Your facial expression can often give away much more than what you say, and teenagers are adept at picking this up. Choose your expressions carefully and getting them right will mean that they are more likely to listen to you and take your idea on board.
HSC Parents and the Brain - fostering a growth mindset
In this ongoing series of blog posts for HSC Parents, we are looking at the many different ways that you can support your child in the lead up to their final HSC exams. This can range from implementing physical strategies to increase physical well-being to implementing emotional and social strategies to allow for opportunities for success. This post is the first blog post to discuss the emotional and mental side of things, with the past three blog posts discussing tactics of improving your child’s physical well-being. Fostering a growth mind-set: The brain is always growing and developing – that’s a fact! A growth mind-set means to encourage your child that with effort and practice they can develop their skills and abilities in whatever area they want. A fixed mind-set, on the other hand, will let them down – this is when they believe that intelligence and talent is fixed, and that some people are ‘just born with it’. Success has more to do with fluid intelligence, tenacity and belief, and our attitude towards success is refined by our experiences and our learning opportunities. Kids (and teens, of course) therefore need to believe that their success is reliant on their effortand attitude. This growth mind-setis often influenced by parents from a very young age. We have a few tips to make you think about your language when discussing your child’s success and they ways that you can encourage a growth mind-set during the HSC year. Praise effort, strategy and action Focus your praise on the processes of what your child didto be successful, rather than the results themselves. “You worked hard to get that result!”– effort “That was a smart idea to tackle the hardest task while you were fresh!” – strategy “You recognised that first few steps were the most important but then after that you were right!” – action Give honest feedback We often shy away from giving feedback for fear of harming our child’s self-esteem. Giving constructive feedback is an important aspect in encouraging improvement and promoting a growth mind-set. Focusing on two or three things your child is doing well before giving constructive feedback is the best way to help out. “I love how you develop this idea here! What made you think of that? What do you think you could improve on? Perhaps you could focus more on the second idea next time…”
HSC Parents in the Post-Trial Period!
Your child has just completed their Trial exams! Congratulations! You're over the halfway hump! So, what’s next? After Trials, your child will want some down time. They’ve just spent the whole of the July holidays studying and they’re probably a bit sick of seeing their laptop/desk/books/highlighters etc. They are going to be exhausted and tired, and it’s essential that you encourage them to have a break before they have to jump straight back into final assessments. Encourage them to eat healthily and sleep well during this time and allow them some space to rejuvenate before the rest of the term. After Trials, Term 3 will pass quickly for both you and your child. They’ll still be working on various school assessments, and many of the Major Works (Drama, Visual Arts, Society & Culture, English Extension 2, History Extension, etc.) will be due around this time, too. Again, give them the support and reassurance that they need – they’ve now passed the last ‘benchmark’ before the final HSC exams!! They’re probably feeling quite lost after Trials, as it was the last thing between them and their last exams, and it’s going to dawn on them very quickly that they don’t have much time left! What to do now: Now is a good time to put some better study skills into practice. Help them draft a new study plan for the post-Trial period and pop it on the fridge so that everyone can see it. Encourage them to change their study plan around a bit to shake things up. If they like their routine and it works for them, then by all means leave it be. Many people, however, like to feel like they are doing something different in preparation for the upcoming weeks of intensive work. Remember, you need to encourage them to: Stay organised Help them stick to their study plan! Inspire them to create lists of things they need to do – often teens want to feel that they have accomplished something! By having a list that they can cross tasks off, they feel motivated to continue. Eat well Keep a healthy diet. This means plenty of meats, proteins and vegetables. Ask your child what they would like for dinner and help them get a nutritional boost with extra fruit, veges and legumes as snacks. Get lots of sleep An average 17 or 18-year-old will need at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night in order to function properly. Some may need more. Many teenagers at this time are undergoing various physical and mental challenges, and their bodies need adequate rest time! However, encourage them to wake at a reasonable time on the weekends to keep an effective sleep routine for the upcoming weeks. Moderate technology use This refers to social media/laptop/phone use, and TV. These days, children rely on their phones for a number of things – internet, social media, contact with friends, etc. This is not a bad thing. However, if your child is lying awake late at night with their phone in their hand (in the dark!), they are seriously interrupting natural sleep patterns and brain functions. Encourage them to leave their phone in a different room whilst studying, and limit TV time to after study time. Maintain a healthy balance It’s essential for your child to do plenty of physical activity as well as relaxing in some downtime. Keeping a balance between study/work/social life/physical activity means that your child will sleep better and stimulate the implementation of better studying practices. Fresh air is so important for a teen stuck in their room studying all day! Ultimately, this time post-Trials requires lots of support, space, compassion and understanding form your end. Words of reinforcement will go a long way, or a simple dinner together will show your child you are there for them!
HSC Parents: How To Help Your Child Start Year 11 or 12
Having kids in Year 11 and 12 can be tricky business. It's a time when your kids are discovering their own independence, taking more responsibility for themselves and their actions, and making some big decisions. Parents have an important role in supporting their kids through this time, but one of the best things you can do is to relax. Be supportive, rather than overbearing, and help them find a balance where they can take control of their own studies, but also have some relief when the pressure gets too much. Stay organised Big school events become big family events during these years. A major assessment. A final exam. Even if your child prefers to set reminders on their mobile, having a centralised space (like the kitchen fridge) with a timetable might give you some peace of mind, and create a sense of routine. Having that a calendar with essential dates will help the whole family feel like they're on top of things. Maintain balance It's important for your child to incorporate some physical activity into their timetable, as this can be beneficial in managing stress - especially when preparing for exams. If they have a part-time job, you might want to agree to restrict it to certain hours, for example, 5-10 hours per week only. For many students, it’s important to stay social and allocate time for family and friends. And if all else fails, simply encouraging your kids to go outside for a break in the fresh air will help relieve some of the pressure. Sleep and healthy eating It’s important that your child has a nutritious diet and gets enough sleep. There are proven links between what we eat and how much sleep we get, and how our brain functions. Memory, learning ability and emotional states are affected by what we put into our bodies and how rested we are - and to perform at our best, we need to make sure we are eating well and resting up! Parents, you might have a discussion with your child about eating well and agree on what a regular sleep pattern looks like for them to maintain an effective study timetable. Teachers really do want the best for your child, too Teachers and the school want students to achieve the best possible outcomes - both for your child as well as the school’s own results. Try to attend parent-teacher information events to keep in the loop. Staying positive and interested in assignments, study, and keeping communication open with teachers will be appreciated, especially if you have any concerns about particular subjects or levels of stress. Technology in moderation Perhaps your child has more independence with their phone, iPad, or laptop at this stage. However, unfortunately distractions (text messages, Snapchat, Instagram) reduce concentration and the effectiveness of study. Even though kids are good at it, research shows that multi-tasking leads to poor focus and learning habits, and this can be detrimental during important study and exams. Rather than put a ban on technology, you might set rules for its use, for example, certain times, after study, 10 minutes every hour, or perhaps after an assignment is completed. Stay positive Words of reinforcement and encouragement go a long, long way - even if it doesn't seem like it at the time. Telling your kids they're awesome will help motivate them to keep studying, even when they've had enough. The pressure of study and exams can cause extreme stress for many students, so having grounded, positive and motivating parents can make a huge difference to their confidence and stress levels. Be patient and supportive. They will thank you for it!
HSC Students and Sleep - What you need to know
In this series of blog posts across the next two months, we will discuss the many different ways that you can support your child’s education in the lead up to their final HSC exams. This can range from implementing physical strategies to increasing the emotional and social elements of support, ultimately allowing for opportunities for success. The good news is that you can start employing these strategies at any time, and they require nothing but your determination to see your child succeed and achieve their best! The first three blog posts (of six total) of this series will discuss a number of strategies to increase your child’s physical well-being. Despite the long-founded “belief” that success is purely the result of successful studying, it is important to remember that successful studying stems from both mental and physical health: this means allowing plenty of sleep and rest, healthy nutrition, physical activity and time for leisure. SLEEP AND MEMORY: You might want to tell me that you think your child sleeps too much, particularly during such an intense year – they should be studying, right? Wrong. Sleep is of the utmost importance for our bodies to recover and recharge. Without it, concentration levels decrease and the ability to recall information is negatively impacted. Without sleep, students will also have problems with their energy levels – which, yes, they need in order to study successfully. Help your child develop a regular sleeping pattern, by reminding them of the following things: Get up at the same time each morning Avoid caffeine (and alcohol, if they are over the age of 18) late in the afternoon Turn off technological devices around 20 minutes before going to bed. Do something relaxing in this 20 minutes – read, draw, meditate, pack their bag, etc. Be active every day, as this will stimulate muscle fatigue and regeneration during sleep However, whilst ensuring that these strategies are implemented by your child, be aware of letting them oversleep, and encourage them to only sleep-in on weekends no longer than two/three hours past their regular wake time. This will ensure that a satisfactory pattern is kept and that the body can fall in to a suitable routine. It is important to remind your child that appropriate sleep consolidates memory and enhances attention and learning and is essential for any child during their HSC year!
Parents: Help Your Child Study Effectively!
Parents.... it's crunch time! The HSC final exams are upon us, and you've done all you can to support your son/daughter throughout the past few weeks. Now, however, you've simply got to leave them be to study throughout the exam period. But what's the best way to continue showing your support and help them study effectively? (I hear you ask!) Don't worry, we've got some ideas for you: 1. Create a study-friendly environment Encouraging an effective study routine only works if you are able to help organise a study-friendly space! Help provide conditions that encourage concentration by eliminating noise distractions (that blasted lawn-mower!) and allowing your child to use an uncluttered area. Spaces with good lighting, comfortable seating and limited technology are best. 2. Assist with study planning Help your son/daughter to plan their study routine. Look at making a study timetable that takes advantage of when they study best - in the morning, afternoon or nighttime. During the exam period, they may have a number of days off, so make sure that their timetable allows for other obligations/social activities. 3. Encourage goal-setting It's often difficult for parents to watch their child finish their final exams. Some students may have certain goals they are working toward, but if not, help your son/daughter by encouraging them to revise their goals during the exam period. Use the SMART guidelines of Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-based to create both short-term and long-term goals. 4. Create a food plan Making sure that your child is eating healthily is the best way to encourage effective study. Stock up the fridge and pantry with healthy, nutritional food such as nuts, whole grains, fruits and vegetables and encourage them to take a wholegrain sandwich to eat an hour before their exam. 5. Be available Make yourself available should your child need some extra help or support. Knowing that you are there for them will help them feel more comfortable and relaxed during this time. However, beware of over-doing this!!! Many students like to study alone, so make sure you are not pressuring them or distracting them. Your son/daughter is going to feel stressed during this time, so it's important to know the balance between being supportive and being distracting. We hope you can use these tips to encourage an effective study routine and we wish you good luck!
Here are some questions that are always asked of us!
Who has created these parent resources
All of the guides and information attached to this page has been created by qualified counsellors and highly experienced HSC teachers. All resources have been written to take into account the latest in educational research on how parents can support their children.
Can I share these guides and/or information with other parents?
Yes, definitely! We are more than happy for you to share this information with whoever you believe would benefit from this information.
What student groups do you work with?
Most of our programs are focused on students who are completing their HSC (mostly Year 12, but some Year 10 & 11). We have found that this is the time that students require the highest level of support and assistance.
Are there other discussion groups or forums that you would recommend to parents?
There is an excellent HSC Parent Discussion group that we highly recommend!
How can I get into contact with you to seek further information?
You are welcome to call us anytime on 1300 677 336 or send an email to [email protected]