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This week, I have come across this article written by Andrew Fuller, educational specialist, and as a parent of a student in his final year I found it useful and reinforced the information that we have presented to parents during the Information Evenings. It also created some good conversations around the dinner table as we discussed and unpacked the points raised.

How Parents Can Help Students in the Senior Years of School

By Andrew Fuller

When you have a student completing the senior years of school, everyone in the family is doing Year 11 or 12. Here are a few ideas for coming through these years flourishing, and having everyone’s dignity intact. Parents have a vital role in helping students:

  • Manage time;
  • Manage energy;
  • Manage stress;
  • Manage to get everything in at the right time and in the right place.

In addition to this you have to manage yourself.

Developing the System

Regular planned times for study throughout the year creates better results. Short regular sprints of learning are more effective than long study marathons. To create this you need to work out a system.

Sit down with your student and map out an ideal week including:

  • Times for sleeping (at least 8 hours a night);
  • Times for unwinding and relaxing;
  • Best breakfast foods;
  • The best times for study;
  • The best time of the week for consolidating notes and extending memory;
  • Time to catch up with friends;
  • Required school hours;
  • Time for part time work (less than 10 hours a week);
  • How to handle invitations around exam times.

Without a plan, you are simply left with doing what you like when you feel like it and often feeling like studying is not the most likely emotion in teenagers’ lives.

Study sprints should be ideally 20 minutes long and never longer than 50 minutes with a ten-minute break between study sessions.

Usually on the weekend, have some time set aside for organising information and testing memory of new information.

Patiently, talk through the system until you all feel that you have the best plan. Ask them how often you should remind them of the system when they don’t seem to be following it.

You may also need to discuss minimizing distractions - excessive social media use, listening to music while studying, multi-tasking or chatting with friends online is not compatible with studying. Multi-tasking is just splitting your attention and means you’ll need to study four times longer than you need to.

As a parent of a senior school student, keep yourself informed. Come to information sessions and parent-teacher meetings yourself. Stressed students don't always store detailed information well so take notes of key dates and requirements. Generation Next Blog

Mr Frank Torrisi - Deputy Principal