If you’re wondering how best to help your child through the rigorous International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP), you’re not alone. Many parents find it hard to get to grips with the programme and its countless assessments. So, as an IBDP alumnus myself, I thought I'd share the 5 ways my parents helped me to manage my stress and meet the high IBDP demands.
- Get to grips with the IBDP programme and lingo
If your child is stressing about their EE (Extended Essay) or an IA (Internal Assessment), and asks you for help, don’t ask “what does that acronym mean”? The added frustration of having to explain every second word before finally getting to the crux of the matter will just add to their stress.
Instead, do a little research on the course by flicking through the school’s IBDP Guide or browsing the IB website. You’ll then know what they're on about and be able to have a constructive discussion with them about their work without taking up too much of their precious study time.
Give your child space
Whilst some students regularly ask their parents for advice or feedback, many prefer taking a more independent route. If your child is the latter, let them come to you. You may only want to help, but combined with the stress of meeting IBDP course expectations, your questions and advice may actually add to the pressure and hinder their progression.
It’s best, in fact, to let your child know you are there for them by providing a caring and supportive home environment. If, as a parent, you trust your child enough to give them some space, do it as it could be just what they need to make some headway and achieve their goals.
Be there for the venting session
It’s completely normal for students to feel the need to vent when frustrated about a certain task. As a parent, if you notice your child getting frustrated, ask them if they want someone to rant with.
It may feel like an odd question to ask, but such an emotional release can feel very cathartic. IBDP students are, after all, not quite adults and therefore take comfort in the fact their parents understand.
Recognise the difficulty of the IBDP
Students naturally feel pressured to perform well in front of their classmates and teachers, and most already want to make their parents proud so only push as much as necessary. Completing the IBDP is a challenge in itself, and as a Brown University admissions officer said “I don’t think there is anyone who doesn’t respect the I.B.”[i]
Having said this, every child is different. Observe yours, get feedback from their teachers and set your expectations based on what they are capable of rather than pushing for 45/45. And if your child does underperform in a task, go over it with them to see where things went wrong and how to avoid the pitfall next time. It’s such discussions that will give your child the confidence to push on and succeed.
Combined, of course, with receiving the praise they deserve when they do exceed your expectations.
Investigate how Haut-Lac helps students stay on track
Life isn’t just a string of successes. The trick is to pick yourself up and keep going. Now that may sometimes mean getting help and support from others, which is why Haut-Lac staff are always available to listen should a student need help or advice.
The IBDP coordinator actually checks in with students regularly to make sure they are up-to-date and, if necessary, provide solutions to help them get back on track. This could be as simple as suggesting they attend booster classes to help them get to grips with course content or arranging Wednesday afternoon catch-up sessions. Or setting up something more long-term like individual or small group support sessions with the Individual Needs team.
The students also know that the school counsellor is available by phone, email or in person should the issue be more of a personal one.
So whatever it is, so do not hesitate to reach out. The Haut-Lac team is there to make your child’s IB Diploma Programme journey as smooth and enjoyable as it can possibly be.
Haut-Lac IBDP Alumni