The International Baccalaureate (IB) is a globally recognised education programme preferred by more than 4000 international schools worldwide. It strives to develop internationally minded young people who can contribute to creating a better and more peaceful world. But as a parent, how can you best support your child during this challenging and transformative educational journey? Here are five practical ways to help your child thrive during their IB experience.
1. Understand the IB Program
First and foremost, make sure you understand the IB program, its workload, workflow, and deadlines. This understanding will help you adjust your family plans and behaviours to accommodate your child’s academic needs. The IB program aims to nurture learners who are inquirers, open-minded, knowledgeable, caring, thinkers, risk-takers, communicators, balanced, principled, and reflective. It prepares students for the challenges of the 21st century, which goes beyond academic results and encompasses knowledge, skills, and attributes needed for future-readiness.
2. Monitor Your Child’s Progress
During the first few months of the IB program, pay close attention to your child’s progress, but be careful not to become a helicopter parent. This is a crucial time when your child’s strengths, weaknesses, and potential interests will start to become apparent.
Let me share a personal anecdote: When I was in the IB program, I initially took German A Literature at standard level (SL) and was struggling to achieve a grade higher than 4. However, after changing to German B at higher level (HL), my grade improved to a 7. These types of adjustments can be game-changers for students, potentially making the difference between getting into their preferred university or not.
3. Support Your Child in Their CAS Activities
Creativity, Activity, and Service (CAS) is a core component of the IB program that encourages students to be involved in creative pursuits, physical activity, and community service. Find out more about this and see how you can help your child achieve their 150 hours of CAS. You might be surprised by how your network of friends, family, and local initiatives can provide opportunities for your child to fulfil this requirement.
4. Keep in Touch with the School
Maintain sporadic contact with your child’s teachers, the IB coordinator, and the school management. These relationships can provide insights about your child that they may not necessarily share with you. It could be anything from academic progress to social interactions at school. However, remember to respect your child’s autonomy and privacy. The goal is to be supportive and informed, not intrusive.
5. Provide Emotional Support and Seek External Help If Needed
Finally, provide a forum of support for your child. Be a listening ear, judge as little as possible, and be willing to occasionally take off the parent hat and put on the friend hat. It’s also crucial to be aware of external support systems that may be beneficial for your child, such as tutors for academic assistance or therapists for emotional support.
Consider options like hypnotherapy if consistent behaviour patterns emerge that are hindering your child’s success. Hypnotherapy can be a powerful tool to help individuals tap into their inner strength and transform their lives. Tatjana Lucia, a Self Health expert with multiple diplomas in Clinical Hypnotherapy, offers a journey into bettering all aspects of the self through a blend of hypnotherapy, psychotherapy, mindfulness, and embodied movement.
Remember, every child’s journey through the IB program is unique, and what works for one student might not work for another. The key is to be patient, supportive, and flexible in your approach. It’s not about pushing your child to achieve perfection, but about enabling them to unlock their full potential and become lifelong learners who can make meaningful contributions to our increasingly global society.
The IB program can be demanding, but it’s also an opportunity for students to develop the skills and qualities they need to succeed in the 21st century. With your support and understanding, your child can navigate the challenges of the IB and come out stronger on the other side.
Remember, your role as a parent is not just about providing academic support but also about nurturing your child’s emotional, mental, and social well-being. By understanding the IB, monitoring your child’s progress, supporting their CAS activities, staying in touch with the school, and providing emotional support, you can make a significant difference in your child’s IB journey.
In closing, the process of supporting your child through the IB is a journey in itself, one that requires understanding, patience, and adaptability. But rest assured, the journey is well worth it. The skills and experiences your child gains through the IB will serve them well in higher education and beyond, preparing them to become active participants in an increasingly global society.