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How to support your son or daughter studying from home

How to support your son or daughter studying from home

by Judith Charlton

As 2020 drew to a close and the new year began, came the dual announcements that A Level and Scottish Highers exams would be cancelled in 2021.

Instead, as the global pandemic continues to interrupt students’ education, grades this year will be based on school and teacher assessments.

Now that schools have closed and learning is online, how can you support your son or daughter as they study from home? And how can you help them stay motivated to continue learning and pursue their dream of going to university?

How will teachers assess grades this year?

This is still being discussed, but both English and Scottish exam regulators are determined to learn from the experiences of 2020.

Although it’s clear Centre Assessed Grades (CAG) will be at the core of any new approach, how schools and teachers are supported to make those assessments is still being worked out.

In England, externally set tasks and short papers could be introduced to help teachers make A Level grade assessments, but so far this hasn’t been confirmed.

Studying at home

Given the disruption caused by Covid-19 last year, the news that exams were being cancelled was probably a relief for most students.

But these are still uncertain times and now, perhaps more than ever, your son or daughter needs to stay engaged with their school or college, interested in their schoolwork, and their plans for university.

To help, we’ve come up with some practical tips for you to support them as they study at home.

1. Create some structure

A normal day at school or college is heavily structured, with specific periods for learning, social interaction and fun stuff, too.

Although it’s not possible to replicate that structure at home, encourage your son or daughter to draw up their own timetable for study and downtime. Ask them to share it with you, so you not only feel confident they’ve got the balance right, but you also know when they need quiet, uninterrupted time to work.

Taking ownership of their workload, knowing what they need to achieve and being clear on how they’re going to complete their work, are great self-study habits to develop in readiness for university. Hopefully, it’ll also help them feel more in control of their studies and more focused.

2. Resist the temptation to check up

Popping in with a drink or a snack while your son or daughter is working mightn’t seem like a dreadful thing to do, but do it too often and they’ll think you’re checking up on them and don’t trust them to study.

If you’re confident they have all the resources they need and know what they need to do, let them get on with their work.

3. Keep talking

Teenagers are notorious for being uncommunicative, so if your son or daughter isn’t a great ‘sharer’ of information that can lead to a lot of anxiety for you.

Make sure they know you’re there to support them and try striking a deal: in return for you giving them space, they promise to ask you if they need help.

And if they do hit problems or need advice, discuss possible solutions with them; they might surprise you with their approach to solving a particular issue. Helping them take the initiative and tackle their concerns will stand them in good stead for life at university.

4. Be realistic

These are unprecedented times and your son or daughter can’t expect to study in the same way as they would in the classroom.

If they’re worried about their schoolwork, try encouraging them to talk to their teachers who are best placed to know where they should be in their studies, taking into account the disruption caused by the pandemic.

Reassure your son or daughter, too. Whether they believe it or not, they really are doing a great job at a very stressful time.

5. Be a role model

We all learn how to behave from unconsciously observing the world around us, so if you’re working from home too and are organised in how you approach your work, you’re setting a great example.

Encourage them to put their mobile phone away so they can work undisturbed, take structured screen breaks, get some exercise and fresh air – all the things you’re doing during the working day to stay focused and be productive.


We hope you’ve found this blog post useful – do keep checking back with us for more resources to help you and your son or daughter as they prepare for university. To find out more about the University experience in 2021, why not download our new eBook - 2021 Entry: What will university be like?