Seriously, I really don’t know where the time has gone this spring. As most mothers of school-age children, I tend to measure passing of the year from one school holiday to another, and the last half-term seems to have been extremely short. The children barely went back to school after Easter and off they were again. We’ve just had a week of a half-term break and that has made me realise that in a few weeks time they will be breaking up for summer holidays! All this tends to make me think about the passing of time and my age a tad too much, so I’ve decided to go into denial and assume that I am 21. Permanently.
Half term was busy. We didn’t go anywhere and didn’t do anything particular, but my eldest son’s end of year exams week starts tomorrow, so he was busy revising. He has thirteen exams over five days and left it mostly for the last minute, as usual.
First he refuses to revise on a regular basis in small chunks, then he panics that he is not going to do well and will end up having to do re-sits. We’ve been through this in previous years, so he should know better, but each year he behaves as if he’s never had end of year exams before.
Yes, I could (and maybe I should?) nag him every week to revise as he goes along, but at some point he really needs to take some responsibility for his actions, shouldn’t he? One of my friends has recently told me that, apparently, a lot of university drop-outs are students who had too much support from their parents and teachers during their school years. I don’t know the exact basis for this hypothesis, but it does make some sense on a logical level. If someone is not used to having to plan and organise their own workload, even if it’s just homework and revision, it can be very tough to suddenly have to do it all when they are away from home and nagging parents, and far too close to the temptation of all night parties.
My youngest did a bit of work too (as well as fun stuff), as he is getting ready for his 11+ entrance exams in September. I have to manage his workload carefully – we still have a few months to go and I can’t let him burn out. On the subject of the said exams, I’m pleased to report that he sat his first ‘official’ mock test in one of our local grammar schools and did well – in fact better than I expected.
This, of course, does not guarantee anything at all. I know a couple of children who did exceptionally well in their mocks a few years ago, but didn’t get into their preferred schools. One of them was a girl who – we all thought – would pass with flying colours, but she had a massive headache on the exam day and ended up missing the pass mark by just one point. Presumably, all due to stress. As you can imagine, she was very upset, especially that two of her best friends did get in. So, I am not assuming anything at all regarding my son’s chances of getting a place in a grammar school, but I am very pleased about his mock result nevertheless, as it has given him a massive confidence boost.
He is going to do another mock in June and one more in July, just to get more exam practice (all different sets of papers), but I am going to give him most of the summer off. The place where he does his 11+ preparation course on Saturdays is going to run an intensive 10-week course starting in early August, with sessions on Saturdays and Sundays, but we are not signing up for it. I think it will be much better for him if he can just relax in the final weeks before the real exam rather than get stressed out by the frenzy of constant testing.
Talking of preparations – I am completely unprepared for the week ahead. There are at least three or four things I was supposed to have done before the start of the next week, and a pile of school shirts that need ironing is the smallest of them all. If I haven’t said it before, I hate ironing. It is one of the most brain-numbing activities I can imagine. Perhaps I should start teaching the boys to iron their shirts – have to invest in a cheap iron first, in case they somehow manage to drop the good one… Before that happens, though, I better go and get my ironing done.