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Not Taking English

Not Taking English (Photo credit: Justin Harter)

I would like to say I am an expert in this field and I am, when I go into school. However the vacation has arrived and it is a study break for my 18 year old son, who is writing his final I.B. exams and all my wise advice that I offer to the parents of my students is sometimes wasted on me. For an exceptionally academic student, who would have started revising a long time ago I would tell them the following:

1. Trust your child

2. Ensure they eat healthily

3. Ensure they get exercise and fresh air

4. Change the study environment, for example, use a public library or find a quiet environment as well as their desk in their room

5. Use past papers, create mind maps and flash cards

6. Take regular breaks-short 2-3 min breaks every 20 minutes or if writing a past paper 15 min and change the environment. Alternatively, they tend to find their own rhythm

7. Find their best hours, it may be morning and afternoon, afternoon and evening or morning and evening

8. Ensure that one part of the day is dedicated to rest and ‘cheesy’ T.V.

9. Contact your teachers or ask if stuck in a specific subject area

10. Finally, I would return to point 1, and say Trust your child!

I would adapt this advice for the laid back, disorganised student and recommend that the parents support them with their revision programme, and help them get into a rhythm of studying but essentially the advice would be similar.

I trust my son but find myself not following all of the advice I would give to the parents, so I am not thrilled when my son decides to head to the George Pompidou centre library for a change in environment. Nor am I thrilled allowing him to watch ‘cheesy’ T.V. at night. He has set his sites high and wants to study medicine and whilst he is bright, he can be lazy. Passing his GCSE‘s was easy for him, I think he spent most of that revision time sitting on Parker’s Piece in Cambridge, and I trusted him then. Consequently, his results suffered, (although he still came out with 8 A’s and 1 A*.) For medicine, he really need 10 A*’s.

Having the memory of the past makes me more stressed, and therefore my parenting towards my son suffers, as I add more pressure, through ‘nagging’ and ‘cross-examining‘ him about his revision process. This leads to arguments and sadly, his false belief that I do not believe he is capable of getting the best results he requires to study medicine, which is not true as I have complete faith in him and I know he will make an exceptional doctor. So what have I done now?

I have come to realise we cannot nor should we attempt to control others. His future is in his own hands and he is responsible for it. I can support but I cannot force. This keeps me sane, even though I will slip and ‘nag’. But by reflecting on my own academic history, I know that if you want something you will find a way to achieve what you dream. Therefore, if my son truly wants it, one day he will be a doctor, he will find a path!

This small bit of knowledge keeps me sane, keeps the peace in the household and allows my son to use his energy effectively and for the right purpose, that is to study for his future dreams.

As a parent whilst we will always worry about our children, I have hopefully modelled the right attitude and behaviour to ensure he will find a way and I choose to trust him.