I could learn a thing or two from our oldest son. 

He has a couple of exams this week; today and Thursday.  On Monday, 30 minutes before we were to leave for school, he asked if he could have the next couple of days off school to study.  Both his Dad and I said no, for numerous reasons.

Tuesday morning he came back to us, prepared to make his argument.  He had a proposed schedule for the day printed out.  He told us that in all his classes for the day they were only doing revision work so he wouldn’t be missing anything of importance.

His dad asked what I thought.

“I’m okay with his staying home for one day to study.  What about you?”

“Well, I’m not so sure.  I think he’s just sciving (or skipping, as we call it back in Canada).  Like we did sometimes when we were in school.”

“Yes” I said, “but I when I skipped school I sure didn’t do any studying or school work.”

“Me neither” said dear husband.

Oldest son just smiled.

Dear husband went on. “Ok then.  You can stay home but I also want you to add into your schedule, taking Abby (our dog) for a walk.  In the morning sometime before it gets too hot out.  And not just a short walk, but like for 20 or 30 minutes.”

“Okay, I can do that during my 8:30 – 9:30am break.”

It’s settled.

I took the other two kids to school.  Came home.  Ate my breakfast, checked email.  The usual routine.  At 7:30am it suddenly seemed quiet.  Oh, … oldest son’s schedule started and 7:30am is when he would do his first hour of math revision.  Right on schedule. So, he was off the computer and headed upstairs to his room.

Last year he wrote his GCSE exams.  He and his schoolmates were not officially provided study leave (which usually means giving the kids about 2 weeks off school, for study purposes) but they could opt to stay home and study with their parents permission.  Our son did just that and followed a strict schedule of revision for the 2 weeks, which he had all planned out.   From 7:30am which is the normal start of the school day, until 1:30pm.  One hour study, then 1 hour off, one hour study, then one hour off.  The day also included walking the dog and of course, time to eat some lunch.  He followed the schedule ‘religiously’. 

He’s like that though.  He has to go to bed at 10pm on school nights.  At 10pm exactly, every night, he heads to bed.  If it’s 9:55pm and he has nothing in particularly to do and I say to him “why don’t you go to bed?”  His reply?  “I still have 5 minutes left”.  At precisely 10pm, off he goes.

I’m amazed at his discipline.  The diligence and the manner in which he conducts himself.  There is no way I ever behaved like that at the age of 16.  In fact I might have to doubt it now, at the age of 48!  Particularly when it comes to a tedious task.  I can be quite disciplined when it comes to fun stuff for sure.  But all the other things in life that we have to do, take care of.  That’s what takes the effort.  The discipline.  The determination.  

I know he doesn’t want to study.  When he’s on school holidays he absolutely loves it.  If you ask him if he likes school, he looks at you like you’re crazy.  It’s like he knows this is what he’s supposed to do – and so he does it!  

Dear husband made it very clear to our kids years ago they have one job to do and that is to put forth their best effort with their schoolwork.  Yes there are other tasks, other responsibilities in our home and in life, but this is number one priority.  Maybe he ‘gets’ that.  Or perhaps it’s clear to him he needs to just do it….like it or not.  Get through it and then on to something he prefers to do.

Now as for dear daughter, or her twin brother….. that is a whole other story!