THESE are daughter’s last days of second year in secondary school, wrapping up with year-end exams.
Mention that word ‘exam’ and I start fretting. Daughter seemed unnervingly cool and calm, not at all interested in pouring over text books. Should I be worried?
“Come on, start studying,” I entreated. “Some of your pals have drawn up study plans according to their mums.”
Here, I shamelessly took liberties with the truth — anything to spur her on.
“I’m fine, I don’t need a plan,” she declared, “I’ll do it my way.”
I bemoaned this apparent laissez-faire attitude to my pal who gave me short shrift. “For God’s sake, don’t compare. Do you want to blow her self-esteem? It’s only second year, not the Leaving Cert.”
That’s true, but next year it will be her Junior Cert. Although people say it’s not an important assessment, it’s incomparable preparation on how to cope and study for the Leaving, a necessary requirement for college.
For that reason, it’s a shame that the Junior Cert as we know it will be dropped in a few years’ time. Certainly, I don’t want to put pressure on daughter for school tests, but where do I draw the line?
Parenthood isn’t easy. New challenges are constantly thrown our way with each passing year. However, education is our children’s future. Even if school days are supposedly the best days of our lives (in my book, they’re most certainly not), the kids only get one chance and I don’t want them to blow it.
We spend the money on extra curricular courses — music, sport, speech and drama — anything to broaden their horizons and give them opportunities that weren’t available in our own youth.
And for that reason, I felt like throttling the 11-year-old when I offered him and his brother the chance to enrol in a summer camp.
“Do we have to? Can’t we stay at home?” he moaned.
“Mom!” intervened daughter, “if you don’t shove them out the door, they’ll be stuck in here the whole summer playing PlayStation.”
Don’t I know it? I want some timeout too! He eventually agreed, provided his buddy would also go.
It gets worse as they get older. Nagging about studying, pushing them to do stuff.
At least the primary school age group will be busy in school until the end of June and are still young enough to pack off to a camp or two during the holidays, but what about a teenager? Bar a stint in the Gaeltacht or getting a job, there’s little to do.
So here I am, already worrying unnecessarily before exams finish or school holidays start. Chill out. “Wear sunscreen,” as the song says — if we get the sun.
As second year draws to a close, daughter will be home for three long months with no camp, Irish college or job to go to. Give her a list of chores? Some hope. How will I cope?