Yesterday was officially the last day at school for my son. Well, I say officially because he will be back for revision lessons (even over the half term holiday) then his final GCSE exams up until the end of June. Then fingers crossed, he will be back for sixth form in September to start his A-levels. It should feel like a huge milestone, my eldest son leaving school. But actually, it doesn’t feel like it at all. Mostly because it really isn’t the end of anything when he is still slap bang in the middle of it all. Really it was just the last day that he will have to wear school uniform, that’s all. And that’s a good thing of course. I don’t think I could handle the whole my-baby-boy-is-growing-up-too-fast-it-only-feels-like-yesterday-that-he-started-school type of wobble on top of the exam stress we are under.
Seriously though, it has gone in a blink of an eye. I remember dropping him off for the first time at high school and it was terrifying. And I mean T E R R I F Y I N G. I found it much much harder than him starting primary school. My tiny little eleven year old in a sea of gigantic teenagers. I felt sick to the stomach and came home and sobbed my heart out. But now he is one of those gigantic teenagers. Finishing his GCSEs and hopefully going on to sixth form. Mind blowing really.
He has had two full on weeks of exams now and I think I have probably found it more stressful watching him go through it than I did when I did my own! Leading up to his exams starting, he wasn’t doing as much revision as I would have liked and to say that it was causing tension at home would be an understatement. A few days before he sat his first French exam, over dinner I asked how the revision was going knowing that French and in particular French Listening wasn’t one of his strongest subjects. He shrugged and said something along the lines of well, there’s not much I can revise for really. In other words, he hadn’t done any revision for it AT ALL! Je desespere! Needless to say I lost the plot. I’m only human.
I can’t tell you just how frustrating it is trying to encourage a teenager to do anything, especially when that something is because you only want the best for them. But nagging doesn’t work. I know that. And short of sitting the exams for him, there is only so much that I can do. I know that. So when the day of his French exam came around and he was sadly disappointed with how it went, there was no I told you so from me. He knew it for himself. And since then he has been making much more of an effort to revise. On the surface at least. Too little too late? Maybe. But I’m just glad that he finally seems to be taking his exams seriously. I can hand on heart say that I couldn’t have pushed him any harder than I have. The real effort has to come from him now.
In the meantime, we are all tip-toeing around him at home and I’m making a concerted effort to turn a blind eye as he lets his usual chores slide. It is evident that he doesn’t actually do anything around the house unless he is told repeatedly to do it. I have even had to venture into his fleapit of a bedroom to empty his bin and pick up his dirty laundry before it walked out of its own accord. Shudder. Oh and to keep his supplies of Haribo topped up of course. I think that is quite possibly the secret to exam stress survival. Half term now means a break in exams but he is actually going away with school on a revision camp. They are staying in a barn and there is going to be lots of outdoorsy type fun as well as revision. You see that’s another thing, exams are exhausting and you have to somehow find a way to balance the whole revision, sleep and relaxing thing. But one thing is for sure, the end is in sight. Gulp.