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Friday, 24 May 2013

Exams are a punishment for the parents

In my view, a brain can only have so much capacity, a bit like my camera’s memory card that blinks up full the second the dog is so hilarious that £250 from You’ve been Framed is just a ten second video away.
Rex? King? I thought
      you meant the dog.
Image courtesy of Gualberto107
This week has been the brain equivalent of force feeding. I have been helping the son revise so much that I don’t think I can claim to be a non-pushy parent. A juggernaut of ambition more like, if the alacrity with which I seized the Latin vocab sheets is anything to go by. If anyone ever needs me to decline dominus or rex, I’m your woman. The son, of course, still thinks rex is the name of next door’s dog and dominus is something to do with Fifty Shades of Grey. While I was there suggesting little notes, rhymes and visual prompts to jog his memory, he was seeing how many yawns he could do in one minute.
What's this brush for? Should
never have learnt about enzymes.
Image courtesy of imagerymajestic
So filled is my poor aching brain with guff about methyl orange, the equation for hydrochloric acid and yeast (unicellular!) that if I don’t get a bit selective about what I remember next, there’s every chance the useful brain cells will get pushed out and I’ll know that litmus paper plus ethanoic acid gives us red but I will have forgotten how to do my bra up. Or perhaps I’ll know the equation for photosynthesis but have to be reminded how to clean my teeth. The son, on the other hand, won’t know what colour the litmus paper will be, but will know the exact shape of every stain on the ceiling. He’ll still be bumbling through a shaky combination of water, sunlight, oxygen and carbon dioxide, but will have an encyclopaedic knowledge of the moves needed to move up a level on FIFA 13.
So what’s the answer? Not help at all? Trolley off to the sitting room to snuggle with the dog oblivious to the son’s wails of ‘I don’t get this!’. Shrug shoulders and let him sink into the depths of despair? I wish I could.
Maybe my mother had the right idea after all. Reverse psychology though I didn’t realise it at the time: ‘Put your books away and come and watch telly.’
I never did.

Happy Bank Holiday weekend to you...if you need a funny book to read, check out The Class Ceiling - school gate snobbery and plenty of pushy alpha mothers!


  1. My mother always seemed to be napping when I needed help, so I muddled through on my own and wound up in classes with "Slow" in the title. Algebra Slow. Geometry Slow. I've been way to involved in the academic pursuits of both my sons. I'm proud of the good work I've done on their behalf. I'm the ultimate enabler!

  2. You always make me smile or laugh out loud, Kerry.
    Try sneezing. I think it dusts off unused brain cells.
    xo ~ Rochelle