Sunday, December 12, 2010

Mom, you are right

Today started very much the same as yesterday.  The ominous upcoming EXAM week hung over us like a dark cloud. My older daughter has finals at the Naval Academy all this week.  She is locked up in her room with her dark sunglasses on trying her best to read through all the material.  Her vision is still very much impaired so this week's work is even more overwhelming. I know she is counting the days until exams are over and she can come home for Christmas break. My younger daughter is hidden behind stacks of books and folders and flash cards preparing for the upcoming exam week.  She has more flashcards than most stores have in stock.  She is an avid flashcard user and it is the method of studying that works best for her.  Every free moment this week she will be flipping through mountains of flashcards memorizing French, Spanish, AP Calculus , Physics, and Government facts.  I think I will only see her come out of hiding when she wants a snack.  My son and I started in on the algebra packet early this morning. It started out VERY much like yesterday.  I felt the agony swallow me up and actually had to take a sanity break. I left him to think about his own aspirations, his own drive for success, and what kind of determination he will bring to better his own academic achievements. I told him it cannot be me that wants him to do well in school and fulfill his potential - he has to want it for himself. The schoolwork topic is a hard line to walk - because thankfully my son does very well in school, so it is hard for me to make a good case about applying himself more thoroughly. He is at the top of his class and up until now, his method of studying has proven successful.  It is just that I know that method does not last.  He is do I say this politely......ummm....messy.  Yes - messy and quick. He does his work very fast and his folders are messy and his notes are messy and he doesn't quite believe in study guides ....or really studying. He likes to lay down in his bed and do his homework at night.  I want him to do it sooner - he likes to do it later. I like it one way, he likes it another. We have been arguing about this for probably a good 1-2 years.  I try to get him to do his best which is considerably better than what he turns in to his teachers. His teachers then give him an A which he then uses to say "SEE - I was right." The whole situation is tough as I can't really complain too much because he is such an awesome kid. I don't want to discourage him, but do want him to have better study habits. His method could possibly be good enough for the rest of high school, but absolutely will not be good enough for college.  I have been trying for quite some time to teach him that good study habits now will lead to a MUCH easier road in college.  Knowing how to study correctly is a learned skill.  Well today ---a true Christmas Miracle came true!!!!!  After our little "break" from each other - my son said those words every parent loves to hear. He said, "Mom, you are right." HALLELUJAH!  He thanked me for helping him.  He thanked me for being so patient and for putting aside all my work to help him.  He said he learned a lot this weekend and really understands everything he needs to know for his exams. He also said he could see that MY WAY WAS BETTER!  OH my GOSH!  I am not even kidding when I say my biggest Christmas wish was just granted!!!!!  Then my son wanted to make an actual study area in his room!!!  So we cleaned out a big desk just for him.  We washed it down, emptied the drawers and he started setting it up with his computer, dictionary, thesaurus, books, folders, index cards, pens and pencils! He is so excited about his new study area and even more excited about how he will be tackling his work from now on. It was just the best afternoon/evening ever.  He didn't come to the decision to change his study habits to make me happy.  He didn't agree to make a study area because it is what I have wanted. He wanted these things for himself which is every parent's dream come true. Forecast for the rest of exam week - smooth sailing and following seas.

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