Don’t Need No Education

examsOnce again our little cottage is in a state of uproar.

The Teenager is sitting some GCSE exams, with the rest to follow next year.

I have bought him the Lett’s guides, replenished his pen-pot, explained how to write up mind maps and supplied him with a steady stream of juice to refresh his brain.

To no avail.

In the middle of cooking dinner yesterday (a home-made curry he refused to eat – tough), the phone rang.

‘Mrs Stumbling?’


‘Well,’ and sounding relieved to reach a real, live parent on the phone, regaled me with a tale of woe and lost opportunities. The Teenager could easily reach an A in this subject, but is cruising close to an F, if he’s lucky. The usual – not concentrating, joking around, no proper presentation of coursework.

It was a good conversation in some ways. I explained that he has all the support he needs here. Apart from anything else, I’ve been studying something or other for ten out of his fourteen years. It simply boils down to him being a Teenager who is somewhat lazy. And rude. And…(I could go on and on).

When he came home from school, I summoned him to the kitchen as I was juggling naan bread, a hot grill and a large pot of curry. He saw my face and scarpered, slamming his bedroom door extra loud. He really should have taken GCSE drama. He’s quite superb. I counted the seconds, and sure enough, within 15, loud music was blasting out. The angsty type.

I yelled up the stairs – handily, his name has three syllables, so the effect can be quite stern. ‘Wha?’ ‘Come down……..NOW.’

After a stand-off worthy of a spaghetti western, he sloped into the kitchen, refused dinner (a recent recurring theme), told me his version of events – ‘teacher hates me, wasn’t doing nuffink wrong, s’not fair.’ Stage direction – exit left.

A while later his door opened and his school tie floated downstairs, followed by the door slamming shut again.  Not the most rigorous form of protest, but it made me laugh. Which annoyed him.

I can only do so much. Nothing to do with MS. I have just returned from a visit to Staples as his pencil case was stolen and he needs the stuff for exams. He has an exam today. He told me this last night, around 10pm.

Stage direction – curtains.

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12 thoughts on “Don’t Need No Education

  1. jend says:

    Parallel lives we must be leading. Son has important exams this week and whilst there is evidence of paper, biros and a science book in his room there is no proof it has been opened. My issue is when I start a heated debate over the dreaded Revision word , my MS makes an unwanted appearence. I stress, my words slur, my mind goes blank and I forget basic English ! It`s tough all round.I am trying to let son pass or fail as he chooses but it isn`t easy !

    • stumbling in flats says:

      I’m with you!! I get stressed, my face gets all read and I slur. He then says I’ve been at the cider (I wish!). I’m a bit like a Jedi, putting verbs to the end (or German) – ‘study, you will’ and ‘sharpen pencils you must’.
      What is it about MS that turns us into Jedis? Before MS, I used to get by in three languages, now I can barely get by in my hybrid Glaswegian/Sarf Uk…

  2. colinjohn says:

    Tell the Teenager, stop being a drama queen! The only drama queen is me and I won’t be usurped by a tantrum, angst ridden Teenager! And he’s to do as his mother tells him ;0) xx

  3. Julie says:

    I had the same scenes 12 months ago with my son – including phone calls from teachers who must have thought his parents weren’t bothering.
    The annoying thing was I had passed the same exams the previous year so was well placed to help him revise. But he just couldn’t get into it no matter how I approached the situation.
    I got a tin and filled it with sweets, I christened it the ‘revision tin’ and only those revising were allowed to dip into it, and they had to have books out and being read. The success was short lived.
    We can make them sit down with an open book, even look at it, but only they can try and allow the information to be absorbed. In the end I just let him do his thing and he just scraped through to get on his college course so all is not lost.
    I was very frustrated and upset at his ‘don’t care’ attitude but there is only so much we can do.

    • stumbling in flats says:

      Hey Julie,
      It’s hard when you’re trying to explain to teachers!
      I just hope everything is in place for him – you can take a horse to the water but you can’t make it drink. Just frustrating that I know he can do it!!
      I like the idea of the sweet tin and am absolutely sure The Teenager will if I suggest it. But like you say, maybe its success would only be short-lived. He seems to work in rapid, short bursts, then coast the rest of the time.

  4. Sally says:

    Just wish they would get half as stressed as we do. I was stressed enough first time round don’t think I can do it again. I know next year gets serious for m daughter. She goes into 4th secondary (think it’s 3rd with you) and is following European Bacaulaureate system. They get 4 sets of exams in the year with 10 subjects for each ( 3 in her second language). They have to pass each subject to go to the next year. I’m stressed already thinking about it. She on the other hand is big on shrugged shoulders and ‘it’ll be fine’. I see lots of gin in my future.

    • stumbling in flats says:

      Yup, sounds exactly like mine! And we’ve got the whole thing to go through next year, meh.
      I’ve tried explaining to him that if he wants to stay on to sixth form, he’ll have to learn independent study. His teachers won’t be so supportive of sloppy, second-rate work.
      On his last school report, all the teachers were frustrated as they knew he wasn’t reaching his full potential!

  5. jend says:

    Yep, brain fog to the extreme . Degree in English and some days I can’t string a sentence together without a massive effort . To my son`s relief I think when it comes to talks on exams and homework . You have to laugh at it though.

    • stumbling in flats says:

      You certainly do!! Plus I still come out with random words, or make up entirely new ones. Keeps a smile on my face!

  6. Archie says:

    shut the electric mains off. silence. btw he should try Tiananmen square with that tie-slinging. would have stopped the tanks in their tracks! “whoooooaaah! stop tank – retreat”

    • stumbling in flats says:

      A laugh out loud comment!
      I managed to pin him down after school today and we had a good chat. No more tie-flinging.
      I’ve done the whole turn off the internet thing before. I’m still recovering…

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