My kids are still in the midst of their exams, I hope they'll do well. I'm not the kind of mother who breathes down their neck when it comes to revision. Afterall, they're teenagers who should know how to plan their time. I shouldn't be molly coddling them.
YK spent 2 days at his friend's house mugging for math paper. His friend's father, a math teacher, coached them during this period. YK told me, "His father is an excellent math teacher, I don't think I had ever studied so hard in my life!"
Apparently, they studied from morning till late at night under the father's guidance. They adhered to a strict study schedule, it was almost military like. I imagine it must have been very productive.
That started me thinking about the seemingly lack of discipline in our home. I have been very lax with the kids. I allow them to plan their own schedules. They can study with the music in the background or while chatting with friends on MSN. I'm happy that they're doing some studying instead of loitering about with friends.
However, when I visit my friend during the weekends, I would find her kids bent over worksheets in a room dedicated for studying. The room is quiet without any distractions of any sort. Their father is quite a disciplinarian and the kids knows when to be serious.
On the contrary, I don't discipline the kids very much. I rarely get angry and they're not afraid of me. Besides, I don't impose many rules at home.
However, when they were much younger, their father used to set many strict rules, often inflexible and impractical ones. As a result, everyone was unhappy when he was at home. Naturally, the moment he left the house, the kids would ditch the workbooks for their toys while the maid kept her ears peeled on the front door so the boys could scramble back to the study desk quickly.
Growing up, my parents were not that strict. My dad is the stern and serious type, so we were naturally in awe of him. As a draughtsman, he did alot of freelance projects at night to supplement the income. Drawing building plans demand alot of concentration, so our house was always quiet.
We had a large L-shaped living room. My father's drafting table and our 3 study desks occupied one side of the room while the sofa and TV set occupied the other.
Mum assigned us homework every night. Dad would be at the drafting table as usual. My older brother, being the diligent one, would be practising math or something. My little brother would be pretending to read a book while his mind was a thousand miles away.
I was the luckiest one who sat facing the window. During the day, I could see the trees in the backyard. When it was dark outside at night, I could see the entire TV screen reflected in the window pane. Of course nobody knew that I was watching the same programme (laterally inverted version) that mum was watching in the other corner.
That explains why my brothers always did so well in school. I guess it also shows that you can have all the rules in place but you can't really force an unwilling kid to study. I was one who spent alot of time daydreaming with a book strategically placed on my lap. I wonder if my parents ever figured that out.