Question: I'm looking for some advice on how to encourage my 16-year-old son to make the most of his after-school study to help prepare him for his Leaving Cert? His school has excellent after-school study options, but how do I know he is making the most of it and not just daydreaming or simply doing homework? I want him to use both fifth and sixth year to prepare for his exams.
David replies: There is nothing like being prepared. You, like many parents, have the foresight to see that steady and sustained application to academics, over a two-year period, are likely to relieve some of the stresses of approaching the Leaving Cert.
It's good that you are able to give your son that wise advice, and moreover can facilitate him to attend after-school study. I could imagine that you have already been explicit, with your son, about your expectations of how he should use this time and about how you value education, as a whole.
Assuming you did this, then I think you have done as much as you can do. It is now up to your son to actually use the time. It is up to him to get his homework done, and to choose to study or not.
You have given him the opportunity and it is up to him to take the opportunity and use it.
It can be really hard to give them this responsibility, because we fear they may make a mess with it. But they have to be given freedom to make mistakes.
Learning not to squander opportunity may be the most valuable lesson he will get in the next two years.