How much involvement should your parents have in your school life?
Who organizes your schoolwork schedule – you or your parents?
Ellis: Seeing as I’m in my final year, I’ve been afforded a little more freedom, so I try to manage my own time as best I can. I think it’s equally important that parents in general know what’s going on with their kids’ schoolwork. I try to keep my parents as informed as possible. If they were to totally organize my work schedule, though, I just don’t think I could agree because it goes so strongly against the grain.
Sophie: I’m quite organized so I don’t really need my parents to tell me to do my work. I’ve learned from experience that I can’t leave homework or assignments to the last minute, so it pays to be organized. My parents have never told me, “You have to do this now,” so I’m pretty much free to make up my own schedule as I please.
Albert: My parents used to control my time before but since I changed schools last year I’m more organized, so they don’t really have to play a role in it and I can manage my own time. I moved to Harrow last year and there are certainly a lot more rules to follow and a lot more deadlines.
Do your parents keep track of how you spend your social time?
Sophie: Again, for me, it’s the same as with my work schedule – my parents don’t really interfere. I do go out and have fun, but that isn’t something that I will let get in the way of my academic studies, so I just have to make sure I get all of my work done before I can go out and have a good time.
Albert: My social time needs to be organized after I’ve worked out what I need to do with my schoolwork. Sometimes, if I get behind, I need my friends’ or my parents’ help to sort out what I’m doing. I’m not too bad at organizing my time.
Ellis: At my age, it’s probably best if I give my parents the slip before they even realize what I’m up to in my spare time. My parents are always on the end of a mobile phone if I need to call them at any time. I think it’s my spare time to do with as I please. I’d be stupid to waste that time because I’ve got my exams coming up.
Choosing the right subjects at school is an important decision and can have an effect on your future. How do you or will you go about making that choice?
Sophie: What I think I would do is to choose the subjects that I like the most – that’s the most important thing for me. After that I would ask my parents what they thought might be good subjects for me. Then maybe I’d have to think about my future and decide upon what might be the most useful to me.
Albert: I never really ask my parents what subjects might be the best for me. At the moment I just want to choose the subjects that I’m interested in. It’s my life and I think I can make the decisions that affect me.
Ellis: I’m actually going to disagree a little with Albert there. When I made my choices for GCSE and then for A-Level I found I was making the choices based on what I wanted to do when I was older. At the same time, I then checked my options with my parents to make sure that they thought I wasn’t narrowing down my options too much. Families are always a good source of support and guidance for things like this.
If you had to choose between total freedom to make your own choices and utter control from your parents, what would you choose?
Sophie: If you were controlled for every second you wouldn’t be able to learn to make decisions. I’d have to choose the option to make my own choices, even though I’m sure I’d probably make a few more mistakes. I’d at least be able to learn from the mistakes that I’d make.
Albert: I’d like to have free reign. Right now, I’m having my exams and I feel like too much has been chosen for me and I’d love to have a bit of freedom. For my future, I think it’s better for me to have the choice, and I’m comfortable with the decisions I’m going to make, and the consequences, too.
Ellis: There are people who motivate themselves, and I’d like to think I’m one of them, but then there are those who need the reminder from their parents or from a rather strict school in order for them to get their work in, or to organize themselves. I’m much more comfortable when there is less constraint on me. To each his own.