Molly Innes: How do you solve a problem like…Getting boys to work

Hot Cross buns, chocolate and bank holidays over, it's time for the serious business of the Easter holidays. Revision. Both teens have bac exams (part one for one, part 2 for the other) coming up in June.

Now, I hate to generalise. But. One of these children is a girl, the other is a boy.

One is sitting in front of meticulously prepared notes – complete with highlights, annotations and colour coded underlinings – that were prepared during the February holidays.

The other is horizontal, watching videos on an iPad and telling me to chill.
The exams aren't till June. Light years away.

Reader, I leave you to guess which is which.

Pretty sure I won't be much help with physics, I ask my son what novels he is studying in French.

'Er…there was a big one at the beginning of the year. Very long.'

'Title? Author? Any clues here?'

Er, no. I think I might have read it though. Or maybe that was a different one...'

I persuade him to bring his work downstairs. He tosses a bulging folder onto the newly-cleared dining-table.

'What's this?'

'My work.'

'Yes, but which subject?'

'All of them.'

I pulled the elastic ties off to let loose a jumble of scraps of paper, a bit like a shoebox full of VAT receipts that have been stuffed away for the accountant to sort out.

I pick one out at random. 'What's this, for example?'

He peers at it and does his lovely anglo-gallic shrug. 'German, I think. Or…hang on – no, maybe it's physics.'

I relate this tale to his German teacher, whom I happen to know socially. 'Oh yes,' she says, 'a lot of the boys have files like that.'

Am I meant to take comfort from this?

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