(Yahoo!) - Mark Wahlberg is no dummy.

The actor has revealed that he recently made a decision to earn his high school diploma for his four children, who are getting closer to their own high school years every day.

"I didn't want the kids saying, 'You didn't do it, so why do I need it?'" Wahlberg told People. "They are all wanting to do things in their future that require an education."

Wahlberg, 42, was doing drugs and stealing cars by the time he'd reached his early teens, and he ended up dropping out of school in the ninth grade. Like most parents, he wants much better for his children Ella, 10; Michael, 7; Brendan, 5; and Grace, 3.

So in order to set a good example, he studied for his online classes between takes on the set of his latest blockbuster, "2 Guns," although co-star Denzel Washington had no idea Wahlberg was hitting the books.

"Denzel was always asking me what I was doing but I didn't want to share that information with him," he said. "Nobody knew, because I felt like I don't like to count my chickens before they hatch, so I didn't want to say that I was doing it until I actually finished it. What if I said I'm doing this and I didn't finish it?"

Fortunately, he did. The "Boardwalk Empire" producer received his high school diploma in June, which he considered "a huge accomplishment."

"It's also a huge sense of relief," he confessed. "I wondered, 'Why didn't I do it when I was there?' It's so much harder at 41 going back and trying to do all these difficult tasks."

He wrote an op-ed for Huffington Post advocating for investment in education. The former underwear model also described the work that his charitable Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation is doing with "organizations making a difference" in helping teens graduate, such as the Taco Bell Foundation for Teens.

As for his own education, Wahlberg said he hasn't necessarily completed it yet.

"I would love to go to USC and study film," he noted. "I don't want to become a veterinarian or anything, [I want to study] things that further my career and broaden my horizon."

As long as it doesn't interfere with his TV and movie making, we're all for it!

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