Merit

Props to the Boy Wonder for his hard work at school of late.

The school has a merit/demerit system, whereby good behaviour and achievements (for example) are rewarded with points, while being naughty or being late to class (for example) will lose you points. Each week, the scores are totted up and those with the highest scores are celebrated in school assembly. Good for them.

Here’s my son’s chart for this week so far:

1 point for his simple, but effective Science project. Good.
1 point for “excellent” work in French. Bien.

And 2 points for calmly capturing and removing a decent-sized Cape Skink (Trachylepis capensis) while all around him in his History class were losing their heads. Awesome.

I’m happy to say that my kids have no issues with any of the harmless local wildlife:

…and (equally importantly) a healthy respect for the dangerous stuff.

There’s more to schooling than just academic achievement, and I’m really proud that in a class of 20+ screaming kids (and 1 screaming teacher?), my boy was the one who kept his cool and helped out. And saved the skink, as well.

Nice work.

Best Line from an Educational Psychologist in 2018

(So far, anyway.)

We went along to the High School introduction evening yesterday. It included details of how they were going to teach our high school child, some information about the school camps, and a talk by a local educational psychologist.

Lot of the stuff she said made a lot of sense to me and the assembled parents of pre-teens. But then she came out with this quote, and it was perfect:

I was talking to a group of parents of toddlers yesterday.
I love to talk to parents of toddlers: there’s still so much hope!

We all laughed. But then… actually… ouch.

Back to school 2018

And so, the day I was dreading on Monday has come to pass. And it wasn’t so bad after all.

Looking back now (and to be fair, it is some chronological distance), I can’t recall my feelings at heading back to school after the summer break. Obviously, coming from a Northern hemisphere nation, we started back in September, but other than that, not much has is very different, and when I dropped our two off this morning, there was the usual melange of oversized school bags, new uniforms, smiles, tears and anxious parents.

Not for us, of course. Our kids were gone – Single Use Plastic-free lunchboxes in hand – just as soon as the car doors opened. They’ve headed back to school with a good deal of enthusiasm, tempered with perhaps just a touch of resignation at the end of the holiday and a smidgen of trepidation at the challenges that lie ahead. But the experience was overwhelmingly positive – they enjoy school and they react well to having more structure to their days – especially after 7 (seven!) weeks of holiday.

Last year was exceptional. Let’s see if we can do even better in 2018.

Next week

Much as the theme music of the pisspoor Sunday evening offering of Carte Blanche heralds the end of the weekend in Checkers-shopping households all over the country, so tomorrow morning’s alarm clock will be the last “late” weekday wake up call as the kids head back to school on Monday after 4 (four) weeks off.

I say “late” in inverted commas because we’re not talking a nice long lie-in or anything. Just an extra (and ever so welcome) hour under the covers. That’s all over now – at least until a week in late September.

I will have to do the switch over the alarm setting on the phone from School Holiday to School Day as soon as I wake up in the morning, or I will forget. Good bye, Holi.

And back also, I fear, will be the traffic. Journeys to and from work will take three times longer next week than they did this. Also, it’s nearly August, so several or more of those journeys will be in the rain.

There is no upside to all of this, by the way. There doesn’t always have to be a light at the end of the tunnel, although a tunnel might help with the trip to work.

Normal positivity returns tomorrow. After that last early morning hour in bed.

Sadness in her eyes

It’s coming to the end of another school year, and it was the annual prizegiving ceremony for my daughter today. At this age, everyone gets a certificate and a round of applause – a celebration of their varying levels of various achievements. Only once they get older does the Hunger Games style competition kick in with the select few being picked out for individual honours. For the moment, everyone survives. Mostly.

While it’s a happy time, with the kids already sensing the demob happy chaos of their final week, it’s also sad as the ties between kids and their teachers have to be broken as the students move onward and upward. For many reasons, Scoop and her teacher this year have had a particularly close bond, and there were a few tears as Scoop was selected to present some flowers to Mrs M.

It’s not like they won’t see each other again (for starters, they’ve got another 7 school days together): their respective classrooms are virtually next door to one another next year. But it just won’t be the same.

We owe Mrs M a lot. She’s set the foundation for Scoop’s entire academic future. And it looks rosy.
No pun intended.