From here to there and back again

Yes, I’m talking about my thoughts again, messy and muddled as they so often are.  Everything that’s happening with plans for the Freeschool for Canterbury is exciting, and rolling, and positive (even though I had to duck out of a meeting this week as I’ve been laid a bit low with a cold which has had me drained of all energy).  Everything to do with Boy 1 and school, and wondering what’s the best route for him has felt like its floundering.  What to do for the best?  To search for some possible learning disability or delay, or to leave well alone?  I can’t promise right now that I won’t change my mind again (afterall, that’s the greatest womans’ prerogative) but here’s where I currently have my feet planted:  I think I need to stop worrying about what Boy 1 might be held back by (I’ve come to realise this more and more when looking at the Reggio approach of focussing on a child’s strengths), I need to celebrate what he might excel at, and I need to pull him out of school and provide him with the tools for learning all he can on his own initiative.  I know The Man has concerns about this last point.  And he should.  I’m not the most patient of mummys.  I’m known to prefer to control a situation if I can, and this is the total and complete opposite to how unschooling works.  We might need me to return to work sometime and what do we do then?  I, on the other hand, am working from pure, gut instinct and it just won’t go away.  Someone else, like someone before me, is desperate for the library’s only copy of ‘Teach Your Own’ By John Holt.  I waited months for it, and I’ve only managed to skim read and mark out the most useful and relevent pieces in it before the next person is due their turn.  It has to be returned tomorrow.   It would seem that I’m not the only one desperate to make the right decision about this.  The Man is worried.  Worried for me.  He is concerned that if it doesn’t work out I will feel like a complete failure.  And I would.  But I don’t think it will be a mistake.  It’ll be hard and challenging but not a mistake.

Today was Parent’s Evening.  They kindly gave me the 3:30pm slot (as usual); I think they like to get me out of the way first.  The Man thinks I’m a cynic.  Maybe I am…but its interesting that I’ve always been given that first slot.   Perhaps I have this huge sign above my head, with a neon arrow: ‘Problem Parent’.  In which case I think I’m doing a fantastic job on behalf of Boy 1!  There was nothing to worry about.  I like his teacher.  The discussion was nice.  He is ‘making good progress’, Has ‘lots of friends’, is always ‘enthusiastic’ and has some great ideas.  He’s ‘exactly where a boy of his age should be’ (wherever that might be) with the slight exception of his handwriting which is massive, and uses capitals mid-word, and finger spaces can sometimes be omitted entirely.  His writing is bad.  But then how many of this new generation will be writing by hand anyway?  I’m not sure school is best placed to prepare our kids for their futures.  We need children who, rather than being spoon fed information and fitting into neat little (assessment) boxes, are able to think creatively, instinctively and adapt to a world which is changing faster than ever before.   We also recieved a letter stating that the school’s target for attendance is 96% and since Boy 1’s attendance so far this year has been at a disspointing 87% we are letting the side down and therefore any requests for time to be taken during school terms (for example for a holiday) will be considered with that taken into account (that is, will be rejected).  I would be more understanding if the letter drew attention to unauthorised absences but these are all accounted for.  Since I’m clearly one of the few parents in the school who respects the 48hr sickness policy they operate, we are now penalised for keeping our germs to ourselves and allowing our still small child to recover fully from the bugs (which he caught from classmates in the first place).  Can you tell I’m hacked off?  Thought so.

OK, in an attempt to take a long, deep breath I’m going to change the subject and remind myself that spring really is just around the corner.   Depsite a day of rain today it was mild, and the previous two days were absolutely gorgeous.  The bulbs are coming up in the pots my lovely mum-in-law planted up with the kids, the daffodils along our street are about to bloom, and the first of the local lambs are now out in the fields (am I painting a picture of bucolic bliss?  Good!).  At the weekend I used the older digital SLR to take some picures for the 52 Project and when I downloaded the shots, I stumbled across some photos we’d taken during last summer that had been forgotten about.  I am now looking forward to spring and summer this year, more than ever.  Here is one of the surprise summer shots I found.  Boy 2, with his blonde locks, now mostly gone, judging the height of the wall in our garden.  Oh how I hope that we have enough sun this year to bleach his hair.  Last year we went to Puglia in Southern Italy for Whitsun and his hair just changed over the space of ten days.  No Mediterranean sun for us this year, sadly, so we need the good old British summer to man-up to the job instead.  Here’s hoping…


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