Which makes 10 days altogether too long by half.
So – where were we? Well, we had precisely no conversations about school at all, except one between me and Max where he told me off for being too negative about it. I’ll concede the point, but it is hard to get excited about school looming on the horizon when a) the school is a bit pants, b) the child in question shows no enthusiasm at all c) it’s going to change all our lives and d) the child in question apears ot have no comprehension of it interfering with what she already does, such as throwing a strop (silently) when she realised i was offering her sisters a musical day trip opportunity and not her. So in the end, having seriously considered emailing her, i told Fran that she was perfectly okay to talk to me about it at any time but from now on i wouldn’t mention school again except to tell her the day she was starting, ask her if she still wanted to go and buy her uniform with her. She shrugged. If i’m honest, i’ve hit a wall now – except for academically preparing her (except that i’m narrowed down to not mentioning why) i’ve not got a lot left to offer her unless she meets me somewhere in the middle. I’ve got no interest in it all really, and can’t pretend i have, it isn’t what i want for her and i’m not excited by it – but i will help her to make it a success – or i would, if i knew what she wanted from it.
Last Wednesday we went to Latinetc. I’ve got photos to take, which i’ve failed on but we did excellent French on weather words, which we’ve continued at home, alongside more conversational French using GP and a cd, Science on bones (bendy when in vinegar) and then a rather fabulous bit of organ biology where Helen made felt pieces of our insides to stick on t-shirts. Maddy was concerned by absence of reproductive organs 😆 She perhaps thinks Helen doesn’t know about those… 😉 Latin got done too and most people made Fimo dinosaurs. In the afternoon we went to the Beans and did watercolours – Josie and Fran rather loved that – Maddy got upset by being encouraged to try techniques other than “painting as painting should be” with them. I forget how rigid she is sometimes. Josie and i had 2 major face-offs during the day, but bizarrely since then she has been much less confrontational and we’re getting on far better again.
Thursday Max was at home with them so that i could go off and go through my notes on Josie’s birth with a consultant – the upshot mainly being that it is safe to have more children, should i choose to do so and that as i suspected, there was no real need for Josie to have been delivered by c-section at the time she was at all. It all feels a long time ago in some respects, but it is annoying to find out that i went through a very horrid experience for no reason at all. Bah. In the evening i went to watch Ams at gym for a while and noted she appears to now be in a class of 8, so i assume she’s been kept in that group and then went off to Brownies where we all went to the local climbing wall. Had a fab time there (i really do enjoy being an Owl) and they all had a lot of fun, mostly when they were manning the ropes for people heavier than themselves and got the odd Peter-Pan-like flying moment!
Friday i went to work but the girls did something fairly meaningful with Max – not sure what though; Saturday and Sunday Max looked after them (games, music, games, films, games) while i got on with the new site that is being built backstage. Not sure what possessed me; it is a mammoth job. The practised for the Talent Show (don’t think i blogged but they made the final!) and Fran did lots of music for the festival she is in the week.
Monday i got them all to work pretty hard in the morning; Fran is launched on a path of SATs papers now so i know she is up to speed with what she needs to be when she goes to school. I don’t really plan to let her sit the SATs but neither do i want her confidence to be undermined if she joins ofr the last fews weeks nad thinks she can’t do stuff she should be able to. She CAN in fact do these things but she hasn’t been coached to do tests, or do things in a schooly way. I resent the idea of children having the time wasted, for terms at a time, simply to pass exams. I appreciate they do, if they are lucky, gather skills they’ll be able to use in real life from them, but i fear that for too many, they learn how to answer questions on papers that they simply won’t be able to apply in actual life.
We sat through Maddy’s gym with one lot of papers and basically let her do what she could and then i helped her with things that baffled her. Of course, she could do the things needed but in a few places she struggled to identify what she was being asked for. What we’ve done, starting with maths, is use papers to find out her strengths or weaknesses, look at how the paper wants her to think and practise places she needs a bit of confidence. We’ve talked a bit (argh) about exam techniques and looking for clues in the question or making sensible guesses if necessary. We’ve talked about assuming they will in fact have set a question that is something she should be able to do and looking for the patterns. I can’t believe that a mental maths SAT test actually has all the figures for the question written next to the answer box – is that mental maths then, really?
Even with me giving her no marks if i gave her any help at all, she still got a solid level 4 on her first set of papers – i wonder if she’d be better or worse if she had been in school? Most of the ones she didn’t get a mark on, she can do easily now. The science paper was funnier – when asked why the farmer grew food, she answered “So he can sell it to make money” (that’s my girl!) as well as “to make food for people to eat”- i was astonished that in the marking scheme it said to give extra credit if the pupil has realised our food is grown for us as many just don’t realise that. *smacks head on table* However, it described the farmers difficulties with rabbits in the field and then said “The farmer is getting ready to pull up the carrots. What will happen to the rabbits when he does?” And Frances, who i suspect is more emotionally the scientifically inclined, wrote “They’ll get very excited.” Apparently she was thinking that he’d be feeding them to the rabbits… Dot. Dot. Dot. 🙄
Still, otherwise her science paper was okay – education city, reading and conversation has apparently done just fine.
Meanwhile Amelie is doing some CGP maths and finished off her EC science, Josie finished off her EC literacy so is on to reception level now, Maddy is reading for England i think and has devoured a set of Usborne books now, so has moved on to a set of mini encyclopedias. Amelie is reading plenty; she has no fear of words, which is lovely and i enjoy listening to her.
We also fitted in some more universe books somewhere in that and i managed to see a rep too, then went off to see Sue and LF for lunch – that was lovely and once we’d done that, it was off to Jazz and Gym. Watched Maddy and was very thrilled for her getting her badge 3 – first in the family to do it – if only by 2 hours. She was chuffed to bits with herself. Then i took her home and came back to watch Fran – she’s trying to perfect forward rolls on the beam, having apparently slightly lost the knack but is also working on cartwheeling up there, straddle ones (!?) and a little routine of dance steps. Made me wince just looking at her. She loves bar at the moment and is looking stronger there – she’s got the hang of squat on now and is jumping to the higher bar and doing casts (letting go in between swings) very nicely. She just looks so strong when i watch her and so focused – lovely to see. She did nearly brim over when she was the only one in the group to be allowed to move off dive rolls (high forward roll onto a crash mat) and on to somersaults – i watched (with one eye open!) but she did a couple of really nice ones. I just can’t imagine being able to do that!!!! You might as well ask me to fly 😆
Fran mentioned to her teacher that she’d never done the badges in the recreational class apart from badge 5; apparently you are supposed to have done Badge 1 before you move into Novice but Fran bypassed them, so her coach tested her and she passed 4 in 5 minutes. 😆 She was pleased with that – but after7 badges in one week, i was starting to feel light in the pocket!