School stuff – arrrggh!

We had a visit from the Head of Year and the Learning Support Coordinator from the school that Oscar is going to in September.  They usually go around the primary schools where pupils are coming from so it was good to get our own visit.  They were really friendly and the visit helped bring home to us that this is actually happening.  They gave Oscar a year book/diary that is similar to the one he will be using and he has read it from cover to cover telling me all the zillions of facts and figures that diaries have in them!   He did say though that he found the section on punishment weird and there is certainly plenty about the whole thing that I’m finding weird.  More than half of me is beginning to wish that I’d just talked him out of it all right from the beginning although that would go so against the grain of what we do that I don’t think I could have done it no matter how firmly I believed.  As it is, much as I don’t believe in school as an ideal, I can see what has drawn Oscar to the idea and who am I to say that it won’t work out for him?  I’m not him.

At the moment though I’m finding it very difficult to see anything good that could come out of school.  I feel I’m seeing all the negative things.  I can’t even think of any positive things.  I worry that although we are following what he wants to do, I know that I could talk him out of it and wonder if I will end up wishing I had.   Frankly if he had the chance of getting in at 13 or 14 instead, or if we could afford to offer him the chance of going to Sands at that age, then we would certainly put it off until then because I think he would be fine with that.

If he doesn’t like it and chooses to leave – fine.  But what if he has a difficult experience and his self esteem takes a dive or if he doesn’t enjoy it but doesn’t feel he can turn his back on it because he feels the failure to “like it” is his fault?  I worry about the finding friends part of it too, and the being accepted.  Apparently about 60% of them all know each other before they start.  It’ll certainly be quite a challenge that’s for sure.

He has an induction day in a couple of weeks and then we’re all going to a “Fun evening” with an “It’s a Knockout” tournament which would have been torture to me but his eyes lit up.  I just hope he’s not disappointed and we all come through in one piece.

Please someone, somewhere – please let me know that school can work out OK!

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7 responses to “School stuff – arrrggh!

  1. ((((()))))
    I can imagine how you must be feeling. I’m not a big help here, I think ;(

  2. Jax

    School can work out OK 🙂

    Merry’s eldest tried for a term, decided it wasn’t for her, but overall it was a positive experience. (I’m sure she wrote a summary post, but I can’t find it right now.)

    Alison’s eldest chose school at secondary and appears to be thriving there.

    All of Sarah’s are back in school of one type or another and it works well for them.

    The key point is that your son has chosen school, he knows he has your backing, and he (presumably) knows he can change his mind. All power to you for supporting him through it!

    hth

  3. Jax

    aargh, comment in moderation – must have put too many links in it!

  4. lindsay349

    Thanks you two. Jax – yes I am clinging on to the hope that going to school knowing that it’s a reversible choice will make all the difference. I read Sarah’s and Alison’s blogs with interest but didn’t realise that Merry’s eldest had gone to school and come out and that it was positive. That’s heartening to hear.
    Thanks! x

  5. I would have preferred Violet to wait until 13 or 14 too, but not really an option with competitive grammar schools. If she hadn’t got in, I’d said she wouldn’t be going anywhere we weren’t happy about, although she was quite keen just to try somewhere, but I would have really encouraged her to wait until year 9 or 10.

    She wasn’t particularly worried about starting there – but she’s a bit of a law unto herself, Violet, lives in a bit of a bubble. It probably helped a lot that hardly any of them knew anyone – there were the odd twos and threes from the same school (not necessarily friends!), but her school’s intake covers a pretty big geographical area, a LARGE population, and a huge number of schools, so they mostly arrived singly.

    I had a short conversation with her form teacher last autumn about homework, and he said something about “if she wants the success that being in this school brings, she has to jump their hurdles” (I paraphrase). I would take issue with that whole premise really – all those girls would do perfectly well elsewhere (maybe they’d get A’s instead of A*’s, shock horror!), and the thought of future success is SO NOT why Violet’s there! She’s there, basically, for the company. To be in the company of plenty of other freaks and geeks (as I fondly think of them), to be challenged, have competition, to always have someone to do whatever obscure thing you want to do with you (the highlight of her week is Classics Club 😉 ), to have some good, not-knackered-by-disciplinary-issues teachers, and to not be considered odd in any way for being bright and enjoying working hard. And that school, for her, is great.

    It’s definitely not for everyone though 🙂

    Practically, it works out well for us too – it is actually our nearest secondary school, and we must be one of the closest families to the school. So she has always got herself there and back, and I have always been happy to let her let herself in if we are having a day out. I never really fretted about her going there – and if I were sending Gwenny to school now, or in September (when she’d be Y8) I’d certainly be fretting.

    It’s not all sweetness and light – she and I are both crap at mornings, homework sucks, and there are other little niggles from time to time. It took me a while to get my head round the idea that sending/letting her go to school was going to produce a different person than if I’d insisted on her staying at home. But on the whole, it’s very positive. And it does give me more time for the other three 😉

  6. Ooops – think that was longer than your post! Sorry 🙂

  7. lindsay349

    Alison, thank you SO much. That was so helpful.

    The line “It took me a while to get my head round the idea that sending/letting her go to school was going to produce a different person than if I’d insisted on her staying at home,” is exactly where I am at the moment.

    I think part of me wonders if I am just not being brave enough to think I can meet all his needs in the coming few years. If I’d thought that at primary school level though then I can’t bear the thought that we wouldn’t have home educated when it has been absolutely the right thing all round for us. Having said that, I can’t imagine the second one going and that feels right (unless he/things change) so it must just be that it seems right for him.

    Also “have some good, not-knackered-by-disciplinary-issues teachers” – rang true as that was what I was hoping for. I don’t know whether O is going to like the sheer amount of work as we’ve never “worked” hard in that way and as he is slightly dyslexic it might well all end up all being a bit much but every workshop,class or activity he has ever done has been because he wanted to be there and I hoped he would be among children who also wanted to be there and to do what was being done in the class.

    I completely agree with you about “future success” too. Happiness is our goal both now and in the future and there are many paths to future happiness and we can only guess at the way! If he doesn’t enjoy it at the time, we certainly won’t be sticking with it out of any idea that it will bring future success/happiness. Learning what it is that makes you happy and acting on it is a far better skill to learn for life than sticking with something that’s not right.

    Sorry, I seem to have deviated!
    I’m so grateful to you for writing and for all the detail that give me a glimpse in to this strange new world. I found it really encouraging.
    THANK YOU! xx

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