Remember that song from Grease 2? No? Never mind, I’ve included a clip at the end just to put a smile on your face. So, if you’re a regular reader of this blog you’ll know my husband aka MustBeTheDaddy has more or less taken over due to my ineptitude at keeping it going. You’ll also know that since I last blogged we have a new addition to Team Saul who is now being weaned by said husband. AND you’ll know that I am back at work. So basically, a lot has changed. If you’re not a regular reader of this blog, thank you very much for taking the time to read this post. I can only assume it’s because you’re a massive Grease 2 fan.
So anyway, yep, back to schooooooool. The big one is now in Year Two. The middle one (still feels weird calling her that) has just started Reception. Everyone is happy. For me, September signals new beginnings much more than January 1st. It’s a time to take stock. To reflect. To think about the future. To plan the trip to the Christmas Grotto. To set aside a budget for Christmas presents. To eagerly await dark Saturday nights on the sofa watching Strictly and X Factor. Oh yes, September is a useful and pleasant month.
Added to that, it’s the big one’s birthday in September. We’ve already hosted her birthday disco and I have written ‘BUY 7 YEAR OLD CARD’ in eyeliner on my forehead so that I remember tomorrow morning. By this I mean “buy a card for a seven year old” not “buy a card that is seven years old” (a. that would be weird and b. where would I even find one?). Also, I do actually know that my big one is turning seven so I’m not really sure why I’ve written that on my head. (I do know really, it’s because I love a number).
Talking of numbers, I was quite dismayed this morning when she asked me what half of six is. I mean, shouldn’t that be pretty clear for a seven year old? She’s a bright kid. Her reading and spelling level is probably the same as a kid a few years older than her. But unfortunately she’s decided she can’t ‘do’ maths. This is a shame. I’m concerned that if she’s already decided she can’t ‘do it’, she won’t even try. She’s a perfectionist so if it’s not 100% amazing it’s basically shit. I have no idea where learned this type of behaviour. It’s certainly not from me or MustBeTheDaddy. Neither of us strives for perfection (if we did, we probably wouldn’t have married each other!). Anyhow, I digress. I hate to admit it out loud (or even to myself for that matter) but I am already thinking very seriously about secondary schools for her. For a long time I wanted her to attend the local girls’ grammar school (*pauses to reflect*) but if she doesn’t ‘do maths’ and has already given up the piano because she “didn’t have the time” to practice, I’m concerned that she may not cut it at a selective, competitive, single-sex school. She also doesn’t even know her three times table which, considering one of our little neighbours knows ALL his times tables (up to 12) and is currently focusing on his 75 times table, does academic papers before school and has them ‘marked’ and corrected after school by his mother, makes me think I probably wouldn’t cut it as the parent of a child at a selective, competitive, single-sex school.
A friend of mine told me about a new website that has just launched called schoolreviewer.co.uk which is really helpful in researching the schools nearest to you, stating clearly what their OFSTED rating is and showing a heat map to help figure out if your child has a cat in hell’s chance of actually getting in. It also gives parents the chance to review their schools which is great as it gives a much more rounded view of whether the school is right for your child – after all, a school is about so much more than the OFSTED result alone. There’s a handy buy/sell section which, once more parents register to use the site, will be super helpful in terms of selling on your old uniforms and buying barely-used second hand items.
I’ve just been on it to see where my kids are most likely to end up and guess what? That mum who sets her kid extra homework before and after school will totally want to be checking the site out – there are walkthroughs for GCSE Maths, SATs and 11+ papers all explained by a teacher who sets and marks the questions. The site also talks through how to score top marks and points out common mistakes.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m certainly not an advocate of spoon-feeding kids so they only learn what they need to learn to pass tests (I’ve had to work with far too many millenials who seem unable to think for themselves) BUT it will definitely help Team Saul prepare for the important stuff that is to come. And it may even help the Team Head (me) prepare for the best case/ worst case scenario of holding my own at the school gates of a selective, competitive, single-sex school.
Disclaimer: this is a contributed post