Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Schools - Secondary... or Boarding!!!!

Last night I spent much of the evening researching the secondary schools in our area. I know that seems really early but we live in a part of the UK that still uses the selective system, that is that the children still have to take an exam at 11 to show whether they are academically gifted - this then means that those who have the talent (and can take exams) can get accepted into Grammar schools whereas those who aren't (or who dont cope well with exams) end up in the Academies - if they are lucky, state secondary if not. As you can tell I am not a fan of this system - even though I would have done well under it. But neither of my children are academically gifted and, as their learning is roughly two years behind their peers, I know they wont be ready to take their 11plus exam. Ideally they will blossom in their teenage years - once they have managed to deal with the horrors of their early trauma. So the state system is probably something we are going to have to avoid... It just astounds me that in this day and age we still map out our children's futures from the age of 11 - if they can get into Grammar then they will be ok, if not.... well.

Which leaves us with the private system. Luckily I managed to find a couple of schools that specialise in small classes for children who may show talents elsewhere - with animals or the creative arts (both of which would suit Lea) or with sciences and problem solving (which has TJ written all over it). However, it wont be cheap - probably around £10k per year per child. I showed Papa and he loved it until he saw the prices, after that he suddenly had a change of heart and felt that the state option might be better after all... then he had a bright idea... home schooling. I could easily home school the kids and then we dont have to worry about them being led astray by dodgy mates or getting lost in the system. I was considering this...

Then today happened!

Coming home from school today and both children raced off on their scooters with a friend of TJ's... fine... they are all quite sensible and the roads near us are very quiet. Until, I came around the corner to see the three kids racing along the path and throwing stones at passing cars! I was livid. I furiously shouted at them and they all stopped what they were doing. 'You had better go home,' I told the friend. Lea and TJ both looked sheepish and scuttled off home. When we got in I calmly asked them what they thought they were doing - to be met with a flurry of answers all laying the blame for their actions squarely at the foot of the friend. I'm afraid I lost it - I dont really have a temper but when I lose it people know... within seconds both kids were in their rooms crying after I had hollered at them and banned Skylanders, TV and scooters for a month! (that may go down to a week with good behaviour). I then spoke to both individually about their actions and choices and... well, the usual stuff... Whereupon TJ said to me, 'But why aren't you telling my friend off?' I calmly explained that whatever his friend did was his choice and was for his parents to deal with but my children were not going to behave like that. So now I am worried that the children are both gravitating towards the more troublesome elements of their year group - apparently that is quite common for children from traumatic backgrounds - they are attracted to chaos and see similarities with children we may prefer them not to mix with. How can I change that? I want to be an accepting and open parent but sometimes I just want to lock them away for their own good! I now see where Rapunzel's step mother was coming from!

Then it hit me! Boarding School!!!!! Although Papa's nephew is at one of the better boarding schools and so far we have had to deal with under age smoking, drinking and probably lots more to come... but at least our nephew's parents don't have to deal with it - they leave that to the school and us as his guardians. So boarding school abroad is my latest option - we can let Papa's sister look after them, I'm sure she will be happy to return the favour. We go to Singapore next week and while we are there I shall start exploring my options!!!!!!

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