Saturday, October 13, 2007

A Colour Badge - Boy Done Good

Last day of school yesterday before the start of a two-week half-term break.

I edged away from a conversation between two new parents, one of whom was asking about a Maths tutor for her son.

Then another mum approached the group of mothers I was with and asked if Thursday's maths homework was a bit of a struggle. She said she took a very long time to explain the intricacies of the different mathematical concepts to her son. Another said they took 40 minutes to complete it.

One of the mums said to me, "Obviously, your son must have completed it without any problems."

Well, he didn't.

I now know why my son had a worried look on his face when I picked him up on Thursday. They had been warned that Maths homework was supposed to be quite difficult, so it's OK if they did not complete the second part.

Even before he got his shoes off my son whipped out his worksheet and sitting at the bottom of the stairs, we read through it.

It was history of the Romans in Britain combined with maths. So questions like "If he started out with one legion and eight joined him each day, how many did he have when he arrived at Londinium?" (Answer: 25)

And "When the Roman army finally faced the Celtic army, the Celtic women fought beside their husbands. They were all killed with the Celtic army. If one in every two Celtic soldiers had a wife, what fraction of the Celtic army in its final battle was women?" (Answer: 1/3)

They had to add several numbers together, including the denominator (3) from that last question to arrive at a final 'check number'.

My son got the fraction wrong, so his answers did not tally with the 'check number'. But he duly went back to try to think through the question.

Fearing that he would go into one of his shouting rages, I offered to explain it to him.

"No, no, no, I must work this out myself."

He tried using a number (100) to work out the fraction. I suggested he didn't.

"No, don't interrupt me! I must do this myself!"

Then, "One -third. The answer is one-third."

Ironically this was the first piece of homework he found "enjoyable" this half-term. It made him think, and though he initially got the answers wrong, he was not afraid to go back to it and when the pieces fell into place he was a very happy boy.

Any way, there we were waiting for our boys when my son approached, grinning ear to ear, "Have you noticed something different about me?"

He was wearing a little round blue badge on his lapel. A colour! He has been awarded a colour!

"This is for hard work. We get to wear it for the rest of the term. If we keep up with the good work, we get to keep wearing it."

Then he let on that he was given the wrong colour at Assembly. The badge should reflect his house colour. Of course he didn't know this at first. Anyway a teacher spotted the mistake and he was given the correct colour by the end of the day. Only one other boy (his best mate) in his class was awarded a colour.

He also came home with his 'grade card'. 'A1' in French and Music amongst other very good grades.

Boy done good!

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