Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Half-way through the year

He's been back at school for the third day now after half-term break.

I was not looking forward to half-term at all. What will I do with him 24/7, this boy who would not take any criticism and shouts at me when he's in distress, and who doesn't know how to accept help when he shouts for helps?

As it turned out, it was a rather pleasant week together with him.

First of all, there was Geography project. Unfortunately for him he drew Northern Ireland out of the bag and I know little of NI's geography. I know something about its politics, but he wants facts about its geography.

If not for the internet,we'd have to be at the library doing research. Instead we just plonked ourselves down in front of the computer and away we went.

He didn't do it all in one go. He had a plan, see, and his plan was to take things slowly and did a bit every day to cover the whole week.

But he hadn't a clue what the project was about. And neither did I. He was attempting to put all the information about NI in the little space on the map and of course it did not work.

Thankfully he eventually -- miraculously may I add -- came round to the idea that he needed to use symbols to represent the different information, and to use a key to indicate what was what. He even took on my suggestion to put all this information in a box. Wow!

By the way, I've been doing a Dionne Warwick. Every morning I wake up, I say a little prayer for son. And every night when I go to bed, I thank God for the emotional strides he'd been taking. Maybe I should learn as a mum to do less and pray more. Son certainly thinks I should say less!

Monday we were at the library to borrow books. Met up with his godmother for lunch and best thing out of this was we've got ourselves a new cleaning lady - who is right now cleaning our house for the first time.

Tuesday we had to stay in because I was waiting for a delivery. Then we went to the park for a cycle, I think. He was cycling like a maniac, the chain broke off, he fixed it, and he fell off his bike, etc, and there were tears, but he mended himself eventually.

Wednesday we were going to go to the Science Museum, but we changed our minds. I figured this was probably the only day the young lady could come about cleaning the house. I was right.

Thursday we went to the Science Musuem as planned. Had a great time, but let down by the Circle Line and ended up having to take a taxi from South Kensington, back through the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum, etc to Baker Street.

Friday was a quiet day finishing up bits and pieces, etc.

And there was piano and clarinet practices thrown in, without tears!!

So far he's had orchestra rehearsal on Monday and he found himself the only clarinettist there, so he called himself the "lead clarinettist".

Yesterday his piano teacher stopped us and we discussed his playing a jazz piano piece for headmaster's assembly next week.

Today, he would have had a clarinet lesson. Tomorrow, piano lesson, and Friday, clarinet lesson again (to make up for a lesson missed).

Busy bee. Son sees himself as being on course to vie for a music scholarship. He was totally inspired by the current Head Boy who has done his parents and the school very proud by winning a music scholarship to Harrow School, as well as another very reputable day school.

Never say that children are too young to learn. While son does not articulate all his thoughts, it is clear that he has aspirations. He watches all those senior boys and secretly aspires to be JG who won loads of prizes on Speech Day, and be NK, the most popular boy in school last year, etc. Now he hopes to be DL, winning a prestigious scholarship. Son also has a firm idea where he wants to go.

Back soon, perhaps.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Have a go at the teacher

Son had a friend over on Friday after school.

This friend tells me that one of the new boys told the Technology Master, "I'm telling off you."

I was very amused by that. My son never tells me stories like that.

According to friend, this same boy also once told a teacher to "shut up".

My jaw dropped, because the boys are noted for their politeness at this school, so obviously this new boy hasn't learned the 'culture' of politeness yet. Give him time.

What concerned me more was that son said, in the middle of playing, "J got a House point for giving the wrong answer and I got told off for giving the right answer."

That can't be right. But knowing my son, I knew there was another part of the story that he was not relating accurately. Son's view was that he was "told off" for being "too precise". That, however, is definitely a possibility.

Any how, dad got the story out of him. Teacher drew an angle and used the curve connecting the two lines to indicate an angle. She was probably trying to introduce the concept of "angles" to the boys.

Son pointed out that it was a right angle (because it looked like one to him) and so teacher should have used a "box" instead of a curve to indicate the angle.

If I were the teacher I would also have got annoyed with him, I guess. Not only is he confusing the rest of the class, introducing the idea of a "right angle", etc, he was also challenging the teacher.

I do not know how long an argument they might have had over it, but I think dad had set son right, that the teacher was not wrong, although son could technically be correct.

Then he moaned again, "Why do I have to sit through lessons about things I already know?"

Time for another teacher-parent conference?

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Choices, choices

In the UK whenever the public are unhappy with new rules, options, etc, the government reply is often, "We want to give people choices."

Son came back with a difficult choice to make last Friday.

He was selected to play hockey (Unihoc) against another school on Monday afternoon 2.30pm to 4pm. But he also had to attend a full orchestra practice on Monday 3.45pm to 4.30pm.

He most definitely preferred to do orchestra, but he also desperately wanted to play hockey. (I haven't seen him play, but son thinks he is good. His paternal grandfather nearly got to Oxford on the basis of his hockey playing, so potentially son could be an ace hockey player. [She stifles a giggle.])

Life was easy, then he got more and more upset that he would have to miss hockey. I offered to talk to his teachers to see if we could (1) leave the hockey game early, or (2) start orchestra late, etc, but he didn't feel comfortable about it.

The teachers only live down the road. We could have knocked on their doors for advice. But it will not be fair to bother them on weekends, surely.

So, amidst tears, he decided that he'd go for orchestra and I had to say 'no' on the form to be sent back to the Games Master.

When I picked son up after orchestra, the Music Director then told us in the friendliest way possible: if there is a clash between sport and music, sport takes precedence.

Son would have been excused from orchestra. No trouble at all.

Sometimes it is much better when we are not subjected to the need to choose.

No need for all those tears, had we known. Never mind, we learn.