Wednesday, April 30, 2008

School Exams Day Three

Picked son up after Fun Choir. Nothing said about whether it was fun or not. I managed to be late enough for him to have gone on to Late Class. (I think they were released unusually early today.)

Science paper was OK. But he could not remember the important dates for his History paper. Then there were those Anglo-Saxon place names that he hadn't learned.

I had kept asking him to learn that list but he insisted he did not need to know that.

No, no, no, the point of revision is that you learn everything that you have learned in class.

"But it was not on the green sheet!" he insisted.

Of course it was. He just decided to ignore it.

Having learned today that there were facts that he could not recall, we then went over the Geography section of his green sheet. He did not have his book despite my instructions for him to retrieve his Geography book from his classroom.

So we had to rely on his atlas and hope that we have covered enough ground.

As for birthdays, his Chinese side showed when he asked me why people made such a fuss about birthdays.

We ordered in pizza because he loves pizza and I don't remember the last time we had pizza at home. His presents had not arrived because he told us rather late in the day what he really wanted for his birthday.

In any case he would not be able to start playing with those so it's just as well that it's not likely to arrive till tomorrow at least.

His best friend remembered and he came home with a model airplane to build and paint.

School Exams Day Two

Maths paper yesterday. He was cheerful coming home. Can't think why.

There was a blip with the exam papers. Some pages had not been printed and only three boys in the class had complete papers. Those who had less than complete papers now have to re-sit their Maths -- or the missing bits -- today, he tells me.

"Perfect! Three exams on my birthday!"

I emailed his teacher concerning a different matter. Looks like Maths re-sit is now going to be on Thursday. It doesn't really matter.

Significantly he told me that he went over his test answers and discovered he made mistakes, "But I fixed them."

Good for him.

We learned that Oliver rehearsal is on Friday and he says he wasn't going to Cubs on Friday evening. Today as we walked past the notice he tells me, rehearsal will finish by the end of school day, so Cubs is on again.

It will be his first day at Cubs -- thanks to being eight (today) -- and he is excited.

Monday, April 28, 2008

School Exams Day One

English I (Comprehension).

"I like this the least."

"For some strange reason, I'm really looking forward to the cricket match."

Son seemed relaxed and wrote his first exam this round today. Some difficult bits, made a mistake, but had time to correct it, he tells us.

Don't really care. He is relaxed and in such good mood.

Insisted on doing my feet (ie massaging them in his own way).

Then we realized that he had forgotten to write out this 'show-and-tell' bit in preparation for his English Speaking Board Exam, and which his Drama teacher wishes to look at tomorrow.

So he wrote out the lot in 30 minutes.

Exams in the morning, normal lessons in the afternoon.

Away cricket match today and his team won and he is very happy.

Thank you, God!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Organ, Naturally

Yesterday I was still 'buzzing' with the news of son possibly playing the organ at School Mass.

Had to give some money to Mr G piano teacher because son had forgotten to do so (for his Scales book).

Mr G then explained that he suspects son is a 'natural' at playing the organ.

The other piano teacher and Chapel organist walked by and said, "O! We need more of those."

Mr G explained that son insists on 'swapping fingers' when he plays. Other teacher remarked, "That's very good."

This bit of information had no significance to me. I didn't have a clue what it means.

As I was already communicating with the man who sold us our piano (because we could not pin down the piano tuner) I asked him what the significance of 'swapping fingers' is.

A long response came from him, quite unexpectedly. If I could distil it, he thinks our son plays a true legato, linking notes without the help of a sustain pedal, which is very helpful because organists do not have a sustain pedal.

He went on to say it is a good idea to let him develop organ skills as soon as possible because organ-playing requires 'three-channel brain' (left, right hands and feet) while piano-playing only requires a 'two-channel brain' (left and right hand).

(That probably explains why I can play the trombone and flute fairly well, but cannot play the piano. I have a one-channel brain, methinks.)

If he does show any talent in organ-playing, the school will be very delighted, I'm sure. As they have not had an organ player for a long time.

Son also came home without any books to revise for exams next week.

"They didn't give us a chance to collect our books."

He seems so relaxed about the exams, to the point that I think he is TOO relaxed. Let's hope he copes with it OK all of next week, which means that his eighth (EIGHTH!!!) birthday will become a complete non-event.

He does have a cricket match to play on Monday afternoon and cannot decide whether to go for the Band rehearsal at lunch time. He's been practising his part (theme from Wallace and Gromit) really hard. But attending the rehearsal means leaving him with 20 minutes to queue up for lunch, eat it, change into PE gear, and get ready for the bus trip to the Away match.

We'll leave the decision up to him.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

He DID complain!

I could never tell what my son would get up to.

Having forgotten about complaining about the 'No-Fun Choir' he went to the following rehearsal yesterday ("I'll give them one more chance."). He was looking serious when I picked him up. Serious, not upset.

Told me he spoke to the teacher.

"But I cannot quit now. They won't let me quit now." The teacher in charge of the whole Oliver production was there and both told him the same.

He's been told that he has to stay on till the end of the year. They are now learning songs for Speech Day and all that. So he has to stay.

Not a happy bunny but a bit happier than last week because they are learning new music.

Spoke to the teacher this morning, "I hope my son wasn't too rude when he approached you."

"No," she was as polite as ever, "but he was very direct."

I said I was pleased that he's learned to stick up for himself and not ask me to do that. She agreed, probably out of politeness, too. But she knows that he has a very low threshold for boredom.

Good news too yesterday that he was awarded a Blue Card for his Technology project on 'weaving'. He had already seen the Headmaster to have his Blue Card validated.

Today. Well today's news is his piano teacher has decided to put him up for his Grade 3 EXAMS!!

He has chosen to play Chant de la Creuse (C Franck) for the School piano concert (May 20th).

At dinner he let on that Mr G said he has to go to Mr G's church to play the tune on the organ so that he knows how it sounds like. The music was orginally written for organ.

AND he has to play that tune in School Chapel Mass (when he's ready) to accompany the boys taking Communion.


The School normally has a professional musician (pianist/organist) to accompany their services.

I'm more excited about his playing at Chapel than his taking his exams.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

"I must make a complaint!"

Yesterday my son had a black face when I collected him from school. He was in tears before we got home (2 minutes walk).

He had been at 'Fun Choir'. But all the fun seemed to have gone out of Fun Choir because they have been rehearsing for the school Oliver production.

This is the first time the school drama production has gone musical, and the first time the Fun Choir is involved. Previously the choir was all about fun. So they sing Elvis Presley (like they did at Advent Service), they sing Freddie Mercury (Queen), they sing some serious music, they sing jazz, but all the projects usually last just for a term.

They learn new songs at the beginning of term. They perform the songs at the end-of-term concert, or Speech Day, or some other important occasion, and that's it. At the start of term, they start all over again.

Poor son has been singing Oliver since September 2007 and he's getting really, really bored. Oliver is not going to premiere till June. JUNE!

So he said he must complain to the teacher and tell her exactly why it is spoiling his Wednesday, "It used to be my favourite day of the week! Now it's just work, work, work!"

Poor kid! I felt his frustration. On the one hand this mother feels her son should learn to persevere. On the other I know he hates repetition more than most kids his age, and especially when repetition does not seem to bear any fruit.

Besides I think he's got a point about 'fun'. It's a question of principle. The teacher had said at the beginning of the year that there was only one rule to Fun Choir, that they must have fun. So this is breach of contract, right?

I wondered if he would go ahead to complain, but made sure I didn't mention it this morning. The other thing is I was very proud of the fact that he'd decided to take up the case himself and had not asked ME to do it for him.

But I suspect he would have forgotten all about it today.

Well, he came home this afternoon to say he would give Fun Choir one more chance next week. I doubt if it's going to make a difference. They are learning some new material for Speech Day. So I hope that might be incentive for him to stay.

Parenting an only, and a gifted child who hates repetition, is tough.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

First Day Back at School

As usual, I kind of stuck myself in front of the computer much of the day, stopping only to do some shopping (for lunch and essential vegetables for the evening meal).

Finally got to pick son up at school, late. He was in 'Late Class'.

But before that another parent told me how another boy in son's class has leukaemia. Yes, leukaemia. Her son and this other boy share lifts so she and his parents are in close contact. I was in a state of shock.

The good news is they found out much earlier than usual because the young man had a fall and something just did not seem right.

The bad news is it is a genetic condition and prognosis is not good.

Son is unaware of this yet. Again when something like this happens, it provides a totally different perspective to our own troubles.

Son seemed pleased that he is excused from Orchestra for the rest of the Term as only the strings are required. However he has been asked to join the Wind Band. That means having to rehearse during lunch (ie miss play time).

He seems awfully keen to join if only because that means another badge to add to his collection. That means having to miss his Chess Club.

Well it seems that Chess Club is not functioning as most of the boys have migrated en masse to War Hammer.

To praying readers, please keep my young friend "JD" in your prayers. Thanks.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Boy Abandoned ... his mum ... me!

Son was three days at hoiliday club and had a grand time.

Yesterday he had an invitation to play with his classmate. Their au pair has been in touch frequently. Son just does not wish to come home.

She took them to the park, a stone's throw from where we live, and son opted to go home with his friend (and brother).

I had just phoned because it is agreed pick-up time and he went, "Not now, we are in the middle of a movie."

So I feel rather abandoned.