Image copied from the Australian government's website. Yes, really.
I was reading over my last few weeks of bloggery, and realised how incredibly shallow it all has been. SSS has provided an excuse to hide behind appearances and stitching, as if they were the focus of my world.
Actually, there has been a lot going on.
Most notably, my daughter has been having a bad time at school. Such that we are seriously considering moving her. And ironically, the simplest move is the biggest one: for her to go back to London to live with her dad. She has been here with me for 6 years... maybe it is time to share this responsibility a bit more.
So over the past few weeks, I have been preoccupied by the need to identify a "good school"... and then finding out how to get her into it. It is not enough to live in the right place: the school has to have a vacancy, OR be willing to "create" an extra space just for her. SIGH.
14 teachers left her current school over the summer, leaving a demoralised staff, who all appear to have been dragged back from retirement to fill the gaps. They rely on the same worksheets they have been using for the past twenty years. My former-bookworm daughter had lost all interest in learning because school was "boring". It was bad before the summer holidays, but it is even worse now - and this is the first year of her "exam subjects". It is very frustrating.
But worse, her "best friend" turned against her and seems to have started a whispering campaign. There has been all sorts of rubbish plastered on my daughter's Facebook "wall". Damn Facebook - it should be banned in schools! And I told her Guidance teacher this following the "F-book in the library" incident... but she did not think the school management would consider a blanket ban on the site. Why not? What possible educational purpose can it serve to have staff or pupils frittering their lives away on social networking sites during school hours?
So my Girl is bored AND lonely. Fabulous! Teenaged girls can be EVIL.
I issued my Girl with a list of 100 Best Young Adult Books, found here and started reserving them from the local library. So far, she has read 5 and has had intelligent things to say about all of them. She is reading again - phew!
Her dad was given an appointment at the First-School-of-Choice. A "5-minute appointment"! I got all excited, but it turned out to be an opportunity to check her passport and reiterate the admissions criteria... which she does not fit - great! Meantime, I had a very touching email "conversation" with The Girl. I sent her the link to the potential school's curriculum webpages, specifically for English. Her reply read as follows:
YAY cool :D Romeo and Juliet and to kill a mockingbird ;D
She DOES want to learn! And she ought to have that opportunity!
I emailed the neighbouring London borough and discovered they have a vacancy in an "up and coming" school. I am trying to ignore the fact that the space may have occurred when a girl was shot at the nearby chip shop. They have a smart new Headteacher, a sharp new uniform and after-school Japanese lessons (the Girl is obsessed by all things Japanese)! Her dad is asking around to find out if this school is a real option... or not.
So my son has left home, and it seems likely that my daughter will be heading south fairly soon. It's all change.
In London, The Girl will hopefully have the opportunity to start again in a multicultural school where "difference" is the norm and learning is not only promoted but expected. I will be at the end of the phone / email / plane journey and she might actually find me easier to talk to if I am not the one reminding her to clean her room / do her homework!
Will I be upset if / when she goes? Of course I will! But I know it is for the best. And that's what I have to tell her now. It is literally a life-changing opportunity.
When I brought the kids up North, I thought it was the best thing, that a rural life would keep them safe from all the stuff that goes on in an inner city. But actually, small towns are much much worse. Because of the insularity, the provincialism: if you don't fit in you are isolated. You would have thought I would have known this. I suppose I thought things had changed around here. Ha!
So ... "Carpe diem" strikes again! Why do I feel as if I had been slapped round the face by a wet fish?