Thursday, 9 February 2017

No Homework


Here's my funny clever and kind son with a roast dinner that he rustled up himself.  Okay I had to prompt with some of the timings but that's about it.  He loves to cook and is developing his skills as part of his Duke of Edinburgh award.

Louis was a 'surprise' when he came along.  In my childless days I was a very keen hiker and it was the foremost way that I defined myself.   I prided myself in my self-sufficiency on trips to the wilderness where I  survived from a backpack that was kitted out to be as light as possible.  Yet in 2013, as  I was walking in the Corsican mountains, I thought to myself, 'I need a different challenge.' The gods must have heard for they sent along the boy.

I was just a few months pregnant when I popped out to a local garage for some milk.  There was a Spanish lady in the queue in front of me.  She was the first person who made me realise that your belly becomes public property when there's a foetus in it.  She put her hand on my tummy.  'There is a baby in there?' she asked.  It was a good job that  I could answer in the affirmative and wasn't just a bit fat.  I understand that many have made that mistake and you shouldn't really ask a woman if they're pregnant until you can see a head sticking out from under her skirt!  She continued with Latino gusto.  'Ah, that is so wonderful!  You will never know how much you can love until you have a child.  So much love!'

What a prophecy for that's how it is.  I couldn't have imagined how wonderful my parenting experience would be.   And Lou's made me a better person too.  More patient,  less selfish and appreciative of my own parents. I couldn't have asked for a more fulfilling mother-child relationship. We are so close but I love seeing him grow and fostering his independence too.  He's always been advanced at standing on his own two feet.

Yet his specific learning difficulties have been a challenge especially when viewed alongside my own idiosyncracies. We are so alike in lots of way and that's probably what's made for such an intimate partnership.  There is such an understanding and enormous amounts of fun.  Yet we both struggle with attention, organisation and clumsy limbs that don't always play ball.  With challenging full-time work and single mum-dom the usefulness of the self management strategies that I've adopted-to rein in my dippiness are stretched to their limits anyway.   It's hard enough managing myself let alone another little soul who struggles with routine and still sees some of the simplest tasks, e.g. twice daily teeth cleaning as a bit of a relevation.

The formal grammar school education that his dad and I thought would be the right thing for a super bright boy with mild, but ill  defined special needs hasn't worked out.  I came to dread the regular emails arrived that catalogued his omissions.  Believe me I tried but how can you supervise homework, for example, when it hasn't been recorded in a planner in the first place?  Or somehow gets lost between my house and the classroom.

So after half term Louis has a fresh start.  The final decision was made yesterday and was the cause of my angst.  Louis and his dad nearly had a last minute change of heart and the thought of more pings from my mobile announcing that the 'Head of Discipline' would still be on my case seemed a stressor too far.  But no more.   Louis will be transferring to  this school where there's no homework!  Instead the kids stay until 5:30 and are supported with their self learning by their teachers who hang around as well.   It's one of a new breed of studio schools that prepare kids for employment with work experience built in.  Lou's new place of learning specialises in the built environment and draws on his maths and science strengths.    It won't be a walk in a park but our challenges will be different.  Let's hope it's a place where Lou can flourish.  In the meantime we need a half term jaunt to celebrate and recharge our batteries. Come back in a few days to see where our travels take us this time!

14 comments:

  1. It looks brilliant, what a fantastic idea. Hope Louis gets on really well.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I am so pleased to hear you have now got this resolved. For us this part of A's education with his Aspergers was the worst especially the 12-14 age. It's not always plain sailing now but a million times easier as they grow up and are able to start making their own decisions. His new school sounds like it might be so much better for him- we were lucky in that we met with like minded staff throughout our time who we were able to work with so closely. It made all the difference for us. Arilx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think we've made the right decision. The 'fors' outweighed the 'againsts' by a long way. xx

      Delete
  3. No more nagging him to do his homework....sounds good to me! Good Luck Louis.

    ReplyDelete
  4. The school looks like a great place. Smaller classes will help enormously. Wishing you good luck Louis, hope all your dreams come to fruition. Happier days for you both.

    ReplyDelete
  5. That sounds like a sensible way to go on. I would have liked that for myself since I always resented having to do homework. I hope that Louis will enjoy his time there. xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We will have free evenings (albeit starting a little later) and weekends. Bliss! xx

      Delete
  6. As an educator, I am a firm believer in flexible, adaptive school that meets a variety of learning styles. This sounds like a really sound decision for Lou. My daughter is saddled with hours of homework each night, but gratefully now at 16, she is better able to manage her work load on her own (but with not enough sleep I fear), so I get the challenge to "supervise homework, for example, when it hasn't been recorded in a planner in the first place".

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I read about one school that has ditched homework altogether. Instead it encourages kids to self study by their own methods.xx

      Delete
  7. Oh, that looks an amazing place, and I hope Louis will be very happy and fulfilled there. If only such a centre had been available 40 years ago ... I hated school; it and I didn't suit each other very well 🙁. Enjoy your half-term jaunt.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It would have been good for me too. I needed somewhere where I could see the purpose in what I was doing. xx

      Delete