Huge sighs of relief were heard in our house this afternoon. It’s taken nearly 12 months of ‘closing the lack of foundation in learning’ (to quote her school) but this afternoon we cracked it (at least some of it)
There were lots of Lots of Hi5’s at the end of her weekly tutor session..
Mark has the best way of enticing her to learn without her even realizing it, which in a way has been our issue of late. MissM couldn’t see that the stuff she was doing on a Monday with Mark resonated in school. Guess she is only 8 years old, so why would she?
Trust me, I’ m your mother and I know what’s right - bulls***. MissM doesn’t fall for that for one nano second.
So Marks been coming up with all sorts of games the 3 of us play/work/learn together and MissM’s non the wiser.
Today we all had a piece of paper and had to write the opening paragraph to a story. Then, after 4 minutes, we had to give our story to the next person who continued – a bit like written Chinese whispers.
Well! Mark turned MissM’s princess story into a dream that a teenage grunge band member had; he took my sweet puppy dog story and changed it to a very naught puppy the pee’d everywhere; while we took his story of a stormy night the week of Christmas and turned it into a family reunion.
MissM laughed thru the three readings. She started to correct Marks’ poor spelling and horrid grammar, at one point asking for a green pen to correct.
He asked her questions in such a way that she wanted to answer them.
Mark doesn’t realize he’s teaching me as much as he’s helping her.
Then MissM willingly took out her math homework and started to do the trickiest sums.
The worksheet was a series of adding 10’s or 100’s or 1000’s to numbers and MissM knew which column of number would change and how …. Even using the magic ONE to carry over when dealing with 9’s.
Mark and I just smiled at each other over MissM’s head as she worked away, self correcting, talking herself thru each question.
When she was done, Mark said how proud he was of her. That she has mastered this within the first half of term and he remembered when she couldn’t do it cos she simply didn’t have the foundation math.
She went all coy.
She kept on going with her homework!
‘But my handwriting and spelling are still so bad’ she said.
‘Well. It’s not that bad’ he said, ‘I’ve seen worse, look at mine. Would you like to do some work on it next week’ he asked.
And so next week’s session is agreed.
The switch between systems has been much harder than we thought it would be. MissM has coped so very well, much better than DH and I have.
We’re so proud of her. She has welcomed all the extra help her teachers have offered her; she has embraced Mark (tho we’ve had a few bumpy sessions recently) and as of today she can see that the work we do at home has a positive effect on her in the class.
All expats with school-aged kids go thru this – the back and forth between school styles. It must get harder as the kids get older, and have to choose subjects for GCSE’s (UK) or SAT’s (USA). The International Baccalaureate (IB) from what we’ve seen is a brilliant leaving certificate/HSC and extends and excites the kids, offering them the opportunity to apply to pretty much and college/university in the world (pending final marks of course)
We hope the ‘traditional’ style of learning that MissM is acquiring while we are in the UK will hold her in good stead … who knows where we’ll be for junior high school, let alone senior/leaving certificate.
All I know is that thousands of expats with kids have done this before us and all have survived …… and we will too.