A goes after the summer to prep-school and it scares me so much! It really does! Not that I am the oh-so-typical-over-concerned-mother who doesn't want to let go her kid! Nope! Just the fact that A then will have to start getting used to less play time and goofing off makes me a bit anxious! Knowing A, I just sense that he will have a less nice time with having to do this. He is a very outgoing kid! He goes for it all and he just loves to be alive. There was a moment that I was actually so afraid that he wouldn't win the battle against nature. Still very proud that A was such a little hero in his incubator but still.....
Being a special teacher and reading tons of files of kids with birth defects I sometimes see the future of A less carefree. Not that I want him to become a genius! In the first place I want to have a happy kid who actually encounters the world with an open mind and wants to suck up everything! Not a robot who can reproduce facts, numbers and will do what he is considered to do.
So when P came back home from parent's evening and told me that A still can't write his name I was a bit surprised! 'Hey, he is only five! Are you sure that this is something they have to be able to do?', I asked P. P seemed not be sure and neither I seemed to know what a 5 year old child really has to be able to do. Times have changed and I know that there are some 'smart' kids out there that are able to read and write before they start grade school but still....
I then felt a bit out of tune and started to question some professionals. Most of them seemed to be sure that A had not to be able to write a book yet. I then wanted to be the very responsible parent and got tons of exercisebooks to prep A! We now end up every day writing, counting, concentrating and drawing! The effect of using my teacher voice and bribing A with candy mice when he does his exercises is visible. He now copies his name without a mistake and yes, I do regret for a tiny bit the fact that he has got a rather long name.
In a record time I now have turned in one of these parents who want her kid to deliver results. Even when we go out for grocery shopping we end up doing counting exercises and when he is sitting in the car I practice with him the traffic signs and numbers! I make him write his name on greeting cards! It looks rather shaky and not that artful but it his name! But if his teacher will be satified I don't have a clue!
So the ratrace has started! A will have to deliver and proof that he wants to partake in a society where human beings have to make profit. I am blessed with three five year old ones in the family and A is not the one who is most eager to start multiplying or figuring out how he can read those children's stories himself. I end up thinking once in a while that A must seem rather an idiot when they try to boast about their children.
I mean, can I actually show of with a kid who always smiles, is so happy to go out, likes adventures, plays the air guitar with lots of flair, can run faster then his mum, draw a space rocket and knows that Frank De Winne is living in space, walks around with the American flag screaming that Obama has won (!), listens to English bedtime stories, shakes his a** with his mum in the kitchen, can eat tons of pasta as an Italian, can kick a football like David Beckham, who is very sincere when he says that he loves you ....? Personally I don't think so! I feel sometimes so ashamed when A seems so outgoing! On top of that he is not one of those zombies who are glued to their parents when they go out. A attacks the world like he is a pirate sailing the seven seas!
Niether it helps that his school seems a bit pressured by inspection! They only do what they are told to do. The teachers want to be sure that have the evidence black on white that they have done what the manuel says. Rightly so! Inspection can be without remorse because if you get funding you have to spend it wisely!
But what if I sense that those teachers seem to have less time to focus on their pupils? They still teach my kid but they seem to have lost the drive! Delivering the proof that he can't write his name they can do flawless! But the last few months A did not bring home any artwork but worksheets! Not very colorful pieces you can put on your corkboard!
So now I am actually trying to observe A more closely and find out if he gets the space he needs to discover the world. I am more then even tempted not to just settle for the obvious choice. I have been around the world and visited many different schools! You can bet that there are some very interesting school visions out there that consider some attention. It is rather strange to suddenly have to question the system that you have been a result of. I survived and was able to resist the pressure because I was given the space and time to pursue what I really wanted to do!
So if things don't work out and his teacher tells us that A needs more time then he will get this. No hard feelings but I am not going to push him. I don't want a stressy kid who suddenly feels like he ran out of breath! A loves to run and I want to make sure that he can keep on running! Have to run now because the sales are on and I am in need of a new pair of running shoes for A! Now that I come to think of it! I better buy myself a pair as well so that I can keep up with him!