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Wednesday, May 25, 2005


It's the summer vacation time here now. School starts again in ten days. I have been trying to find the way forward with Claude's education. He wasn't getting on well the last year at school: frequent complaints from the teacher and from Claude himself. I have been thinking of homeschooling, but Rose couldn't help much, and I don't feel I have the stamina to keep it up. The main problem is, Claude is really too young for his grade, his birthday is right on the cusp of the school year.

Today chance took me to the nearest school and I checked it out, I quite liked it. Better than the one Claude attended last year, though that one has the best reputation. I decided to hell with reputations, the majority is often wrong.

At home, I floated the idea to Claude and Rose. There is yet another school (farther away but there's a school bus). It's a private school. After some discussion and me trying to feel what the gods were thinking, Rose and Claude piled into the tricycle and I pedalled us off to that school. We looked around it and spoke to the janitor who was there - all teaching staff were elsewhere. I liked it, so did Claude and Rose, and enrollment was proceeding at another site in town, so off we set again. Claude was enrolled at the school and I felt relieved and that I had made the right decision. We paid tuition fees and bought books.

A llittle later I took Rose to the dentist for a five o'clock appointment but it was after seven when she returned. The dentist is a young woman who used to be our next door neighbour, she's a careful and gentle girl and she has attended my teeth a couple of times, too. We were invited to the celebrations when she passed her Board Exam, her father was so delighted with his daughter.


  1. Hey Malc,

    I have a son around the same age and can relate to the school dilemma. I changed states and took him from a fabulous private school to a public school in Oregon (need I say more?). With our active involvement, he's actually thriving. Good luck with Claude's school change...I bet it turns out great!

  2. Gabby, let's hope so. I'm optimistic. The elementary school he was in last year had about 2,700 pupils and more than 50 in each class, buildings badly maintained, equipment negligible, little space for playing.

  3. Well, I tried to leave this yesterday, but who knows where it went...

    One of my greatest sorrows is that when my daughter was in 2nd grade, she had a teacher with whom she had terrible trouble. They simply did not get along. I was very young at the time, and I reasoned that she needed to learn that there would be, from time to time, people who she would not like, and that she would need to learn to "deal with it." It was a terrible mistake. I would do anything to go back and re-do that year. She had a terrible year that year -- it was pure torment. It is true that, as adults, we encounter some folks who we may not enjoy, and that sometimes we just have to suck it up and deal with it. That should not be the case for little ones who are 7 or 8 or 9. If I had it to do over, I would have pulled her out of there and moved her elsewhere as soon as I possibly could have.

    Best of luck to Claude in his new school. I hope it turns out to be a joyous and growing place for him.


  4. Sue,

    Thanks so much for this message, it means a lot to me.

    School starts June 6, so we'll see how it goes.

    I'm not a fan of "education" as it usually comes. I started off as a fan of A.S. Neill of Summerhill School (we visited him there and I knew several ex-pupils.) As time went on I grew away from entirely voluntary lessons; now I may be creeping back to that again!

    I taught in schools in UK for ten years. I do not know how public school education could be improved without spending a great deal of money, and money is very short here.
    Even with money, the prevailing educational philosophy may make improvement impossible. I really think school in classrooms does not suit everyone - pehaps it only suits a small minority.
    Claude says one of the things he doesn't like about school is that he has little time to spend at home; that will actually be worse this year because he will leave here 6.30 a.m., will not be coming home for midday meal and does not finish scool until 5 p.m., so he will be away from home for eleven hours.
    But if the overall atmosphere and methods are better, he may respond well, especially if he makes some good friends at school and has time there to devote to play with them.

    What is your teaching position Sue?

    Love to you all three


  5. I teach students who are in what is called middle school here -- 6th, 7th, and 8th grades (generally from 11-14 years old). The last couple of years, I've had mathematics and computer classes, and that works well for me. Students, for the most part, are often not particularly thrilled with those two subjects -- especially mathematics. I consider it a victory if I can take students with a "math aversion" or even a downright math phobia, and turn that around for them. The outcome of too much of elementary education is to convince many youngsters that mathematics is dull, boring, and often downright scary. That is really very sad. I try to overcome that for as many as I can. Sometimes, I actually succeed. It is an interesting age group to work with -- one that I find intriguing.


  6. My girlfriend in Texas told me today that her children are switching schools for next year. They've had some rough spots with teachers this year. Her kids are very happy about the upcoming change!

    That's quite a lengthy dental appointment Rose had. I hope it went well. :)

  7. Jeanette, yes it took a long time but she had to get a mould made for a couple of artificial teeth.
    I know dentists in U.S. are expensive. Here the two new teeth will cost less than $40, a filling costs $5.50. They will be as good as ones you would get in U.S. That's one advantage of living here!

    Few here visit dentists unless they want a tooth pulled. It's only since she married me that Rose has been patronising dentists.

    I hope your Texas friend's children's hopes for the new school are fulfilled. I dare say some of the gilt will be off the gingerbread a couple of weeks into the semester.


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