Easter Sunday. Surely a day for lounging around and indulging in chocolate until you feel sick? Well, that was my plan.
Except this morning Boo invented a new game of ‘Buff!’ – essentially balloon volleyball, but with ever-changing rules and a massively complicated scoring system. (‘Buff!’ by the way is so named because that’s the sound made by a balloon being punched into the air, not because of any lack of clothes.) I would like to
strangle thank Boo’s teacher for so comprehensively teaching her fractions.
‘You lose half a point because I had to second tap that to you. You’ve got 8 and a half.’
A bit later:
‘You hit that with the wrong part of your hand. You lose 1/4 point. That gives you 5 and a quarter.’
‘You lose another 1/2 point,’ (for breathing, I assume). ‘What’s your score now?’
At the same time Boo launches a multi-balloon option.
‘Errrr.’ I thought I was all right at multi-tasking. Not so.
‘4 and three quarters. Keep up.’
After losing 1 3/4 to 7 1/2, I scurry to the kitchen to get on with the roast. I may have to work out the timings, but at least the leg of lamb isn’t going to quiz me.
Once the food is on the table however, rather than us all just sitting down to stuff our faces with meat and vegetables Boo launches us into a theological debate.
‘Hands up if you believe Easter is because Jesus came back to life.’
A slightly tricky question as we’re largely a family of atheists, but also keen not to look as though we’ve jumped on the holiday purely for the chocolate. I swear Grandy pretended not to hear. Partial deafness comes in very handy sometimes.
Indy responds, however, with a counter-argument about Eostre, which slightly went over my head (but you can read about it here). It’s not to Boo’s liking though. She has further questions to quiz us on the symbolism of Easter. Indy keeps adding her knowledge of pre-Christianity to the mix.
Personally, beyond the Easter Bunny I just get confused. Although I’m happy to embrace Indy’s claim that we should include snakes in Easter celebrations to symbolise re-birth, but only if it means I can eat my body weight in The Natural Confectionery Company’s Jelly Snakes and Sour Squirms (OK, they’re worms, but close enough) and no actual real-life snakes are involved.
Mercifully, just as Husband launches into how clever the Romans were to pin Jesus’ crucifixion on the Jews Noodles wakes up from his nap and I escape the table for a cuddle on the sofa instead…and to watch snooker from 1985 (ah, don’t they put the best things on TV on Easter Sunday?).
The thing is though, in the past 9 months both Boo’s primary school and the twins’ high school have been deemed to be failing to such an extent they’ve been taken out of County Council hands and forced into Academy status. The primary school also failed their Ofsted inspection when the twins were in Year 1. Back then, just as now, the most problematic class was the one my children were in. If the reports are correct, Boo shouldn’t be able to count to 10, much less subtract fractions and multiply 7 by 14. She should struggle to spell her name, not know about tessellation, split digraphs and onomatopoeia. (I certainly didn’t know about such things at 6. Boo’s favourite game is finding adults who don’t know stuff she’s learnt at school. She got a clean sweep when it came to the split digraphs. So it’s not just me being stupid either.) Meanwhile Indy by rights should have failed her A levels as pupils are unable to string thoughts together and are too poorly behaved to surely sit through entire exams, much less complete their papers to a standard high enough to get to university.
Now, either Ofsted have got it wrong (possibly to ensure schools become academies as the government would like? Just saying) or I have exceptionally intelligent children. Yes, they’re bright, but they’re not the only ones in their cohorts. Which seems to suggest Ofsted are short-sighted at best, abject liars willing to help the government sell off state schooling to the first bidder at worst.
On 1st April Boo’s school was taken over by the local college. New signs have gone up over the holidays. The headteacher lost a large chunk of her capacity to shape the school to her way of thinking, which is a fundamental shame as she has an ability to look at the whole child, not just their grades. The new partnership is going to be a lot more target focused, which I fear means teaching children how to answer test questions correctly, rather than giving them a proper education and teaching them how to think. The same partnership will also be taking over the high school in coming months. This could be Boo’s and Noodles’ futures until they’re 18.
Which might mean mealtimes will become less of a theological discussion group. My head will spin less, but that won’t necessarily be a better thing.
This really isn’t the direction I saw this post going, but this has been playing on my mind for a while. I really hope, much like Boo herself, her new school proves me completely wrong.
In the meantime I can’t get my head completely around it, much the same as I still don’t understand the rules/scoring of Buff! The children clearly haven’t got their intelligence from me either.
I think I’ll just have to put my concerns back to the back of my mind for now. Maybe shoving some chocolate in my face will help. There is a fair bit lying around right now.