So the Changeling is traipsing all over the UK going to interviews for university; the Boy is practising pieces for his audition for music college at the end of the month, I am taking the Babe to lots of toddler groups, and the Meister is just getting on with things.
The first month of school saw her get detention for damaging school property (she banged her paper sculpture on the table because it wasn't doing what she wanted it to do); have loads of supply teachers (3 in the first 10 days); get prizes for English quizzes, and certificates for being the Star of Maths class (THIS IS YEAR 7!!); make a few friends and a few enemies.
There was an incident at the park across from the school which means the police are involved, and are working with the school. I don't really know what they can do. They all seem nice and willing to do what is best, they just don't know what best would be.
These things don't surprise me. What surprises me is the low standard of work. They don't seem to have any textbooks for starters. I was worried about all the pressure of loads of homework, but actually, she hardly has any, and when she does, it is filling in printed sheets of inane questions. Never mind the students copying things from the internet, that is where some of the teachers get their work. Which means we just have to look it up, and find the answers. What a waste of opportunity.
It has helped me come to terms with the kind of schooly parent that I want to be, though. I am continuing to think of the Meister as home educated - she just takes part in school as a very time consuming extra-curricular activity. I have also remembered that one of the reasons I don't like school, is that it validates stupidity. The stupid kids are the ones who are the loudest and most disruptive, therefore they have all the power. They are often the bullies too.
I had thought, back when She Who has Flown the Coop was about 4, that one of the reasons I wanted to home educate was that I worried that the children in nursery actually learn more from their peers than any adults around. The teachers cannot possibly have the time to interact significantly with all of the children, so the children end up learning more from each other. And I didn't want my child learning about the world from other little children who don't know much yet.
It is the same, if not worse, with high school. I want the Meister to meet lots of people with lots of backgrounds and interests and abilities. I don't want her to sit around in an institution with its own agenda, with a bunch of damaged young people who also have their own agenda. But she seems to be coping, and actually enjoying being constantly busy, and going to do other things after school, and joining in with mainstream stuff with gusto. I think she would be a good chav - at least in the short term. :-)
I must get over this idea that she has to be a certain way in order to make the school think well of home ed. That is me having an agenda. And I have to be patient, because she is only 12. :-) And yet I trust her to choose her friends, and to know what is best for herself. (Although I do worry about mobile phones, and social networks, and the potential for those things to be used for ill.) So for the time being, I am dealing with all the stuff that other parents deal with, PE kits and packed lunches and worries about other kids and pressures and curricula.
But having home educated for so long gives me a good perspective. Actually, GCSEs don't matter, key stage levels don't matter, attendance doesn't matter, and what the school thinks doesn't matter. SHE is what matters.