Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Catch Up!

Its been ages since my last blog post. Sorry Pam! It has taken me an absolute age to get back into the swing of things.  I have hardly exercised because I have slight pain in my left knee but appreciate that if I shifted a few stone then that would help it. I'm just don't want to damage it running so with an attempt to re-focus my mind I had a swedish massage, indian head massage and foot massage last Friday. It was bliss.

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Top Ten Tips For High School

Have you recently up graded from primary school mum to high (urgh hate that American word) secondary school mum? Well, if you have or even if you haven't here's my Top 10 Tips on what to expect for all you novices out there. The list below is not comprehensive but they certainly don't tell you this in the "striving for excellence" talks and welcome pack etc. By the way, I have yet to visit a secondary school who's Head Teacher does not say they "strive for excellence". If you find one that doesn't say this 1) congratulations 2) put it at the top of the list.

1. Book Covering

Never did I think in 2015 I'd have to cover books like I did back in the 80s. It was a pain in the arse then and its a pain in the arse now. I think for a fund raiser any PTA of a high school should have a 'teacher cover as many books in 10 mins" challenge. Have some of that suckers - got a GCSE in covering books have you? No, I thought not so why do you think I've got a frigging one.

So, yes be prepared to have brown wrapping paper, the sticky clear stuff and prit stick at the ready. Not only that, you'll need to stock up on printer ink for the pictures that may need to be added. For example, not only did my son have to decorate his history book with printed pictures he I had to cover it with the clear stuff.  Okay I've looked it up - the technical name for it is "clear self adhesive/cover film". Take your time as this stuff is a bastard. If I can manage it you can. If in doubt, go on to Youtube and you'll find some hard core mom showing you how its done. It won't look like that but least you've tried to be professional. Another funky way you can cover a book is with an old book or map pages. I think my son's English book looks pretty funky with his Russian map courtesy of my husband. What say you?

2. Padlock

One of the combination ones for their locker. They don't tell you that - and let's be honest would you really think of it when you've just spent a small fortune on all their uniform, bag, shoes, PE kit etc? The answer is only no.

3.  Pencil Case

Now this may sound elementary dear Watson but it so isn't!!  You see in primary they supply everything - a pencil case is a novelty item. Yes you'll need a pencil case, ruler, sharper, rubber, 2 pens and 2 pencils. Bastards.

4.  Bland Raincoat/Coat

I got this from Next - I liked the Parkaness to it and the red lining oh and the fur
This may not be for every secondary but at my son's his dark green winter coat - whilst still fitting - is not allowed. So I had to buy another one when I wasn't ready to spend £35 on a navy number. That went for his fluorescent rain coat (bought so that he could be seen easily on school trips!) - yup another bland (black) raincoat from BHS £16.

5. Medication

Again, primaries had it covered. They had your little ones inhaler in a little box or whatever type of permitted medication they own. Now they are responsible for it. So don't forget to pop their inhaler in their bag or you'll be making a trip to A&E in his/her first week.

Mourn the death of the bookbag - enter the satchel - pic ebay. This is what my son chose and he's not been beaten up yet

6. Front Door Keys

If your newly kitted out Year 7 child is going to be taking 2 buses or walking then its time to entrust a set of keys. Whether you are a working mum who won't be home in time or even a SAHM what with your daily massages, coffee dates and enter any other stereotypical assumption that WE DO FUCK ALL! You might not be home before they are.  I wasn't keen on leaving a set hidden and no doubt he'll lose them at some stage (as said the key cutter woman and I quote "see you in a week for another set") but it is time.

7.  Freedom

Once they start (most will absolutely love the freedom of it) there's no stopping them. My son is now walking down to the shops and feels he can roam the streets anywhere. Next week, he'll probably be asking me if he can go on a European mini-break. He can't - not before I go first - but he certainly is 75% on the way to being able to go off and meet people, travel on buses etc. Be prepared for this. Take therapy do what ever you need to cut the apron strings.

8.  Start Saving Now!

See above but uniform is expensive at the best of times. Starting secondary is double that and then add some. If you have a child in Year 6 why don't you put £20 a month away now and that way you won't feel totally bankrupt by the time they start in September.

9.  The Bible

The contact book is everything. It has their timetable, homework and anything else they've been told to write down in lessons. Ours has to be signed every week or your child will get dention. I was tempted to sign every page for the year as I'm likely to forget but "you're not allowed to do that!"  I would also invest in a wallet folder for all those pieces of homework that aren't meant to be glued in their book. Also in primary they tend to have to read every night - that has finished so hopefully you still have a reader that will want to continue this at bedtime.

10.  Distance - Don't Be A Sheep

Now, everyone will be talking about grammar school, best schools, ofsted's etc etc but the main thing you should consider is distance. Seriously, the amount of homework (8 pieces in the first week ranging from practical to written) is a lot! If your child has a life outside of school or likes to play computer games (glad I banned them as seriously don't know how he'd fit it in) then the travelling to and from school should be a major factor in your decision. My son loves the fact he's home either at 2.45 or 3.35 and can complete his homework. Not only that he is able to meet up with his local friends.

Factor in a 45/50 minute bus journey in the winter, snow and summer heat and you will have a cranky pre-teen on your hands. Really consider whether that journey is worth it. Will they really get a far superior level of education at the school that everyone wants because everyone wants it (rather than facts and figures)? Don't be a sheep and follow all the other mum's.  It is not you who has to travel there. Actually, it is not YOU full stop. Let your child chose you're not going there. They are. Would you like to get up at 6.30 am in the morning to travel to school. Did you do that? I suspect not - we all went to our local high school.  It is madness and it has to stop!

So there you go my Top Ten Tips on what to expect on that first week of secondary. I hope it helps and feel free to add some more!

Ta Ta for now

Thursday, 10 September 2015

The French Have Gotten Fat!!

Not that I'm skinny mind but I noticed a massive difference to the old Frenchies whilst we were on holiday in August. Yes, you probably guessed my little break from blogging incorporated a holiday. And what a holiday it was. We had a fab-u-lous time. Now, I know most people say that when they get back but it really was a cracking one this year.

We travelled on my preferred mode of transport to get to France - by Eurotunnel or Le Shuttle as they like to call themselves. By the way, France is the most visited country in the world - 85 million visitors last year. They are aiming for 100 million next year so we were told by the numerous French news stations on our accommodation telly.  So all you royalists out there that think the monarchy are good for business have a little ponder on that one. The French got rid of their monarchy and I don't think they've suffered too badly from it. Just sayin and all that.