End of the Year

The girls are in that awkward phase between end-of-year exams and the end of school. This is the part where no one’s heart is in it anymore.

Yesterday, I realised there is one more week of school than I’d thought there was. Ouch. Suddenly one more week of drudgery. No one cares right now about chemical equations. Or food production. Or the erosion cycle. I do have to admire how the English team are introducing a whole new topic though – tragedy – alongside a new textbook, Arthur Miller’s View From the Bridge. Just as they break up – tell the horny teenagers about hamartia, hubris and catharsis and go off and read this book. Sneaky smart.

Otherwise, I am finding myself in need of a shovel to wake the girls up. Struck by the limitations of exam-based curriculums. We’d been working so hard toward the end-of-year exams that suddenly, if you take this away, there is an enormous ‘who cares’ hole. Well, less so for Delph. I guess I’ve been careful to protect Delph from the vagaries of exam pressure. She’s done her tests too – but as they’ve been going over the results, she’s been listening with headphones on – whilst drawing shoes.

Yep, Delphine is obsessively drawing shoes. She’s been at it for a week or so. She found a book on board about drawing shoes that came out from the bilges of Quest. We have many weird and wonderful books that disappear under the floorboards, and then re-emerge. This is one of them. This means that Delph has been copying out and analysing every single high heel, slipper and cowboy boot in the book.

I say it with pride. She is a natural professor, Delphine is. She will go down a certain route and often she will out-concentrate all the competition. Some people might call it OCD. I call it self-learning. Ha! Whatever you call it, it is impressive to watch. Thinking about it now, it is definitely a feature of non-mainstream learning to appreciate. Instead of learning a wide variety of topics in relatively-shallow depth, the learner can explore one subject in much more detail.

And then there’s exam-style learning. Urghh. Don’t get me wrong. I love the excitement of this style too. The promises it holds. Indeed, Lu has done so well in most of her exams, suddenly we have started thinking about things we hasn’t been thinking about before. Plans for the future. Opportunities. Things a school might normally cover in the widest sense. Until now, we’ve been caught up in the every day. The ‘one thing at a time’ zone.

Though, try telling this to Lu when it’s time to get up for school for the next two weeks. The next two weeks are looking like hell. And she starts classes at 7am most of the week – except for Thursdays when she starts at 5:20am. I’m not even going to try to get her up at this time.

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