End of an Era

Lu is in the middle of her English Language Assessment Number 2. This means we all have to be quiet on Quest. No clattering round the galley, washing dishes. No helping Delph with school. We all have to stay very, very quiet – or Lulu stops writing and gives us the stink eye.

This has been going on all morning. She had Maths first. It was her last Maths assessment. She may have statistics or various number crunching modules if she carries on with science. But Maths for maths-sake is over – for our Lu.

Dear reader, I cannot begin to explain the feeling. Maths, and by this I mean Edexcel IGCSE Higher Maths, has been the most challenging aspect of our school on Quest. There have been more doors slammed, more pencils thrown and more tears shed than I care to remember. And that’s just me.

Still, Lu’s Maths has taught me a good lesson. If anyone sought my advice for living the way which we have: off-grid, but with ties to normal education, the first thing I’d say is, ‘Be careful with the Maths. Don’t make it harder than you can explain it to your children.’ Period. Because if you can’t, welcome to the pain.

With this, Lu’s Maths has been a ride. With employing and mostly stumbling upon various types of mathematical help. This includes finding a whole person who came to Bonaire on holiday. Aww Phillipe. You definitely didn’t expect to be a sudden Maths tutor. I still remember how I cried when you left.

Eventually, slowly, it got better. With the work put in, Lu no longer needed to go back to the beginning. She began to make her own connections and listened hard to every lesson. She also got a new Maths teacher who took a real, refreshing interest. She sent resources to us, links, and access to practice papers.

I have to stop and thank another precious thing in today’s Maths wrap-up. Our printer. It has printed many, many Maths questions. HP 3700: thank you. We definitely couldn’t have done this without you. I almost didn’t pick up that huge pile of practice papers to stop myself from throwing them away. Then I stopped myself stopping myself – and threw them away.

Lu asked if we could burn them. Yes, good idea I thought, except you’re not supposed to burn anything on this very dry island. So we left them in the bin. It’ll be a very heavy bin to take to shore. Indeed, if fish ate paper, we could give them the papers instead. The fish would be very full and happy. Alas, the fish under Quest love bread, not Maths. They also love rice. Not so much cheese.

We’re full. I made rice, with vegetables. A celebration. Now Lu just needs to finish English Language. And we can talk again.

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