Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Education and tadpoles

No post yesterday, in my defence the day was manic. The weather here has gone from fairly cold and wet to full summer sun the last couple of days which while nice has been a bit of a system shock. Add to that the baby's eight week check and the doctor running so late we had to leave before getting his jabs and were still late for picking up Small. Then baby being grumpy all evening meant blogging wasn't foremost on my mind.

On the up side I know what I was going to talk about. Those who know me will know a couple of things about me, firstly I am chronically dyslexic though with much help over the years it generally isn't obvious and secondly our family tends to the higher end of the intelligence curve plus I have a lot of teachers in my family. All this adds up to me being very concerned about getting the right schooling for Small, if he is dyslexic, gifted or both he is unlikely to be average which is what our schooling system often seems to be geared for. I looked at state and public (for those not in the UK this means private, paid for schooling!) and even home schooling. The last was never first option as I know he benefits from being with other kids and I benefit from adult interaction.

We finally decided that our closest state school was worth trying. All the local state schools have a high level of immigrant pupils, often newly over here which has good and bad points. On the plus side it is wonderful for him to socialise with such a wide range of people but the downside is something like half his class didn't speak English at the beginning of the year. Obviously all the schools here have to put a lot of time and energy into getting their language skills up to speed and this school manages to get the overall English ability to above national average by the end of the year, no mean feat. However you can't help worry that is at the cost of teaching the kids who don't need help. His school however has a gifted kids scheme too and he has been very happy there. They have him and another girl doing separate maths lessons as they are ahead of the rest and he is learning to read rapidly, not something I was confident I could teach. If needed once he can read I think I could teach most other things.

They give stickers out most days for all sorts of things but recently he came back with one saying head teachers award because he had filled in all the missing numbers on a snakes and ladders board which went up to 100, which was wonderful but we always knew he was good at maths. The thing that really got me in the last few days was walking back from school he sang the whole of the alphabet song correctly. That is something I still struggle with and I couldn't say the alphabet at all till I was a teenager!

I can't fault his teacher she is wonderful and even if he has problems later on which all my family have at some point she will have given him a great start. We try to support her as much as possible be that supplying boxes or fabric I have spare to make things with or tadpoles.. because mum had hundreds in her pond.

We kept some at home and took some to school. Ours had a couple of accidents so we ended up with only four, school were more successful in keeping theirs alive however we have been feeding ours more fish food and being only four they have more space and it is really interesting to see the difference. The tadpoles at school are still tadpole shaped, small and black where as ours are frogs with a tail! Ours have grown much faster than the on line articles on keeping them said they would.

All I can say is even with a camera with a good macro setting taking photos of them is hard. They move fast, hide well and getting the camera to focus on them not the glass is fun!! The white smudges on the picture above are flakes of fish food on the surface of the water.

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