A while ago, I don’t know where, I think I wrote a little about how much we felt Amelie was outgrowing being home educated. In an ideal world, this would not be so; if she was the eldest, if her brother had not died, if I hadn’t had the business, or Bene, if she had not been third, this might not have happened. It’s not home education’s fault but a combination of circumstance, personalities and, if I’m honest, my own weariness at battering my head against 2 of 4 girls who are at least as distracted as I am. Fran and Amelie suffer the same sort of benign, undiagnosed ADHD that I do – flitty brained, multitasking, never finishing, procrastinating etc etc. (Sorry, where was I?)
After a full on hissy fit at her daddy, we called her bluff. Well, not her bluff, we meant it. Things had to improve or she would be taking up the place we applied for at the junior school Fran did a term at. The thing is, Amelie is lovely, adorable. She is caring, clever, loving, funny, sassy, sharp, gentle and ocmpassionate, strong willed and warm hearted. At home though, she exerts most of her will to evading doing anything and outwitting or overcoming everyone. She’s the perfect person to have by you if your back is against the wall and she’d fight to the death for any of us – but if you aren’t in danger, she might just fight you instead. (Actually, I think she might be a Nac Mac Feegle.) We put various things in place to try and help her, including some weekly one to one with her godmother, who has been teaching her ice skating and by the time the letter arrived, we were happy with the effort she had put in and the maturity she had handled the situation with. It might not have been a comfortable thing for us to have done but even in a family that strives to encompass the individuals, you can’t have one person making everyone else suffer.
But when the letter came, though she was adamant that she didn’t want to go and we respected that and said it was now entirely up to her. I couldn’t shake the nagging feeling that it might be a really good thing. I suggested we went for a look round, particularly as one thing putting her off was that the school year includes a child she didn’t particularly gel with at the panto. So we went; to my absolute no surprise at all, the (rather excellent, old school) head teacher chat, the possibility of being with Fran’s old (very funny) teacher and a girl she knows from gym swung her. She’ll have to do SATs and a WW2 day outing is coming up and various bits just appealed. She came home clutching the prospectus and read it avidly.
When Fran started I worried terribly; she was less formed than AMelie, who writes and mathemathicals much more than Fran did. She is socially competent and I know it, which I didn’t with Fran. I resented losing that bit of Fran but with Amelie I am looking forward to just being her mum for a while. She’s ready, I know she is and I hope it will form her down a different path from the very clever – very lazy -very smarty pants one she has begun to go down. I think she could be happier about herself than she has been recently and with luck, the stretch of the challenge of SATS and school will actually be a positive thing for her. Longer term is less obvious, since she is unlikely to get a place straight away at Fran’s school, so we will see.
From Monday, just Maddy, Josie, Bene and I will be puddling along in this house day to day.