Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Educational Effectiveness...

Just thought I should put down, for the record, how today's annual inspection, by the Education Effectiveness Consultant went. Well, firstly, I haven't been sleeping at all well this week, but have refused to admit to myself or anybody that I am the remotest bit worried about the visit. I mean, I have loads of stuff to show: resouces, work, etc, and I am confident enough to answer any questions she may care to thow at me. So why, despite Lynne Truss's attempts to bore me to sleep with lite comedy reading, and a distict lack of caffeine, have I been find it so difficult to get to sleep? I have (quite unnecessarily) organised to craft cupboard, tidied up the whole house and paid my teenage daughter to hoover it. She quite likes the cleaning part, where she gets to rub vinegar on the bathroom mirror. I mean, even I don't go that far. We share an intolerance of mess (both having Virgo rising may have something to do with this), which is unfortunate as her three younger siblings, and, dare I say it, certain other members of the family, make it their life's work to create utter chaos. But I digress, terribly. However, this may help to put you in the picture about the slightly manic frame of mind I was in when the inspector called...
I was just sorting out the washing, and, as I often do when a friend calls, I appeared out of the utility, hands full of washing, saying that I had to get this load going... Well she had described it as an informal visit, but I felt it was far from it. I was prepared, with a kitchen table full of books and projects, and materials- I just felt they would be starting points for discussion, but thoughtfully put in a wide range of things, such as a laptop, some sewing, etc. It turned into a bit of a farce, really, as Allie decided he was suddenly really tired and had to go to sleep on me, but wouldn't be put down at all, so the cup of tea I offered took about half and hour to make and was stewed the death. So I had to sit with him on my lap, answering questions without being able to get up and show things by way of example, which may have turned out to be a good thing, really, as was she did see was not directly criticised, but she had obviously seen some spelling mistakes and could not shut up about spelling- yawn. I didn't tell her that Meave's year 3 teacher used to do spelling tests and regularly sent her home with incorrectly spelt words to learn. I told her that yes, I did sometimes correct spelling when I thought it was necesary. She was asking me about whether she did any grammar etc, and I didn't laugh! She didn't seem to have a sense of humour, anyway. Either that or she was more nervous than I was, or was trying to maintain a proffessional distance. It made me feel like writing to the LEA and asking them if I could have her job, as having been home educating for, oo, 4 months, I was much better qualified for the job than her. And then I decided I wouldn't want a measly job like that. Anyway, I managed to keep talking for an hour and when she decided she had finished- when she had ticked all the boxes, I wouldn't let her go without looking at my HE journal! She cunningly managed to find out Allie's age and name, so no doubt she'll be back in 4 year's time to check up on him! But I didn't let on the existence of Fugs, though. (so who is that mystery midwichcuckooalike in the photo's?) Not that it makes any difference, really, but if she comes back in a year's time he will have reached *Compulsary School Age*, too. I just thought it was funny to not tell her, and why should I, anyway? She didn't tell me when she would come back- this is probably dependant on her report, and not her decision. She departed as swiftly as it was polite, with almost a slightly urgent quickness in her step, as though she feared that I would pin her down and forced her to browse more evidence of my daughter's creative brilliance.
But perhaps that abbruptness had been there all along: there to do a job; much more formal than, say a health visitor, who, I know, some people will not allow into their homes, but I always feel are there to help and not just to check on you. I remember, about 15 years ago, they did used to be a bit like, ticking boxes, but it was just about normal development, and you would want to know, wouldn't you, say, if your child needed glasses or something? I just don't think the Educational Effectiveness Consultant serves any useful purpose. Sorry, but if they dont understand the first thing about HE and then start trying to give out advice about how things are taught in schools, when you have already told them that you are well aware of these things.
Bla. I give up.
Anyway, I still havent decided what I'm doing for my birthday and I've left it a bit late. Nobody ever organises anything for me. Why should I do it, anyway? Becaue I'm a big girl now. Well I thought about curry night in the local pub, but it's a bit boring. Maybe just a night out (pub crawl) would be the best idea. Trouble is I thought it would be a girls night as, well they're the only people I go out with, en masse anyway. But Bren thinks he's coming. Well I dont mind, it just seems a bit strange- a lot of my friends are single and end up talking about their torrid affairs with married men, or lack of. I just remembered, last year I arranged to go to the local, I fell asleep, phoned a friend at 9 and her husband told me she was asleep (she was in the bathroom), so I said never mind, so he ends up down the pub with her friend's husband. So there's these 2 blokes down the pub celebrating my birthday and I'm pissed off because my friend's supposedly asleep, and vica versa. Why are husbands so bad at relaying important phone messages? So I happen to bump into this bloke a few weeks later, who informs me he had a great time. I didn't even invite him! And don't start me on the year before. Suffice it to say that by luchtime my day was as disaster and I was in floods of tears; no-one had come round to lunch, due to a car accident, I had just found out I was unexpectedly, pregnant; Jem had been in school less that a week and someone had phoned me up to have a massive go at me. I wasnt speaking to Brendan and dont recall doing anything in the evening. Not a great time of year to have a birthday. I also have this recurring neck problem that used to happen every year. (note to self: wear a scarf, dont slip on ice).
O, I just remembered, my dad is having THAT heart operation tomorrow. Hope he survives. Everything else pales into insignificance now. And I thought I was going to sleep better tonight.


Blogger Leandra said...

Oh my.....well you definately are a candidate for my chocolate and hot bubble bath. That is always my cure for em "anything" lol
Let us know how everything goes....xx

8:16 pm  
Blogger Nic said...

Blimey Rosie! Will be thinking of you on all counts xxx

9:25 pm  
Blogger Alison said...

Hope your dad's operation went well.

((hugs)) for the birthday thing - has it happened yet?

And - I have to say it - you do know you don't have to have a visit, don't you? Like you say, the whole thing sounded pretty pointless - don't put yourself through it again!

5:33 pm  
Blogger Rosie said...

Yes, thanks, everything's fine now.
I turned down a visit at first, being very new to HE, and asked for some time, leaving it open as to what I would do- I was supposed to have 6 months. I had thought, after a couple of months, that maybe a visit would be less hassle than writing a report, that would no doubt take me hours and I would agonise over it. She just phoned me up after Xmas and obviously wanted to fit me in with another family that lives nearby. So I agreed to get it over with. It wasnt to bad, I suppose, just felt like a bit of an imposition- she obviously has a problem with HE personally- I dont know why she does that job.

10:55 pm  
Blogger Gill said...

Hi Rosie, have just seen this. Very glad your dad's OK :o)
Was your consultant LD?
If so am surprised about a fixation on spelling & grammar.. she is shy & a bit standoffish, but hasn't been anti-HE with me.
Just goes to show they can be different with every family, which is NOT GOOD IMO
Probably we should start refusing visits too, I just don't know... If the court thing comes up again with my ex, it's just so much easier if we've had them, you know? :o(

12:44 am  

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