I am coming at things more as a parent today than as a governor as, it being the holidays, the latter role has gone quiet. I was only thinking this morning (as I was wiping yoghurt out of the inside of my handbag) that it is a good job that one aspect of my life had gone quiet. As it is, just having all three children at home is proving a more than full time job, without having the odd copy writing assignment, a gardening project and a half-decorated children’s bedroom.
During the holidays, Milly has again been asked to complete a scrapbook of memories. Last year, we had such great intentions; we took and printed up photos, bought postcards, cut out pictures from adverts and put aside tickets from our excursions. The plan was that Milly would sit down each evening and jot down a sentence or two then stick in all of her ‘memories’. The reality was that on the evening of the 3rd September, we were frantically emptying the car and various handbags and rucksacks searching for the things we had put aside. My husband was then sent out for some glue and we both hovered over Milly as she reluctantly stuck in the said items completely at random and without any pleasure whatsoever.
So far this year we have done much better. Five days into the holidays and two entries have been written. I can’t say I feel relaxed about the whole thing, but at least there is something there. The writing is neat, the tickets are labeled correctly and, most importantly, Milly has enjoyed doing it. Her brother, who starts school in September, has even requested a scrapbook of his own. I have found that, if I do the writing and allow him to fill in the odd word and to do the gluing, he feels very important because he is doing his ‘work’ too.
My point though is this; despite having been a teacher and having a vague idea of how to motivate children, I find it really hard to make sure that Milly enjoys making her scrapbook whilst making sure that it is of some quality. I want to let her get on with it, but I also want her to learn something from it. I don’t want to nag her to do it, because then it becomes a drag rather than something enjoyable.
I know that the school has deliberately not set firm boundaries for the task, as all year groups participate and, of course, there are a wide range of abilities. However, in the back of my mind, I am aware that there will be some parents who probably sit down and more or less make the scrapbook with their children. There will be some who make it an absolute drag for them because they are forced to do too much and there will be some who do nothing at all.
I’m not entirely sure what the happy medium is, but I do hope that Milly will have more than two entries by the end of August. At least tonight she will be keen to write about the cleaning effect that M&S organic yogurt has on coins, (which, frighteningly, is on a par with that of cola drinks)!