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Confessions of a working mother: Why does the real work only begin when school’s out?

By Karen Ireland

Well that’s it — school’s out for another year!We have at last completed P2, P4 and P6. But before we get into summer holiday mode there’s that time every child and most parents dread — report time.

And in my case report card times three!

Each of the boys arrived home from school this week clutching that all-telling white envelope, desperate to know the contents but equally anxious as to what might lie within.

Some things never change. I remember one year while in high school my brother bribed the postman to bring his a day late when he would be on board a plane on a holiday he was told he couldn’t go on if his report was bad.

Let’s just say the postman did him a huge favour and I think if my mum could have found a way to get him back from the trip with his grandparents in the US she might have.

Thankfully, things were not just as bad in the Knox/Ireland household and the boys will still be able to make their holidays.

All the reports were good but of course there are lessons to be learnt along the way — mainly for the parents!

So, I intend to approach the summer working on the areas highlighted for each of the boys and have vowed this year not to get to the last week in August and remember that I was meant to do extra reading and practise maths over the holidays.

The reports were as different as the boys themselves. Korey’s came home first and of course I made the huge mistake of saying it was one of the best reports I had ever read — cue Jesse to say the following day that his was certain not to be as good as the golden child’s!

I spent the day grovelling and convincing my 10-year-old how different they all were and how each excelled in certain areas and they all had their own unique talents and gifts. Teo, who has just finished P2 and would much rather be pitching tents and making stuff out of wood, got that great comment — “Teo is a lively boy with an abundance of energy”.

Well, I have got eight weeks to get this abundance of energy more interested in his reading and writing than planks of wood, his drum kit and keyboard.

His report did highlight his love of music and enthusiasm for the subject.

Tom still has high hopes that as a future rock star our son will be our personal pension plan.

As the summer begins, so does a new journey for Jesse and all those in P6 as they prepare for one of their most important school years in P7.

But it doesn’t just start in September — already we have a pack home and practice tests to do throughout the summer in preparation for the new AQE tests which they will sit, if they choose, in November.

The P6s have already been doing practice tests throughout this final term and in order to keep up the momentum they have to continue this throughout the summer.

So, that will be fun trying to get him to sit down for an hour at a time and motivate him to do these tests while the others are out playing.

The saving grace is he has a school in mind and knows that he needs to work hard and go the extra mile to reach his goal. We are hoping that will be motivation enough and we won’t have to resort to bribery or corruption.

I, too, need to start doing my homework now as I am still a little in the dark about the whole new process — how it works, where exams are taken and how it is all graded, costs involved in applying and in sitting the papers etc. The list is endless.

I kind of avoided all the hype last year as I didn’t want to start freaking out too soon. Now I realise that the “could do better” and “must learn to focus and pay more attention” lines could apply equally to me as any of the boys!

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