Wednesday, 17 June 2015

School daze

Grey skies, early morning tumbling out of bed, coaxing by parents to get ready for the day, breakfast eaten somehow, tiffins being made in the kitchen... where is the uniform? are the white shoes clean?  The quiet dread of another day at school, are all the books packed?  Grey skies and rain. 

This was my life some 2 score years ago.  These are the days that our next generation are experiencing now.

Asha and Enoch plunged back into their new semester at BSS in Powai.  Is it possible that Asha is in 9th standard already - and Enoch in 7th?   Sure is.  And each day we get them up at 5.30 AM to brave a new set of challenges at school.

Part of the drill for our older 2 is the journey to and from school.   By car and without traffic it takes between 30-40 minutes.   By bus it is longer.  Much longer.   Especially when they come back from school.  Currently Enoch's classes are over by 2.20 PM and over the first week of school he has been arriving back between 4 and 4.45 PM.    Asha's classes are 45 mins more but she gets back at the same time as E.  We wish they were closer to school, but if wishes were horses, then beggars would ride.

Our older two are definitely in an age where photos being shot of them are not very welcome - so it was a fairly stern twosome that looked at Sheba as she snapped this one this morning:

The morning wait for the bus is a bit of an institution of course.  Getting out of the house in a rush - with the inevitable this or that being forgotten - and then finally making it out of the lift and to the main gate... only to find that the bus has not come yet.

Asha and Enoch are the furthest to travel from this bus line - so they are the first in the mini-bus that picks them up. Enoch usually redeems the time by burying himself into the sports section of the still fresh morning paper.  I have to go back in time to a young lad who used to devour the 'Times of India' and the 'Daily' tabloid that arrived at 7 AM at our home in Nana Chowk, all those eons ago. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose

This year Asha shifts gear and 'gets serious' about the big 10th standard exam.  She has already been studying '9th standard' material in the end of her last semester of 8th - and tells us that by the end of this semester her teachers will have covered the entire 9th year curriculum.  This is a school that clearly wants its pupils to succeed.  The school website has annouced that all 123 students who appeared for last years' 10th standard exams had passed, and that 43 got more than 90%, and only one was in the 50-60% bracket.  Our kids are certainly with others who are strivers.

The bus finally comes - and in a twinkling our elder two are inside, the bus does a u-turn and they are off for the day!

Which brings us to our little one.  Yohan had a red letter day of his own today.

We have been doing 'home-schooling' for Yohan over these past months.  Sheba has gradually taken more and more of the load, and though we wanted to start with a 1st standard curriculum, we found out that Yohan's basic Hindi and English reading was such that he needed to start from the very, very beginning.  So Sheba has poured herself into helping Yohan learn.

And today Yohan took one step forward.  He started 'school' with Mrs. Priya Sahane.  Priya is a lady who loves children and has been helping coach kids who find school hard - and when we met her about Yohan she readily agreed to take him on.  So this morning we took him over for his first day - with his backpack, a small tiffin and water bottle, his pencil box and a big smile.  Priya has suggested he come every day from 8 AM to 12 PM.  She has another student who she is preparing for his 12th exam using the National Insitute of Open Schooling (NIOS) who comes in at the same time.  She also has other students attending regular school who come in around 10 AM for 2 hours.  Priya is able to focus on the individual students and give them tasks to do.  We are hoping that this will be the next step for Yohan - as he will now be getting individual attention that is focussed on his current abilities as well as having others around him in a learning environment. 

The current plan is to enrol Yohan into the Open Basic Education programme of NIOS.  The OBE level A which we hope to start Yohan with is equivalent of standards 1-3.  The advantage of OBE is that it allows a non-traditional learner to take his or her own time. A blessing if the child is slower than their contemporaries - or vice versa.   The other advantage of the NIOS system is that it is a government programme.  So eventually when (we hope) he appears for his secondary exam (the dreaded '10th standard exam') - it will be accepted on par with the other schools - but with the advantage of being done at Yohan's own pace, and with more flexibility in the choice of subjects.

It's all a learning process for us.  We know that the best education takes place at home - and wish we could consistently give the time and attention that Yohan needs - but having him getting 4 hours of focussed input is a real blessing.   We have seen that his health has improved a lot and he has gained weight too - so now we are taking the first steps to see him step out and up.

Asha and Enoch have mammoth bus rides to work through.  Yohan will be dropped off by the Papaya to start with - with Oma coming along too - and then picked up by his Oma at 12 PM.

Tomorrow is day 2 for Yohan (in this latest step forward at least) - and day many, many, many for Asha and Enoch.  Enoch has been in some kind of schooling since he was 2.5 years old.  We are all learning.  Carpe diem.

1 comment:

  1. I wish school could be more of a joy for them. Kathy