Wrapping up the summer!


The sky is still a clear blue with little puffy clouds scudding across it; The stripey awning over the kitchen window is protecting the kitchen from overheating. Half of me can’t believe we are at the dawn of a new school year, but the fact that it’s dark by 9pm is unequivocal. Looking at the piles upon piles of ‘fournitures’ (stationary for the uninitiated) on the floor, and for any non french resident who hasn’t gone through the rentrée process of buying up an entire supermarketful of exercise books (cahiers), coupie double and copie simple (filepaper), lutins (file of plastic sleeves) and classeurs (files), there is no dispute; The new term is nearly upon us.

It’s true: I bought the shop!

Until this year I had spent a considerable amount of time worrying about the madness of carting four non francophone children across the channel and expecting them to ‘just get on with it’. But this year I really feel I can sit back and enjoy the peace that will reign in this house when they all depart on monday morning bags in hand. And ‘Yes’ we have had to endure the ‘my bag’s no longer cool’  issue too!

All this anticipated peace of mind is grace to my daughter, now 15, who arrived 3 years ago without a word of French, and who has gone from strength to strength! Let me tell you a secret, to all those considering such a move –

It can be done!

I’ll take you back to May – the beginning of the summer, when stress and anxiety were our middle names. Having arrived at school drop-off where my daughter was sitting her final Brevet Blanc with ‘Tiers Temps’ (extra time), I was precipitated into the office of the Directrice of our Collège to be told that the Academie Française had changed their mind. There was to be no more ‘Tiers Temps’. Not being fluent in French for a French exam was not considered a handicap! Having sat every exam to date with an extra hour, my daughter was to sit ‘the real thing’ in the standard allotted time after all. You can imagine the ensuing panic!

For the following weeks there was wistful hoping on her part that she might pass; a great deal of pushy mother syndrome (24 hours of revision a day is not enough); a little adolescent rebellion and a few ‘being caught out on Facebook’ issues; And when the exam days dawned we had tripled checked her ID was in her bag and yes, we arrived for the exam a good hour early!

Need I have worried? Well actually ‘No’. Two weeks after the final exam, and out of a possible list of scores – ‘Aquis’, ‘Mention’, ‘Mention Bien’ and ‘Mention Très Bien’, she scooped a ‘Mention Bien’, and received her acceptance to the OIB at her chosen Lycée.

Unlike those poor UK students who have to sit through their entire summer holidays wondering how they did and if they were ‘In’ to their higher education, we set off on holiday, happy, reassured and relaxed…

Which is a bit how we are starting out our new school year.

But this year it’s more than that… after a steep uphill struggle, now we feel that we’ve carved a niche, we’ve concreted our first foundation and we are starting to build…

 

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9 comments on “Wrapping up the summer!

  1. I am just grabbing a cup of ginger tea after a similar mad dash today to prepare my two for BTS in Brussels tomorrow. Having just returned from a super long summer around Europe, it’s also my BTWork day tomorrow. Deep breath, hope all is organised, and let’s through ourselves back into it. But aren’t these long european summers (however mixed the weather!) just beautiful?!

  2. Is it possible to be content and disappointed at the same time? Thank heavens August turned its back on the miserable weather in July. I’m fairly content that we are organised but disappointed that were headed for the darker and colder days. Hope all goes well tomorrow!

  3. Tallulah says:

    Well done, all the hard work paid off! And how wonderful to know in advance that the rentrée’s sorted 🙂

  4. I don’t think my three were ever offered Tiers Temps, though they were routinely marked down in English because it was easier for them. As they indignantly pointed out the French children didn’t get penalised in dictée.

    • It’s true, they do get marked down in English – our teachers were quite ruthless in that respect and our children were quite critical since they said their teachers often spoke with gramatical errors. They found it dificult not to speak out!

  5. Sue Whatmough says:

    I think English children are very brave. It must be hellish finding yourself in a class when you don’t speak the language. It’s just as well they learn so fast. Congratulations to your daughter for her ‘mention bien’. Good luck with the building.

  6. Nice little blog !! lively pics ,good writing skill

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