It has been quite a week in the Cisco household. The first week back to school always feels hectic. The early mornings take a bit of getting used to, and getting back in the routines that seemed so simple before the holidays can be tricky. And this week ended up being more complicated than I had anticipated...
Wednesday morning saw my 9 year old setting off for his first day at middle school. As a child with Asperger traits (but no formal diagnosis), change can be a struggle for him. The summer holidays have seen a fair degree of anxiety in the build up, and frankly I was expecting tears at the very least, if not a total meltdown, by the day itself.
But nope. He got up, got dressed, and got on the school bus with barely a quibble. He says it is 'OK'. Not as nice as his first school, but OK. That is a fair enough summing up in my mind, middle school isn't ever going to be as cosy as first school. Especially when you have gone from a small village school to a several hundred pupil campus. I am remarkably impressed with his adaptability these days. As I have mentioned on this blog previously, his pre-school were so concerned he was autistic that we underwent diagnostic meetings with paediatricians, to no real conclusion- other than he was very bright so they would see how he goes. First school was started with coping strategies put in place for him by the teachers, but he has long since ceased needing them. I think there is nothing wrong with him now, except perhaps a tinge of quirkiness- but better that than boring!
I was expecting that to be the trauma of the week, instead I got side swiped by an unexpected breakdown by the teen pre her own return to school. I have been aware for sometime that she isn't over happily with her chosen subjects in sixth form, but I didn't realise quite how bad it had got until a total meltdown the day before she was due to return.
A swift but thorough investigation turned up a brilliant sounding college course for her instead. A BTEC in Health and Social care, the topic she both loved at A/S level, and achieved an A in the exam for. We dashed down to the nearest college that offers the course, in the next town along from us, and managed to have a good chat with one of the lecturers. The course is still equivelant to 3 A levels, leads onto the sort of University course she is interested in, and includes a day a week on placement, which should help her decide which area she wants to work in going forwards, as well as providing valuable experience for both UCAS form and CV.
I made her go into school on Thursday anyway, both to ensure she wasn't basing her decision on back to school nerves, and so she could ask the opinions of her tutors there. They agreed that the course sounded ideal for her, but said they would be sad to see her go. Her day in school only made her feel more certain that college was the right choice. So she filled in the forms and officially left.
Friday saw us back at college to enrol her, and today she starts. I hope she likes it. It feels like a good decision for her, I just wish she had told me earlier in the summer how miserable she was so we had had more time to think things through, I could have done without the sleepless nights this week, but hopefully we have found a route that she can feel more comfortable with.
Lastly on my trip through multiple layers of education was a visit to a pre-school. Now I am sure the last time I did this, I just rocked up to my chosen pre-school a couple of weeks before Max was due to start and got it all arranged quickly, but a chance conversation with another parent of a 2 year old warned me that I better be quicker off the mark this time around. Apparently there has been something of a baby boom going on, and if I want Syd to go to pre-school NEXT September, I need to get him a place now. They weren't wrong. My pre-school of choice, because it is near Max's school and has a good reputation, only has 2 places left. TWO. A year in advance. We went to their baby and toddler group on Thursday to check it out, and it is lovely, especially the garden. So Syd is now all signed up. He will go a couple of afternoon sessions a week from the middle of February, and then up to 5 mornings a week in September. Regular child free time? I won't know myself!
I am sincerely hoping that this week is a little calmer, and that routine starts to rear it's head. Then I can get back to the important business of blogging about biscuits.