Have you ever wondered just what your child is doing all day while they’re at school?

When my own two sons were youngsters and attending a certain school which shall be nameless, I found out what they were doing when, bored at home, I innocently offered to help the children with reading who were struggling.  Initially I was told ‘not to correct them and interrupt their flow even though they might make many mistakes’, because apparently constant correction ‘breaks down their self confidence’.

I couldn’t see the point of helping children to read if I couldn’t correct their mistakes, so I decided not to go down this route .  I offered instead to help with painting – mixing up the paints and getting easels ready etc.  On my first day as a volunteer in my youngest son’s class of 5 year olds, I could see that all the children were just wandering around or running about aimlessly, while the teacher was fighting a losing battle to try and control the class.

On subsequent visits to my eldest son’s class I could see that all the children did for the majority of the day was colouring.  These were 9 year old children, who should have been learning the three R’s at least.

Horrified, I decided to take both boys out of the school and send them instead to another junior school outside of our catchment area which I’d found out had a good name.  This involved applying to the council for the move, and giving my reasons why I wanted to take them out.  This made me very unpopular with all the other mothers at the school, some of whom to this day still do not talk to me!  However, my boys came on in leaps and bounds at their new school.  I was told in confidence by their new head teacher that children from the boys’ original school were very easy to spot at the upper school, as they tended to lag behind.  In private the vicar applauded my move and told me he was moving away rather than having to send his 4 year old daughter to a school where the children were mainly left to their own devices.

In time the teachers at my sons’ original school left.  I wasn’t sure if they had been sacked, resigned of their own accord, or decided to move to another school.  After a few years the school improved, but by then my sons were at the upper school.

So if you ever wonder what your children are doing all day at school, volunteer your services and find out!  It was a real eye-opener for me.