How did Grade 10 creep up on us?  We are still reeling from the mid-year examinations for Grade 9 and we get a letter from the school.

“You are urged to attend a presentation regarding your childs subject choice for Grade 10 2013”.  You also had a chance to discuss your childs progress with their teachers.

Now discussing your childs progress with their teachers is that schools answer to speed dating.  You get 15 minutes to hear how your kid is doing and to discuss them – it is fast – it is furious – and I hate to say to a certain degree it works.

Well …….. back to subject choice.  Its almost like they are wishing the year away and we have to start mapping out a 14 year olds future.

DONE – He wants to be a pro cyclist, easy, no brainer and now just to choose the subjects so that he can achieve his dream.

Anyway, we trek into the school hall and the presentation starts.  The presenter is informative, motivating and makes the whole subject choice really exciting.

He goes on to tell us that the standard for Gr 9 is much higher than in previous years and it will be more difficult to pass Grade 9 this year than before.  DANG!

He goes on to tell us the reason for this is that the end of Grade 9 is one of the first “exit from school” levels that is recognised by Govt.

“Right we are OTTA here!” I hear a murmur beside me ………..

I look next to me and there is my son, I see a kaleidoscope of feelings crossing his face and all of them involve a bum on a bicycle and none of them involve a bum at a school desk.  In his mind in 6 months he is checking out of the school system – never to return.

He starts standing up ……….. and in mid-stand I say one word.

“SIT!!!!!!!!!”  not loudly ………… sort of a whispery ssssssssssssssssssiiit!

I hear the sound of about 20 backsides returning to their seat.

His look of disappointment is heartbreaking …… but  ………. I am the parent here and I am pulling the parent card.

Right  –  the ever important subject choices.

English First Language

Afrikaans Second Language

Life Orientation. 

Maths or Maths Literacy

The above are mandatory subjects.  The interesting one is LO, it seems the Govt deems that all children must do LO because it will make them better citizens!  Shrieks a bit of big brother to me but then I hear the best news – in Matric they will not have to write LO exams the whole subject is task driven!!!!! Loving LO!

Thereafter the learner must choose a further 3 subjects – and from these 3 subjects a fourteen year old must seriously consider where their life is going for the next 50-odd years.

Will get back to this because something is not adding up, at the moment Jamie is doing

Home Economics
Technical Drawing

And from Grade 10 he will only be doing 8 subject  – surely dropping 5 subjects is making their lives easier?

Anyway …….. this is how it is done.  Oh and subjects have different names (very confusing).  Physical Science is the old Science.  And life science was Biology – or vice versa I am a bit confused.  Maths is maths but you get additional maths (not sure either), Maths Literacy is there for the students who really see maths as easy as reading and understanding ancient Greek  (pi was Greek).  Computer Applications Technology replaces the old typing class.   Economics and Business studies and Consumer studies  are different subjects and Accounting does not form part of either of them.  The old Technical Drawing is now Engineering Graphics and Design.

Oh and they must make their choice by the end of August.

Our role as parents are to guide – note, not force – our child to make the right choices.   Hey to put it bluntly,  its been a long time since I was in Std 8 and I can’t remember what subjects I did at school.  I am too scared to look at my old school reports.  I have vague memories of ……..

“If Tanya would apply herself to her school work and not talk so much her results would be ……..” (I think the words they used to use here was “more pleasing”

or ………

“If Tanya concentrated on her work more and not on her social life …………..”

You get the drift.

Frans wasn’t that hot at school either.  His brother was – I wonder if that counts?

So here we are …… two bad scholars expected to advise our kid on some major life changing decisions and we simply are not up to the task.

My gut feel is to just let him take the easy route to getting the magical Matric cert.  For the most entry level into a Varsity or Technikon is so pathetically low that you can almost guarantee a tertiary education pass, or you can be the real parent and try and guide your child into waters that you have never been.

What is it about us as parents that makes us want them to have what we never did.  Or have we forgotten that we did  and had everything we wanted and still turned out ok.  I would love to see Jamie live his dream and cycle for a living – and yes, I know the stats that less than 1% of sportsmen and women achieve this dream – but hey – what if he is part of that 1%?

To confuse matters even more – I know some guys who went to the best schools, did the “big six” subjects, went to varsity and got degrees – only to end up not really successful or nice.  On the reverse side I know MANY school reprobates, who did the minimum to pass who went on to become pillars of society.

Frans took it one step further and explained to him that you need maths in order to cycle properly i.e. working out cog ratios  and wheel speeds etc.  That he would need Geography to understand the world around him to improve his performance.  That he would need technical drawing if he wants to design and manufacture bicycles and lastly he will need business studies to run any business associated with cycling.

So I reckon as parents we are supporting him – I hope we are doing it the right way because there is no manual for this one.

One thought on “YOUR 14 YEAR OLDS FUTURE ……. YIKES!!!!

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