It will be several years before we can objectively assess many aspects of our move to Canberra but thankfully, for the most important of these – the kids’ education – we can assess their progress along the way.
This week, our boys received their first Aussie school reports and, while there’s room for improvement for both, the signs are that they are in good hands when it comes to developing a love of learning.
This is important news in the CBRbound household because it’s fair to say that the last school report we received for Maxi-CBRbound in Denmark was a shocker and led to a flurry of ‘what to do’ meetings with his teachers. We never really got to the bottom of whether he had disengaged from school in anticipation of our impending move, or the teachers were giving him less support in the knowledge that he was leaving – or both.
Regardless, we’ve been keen to avert a repeat scenario and so we have had regular ‘how’s it going?’ meetings with both boys’ class teachers and have done all we can to support them from home.
In a sense, I think I saw the boys’ first report cards as something of a report on our move itself. Had we disrupted them terribly? Was this a good decision for their future? Were they putting down the roots that would enable them to thrive in the future?
Given the stakes, we took the selection of their school seriously. We knew that educational standards in Canberra were generally high, but we researched the performance of nearly every school in the territory via the excellent MySchool website, using the results to draw up a shortlist of 10 schools.
Then, in 2013, Mrs CBRbound flew to Australia for a week with her cousin and, with brilliant help and insights from a Ballarat-based friend, visited every one – two each day for a week – to check them out in more depth.
From there, she selected three schools, each in different neighbourhoods, but which, together, dictated the areas we would look for rental houses in. We eventually signed on the dotted line for a house that made the boys eligible for number two on the list of preferred schools.
So, with all that investment and effort, how are things going?
Thankfully, both boys’ reports were okay. I say that with a measure of satisfaction. There are results that can be improved upon, areas where effort can be increased, and subjects where they are doing pretty well. They’re not excelling or failing anywhere – it’s a mixed picture of promise and room for improvement.
In short, their reports read like that of any other kid, which tells me that, notwithstanding the odd playground scuffle, they are actually settling in pretty well, becoming normal kids, and that they are coping with expectations for their age group despite being completely new to the curriculum they are being taught.
And that’s enough for now. It’s as much as we could have hoped for. There’s plenty of time for them to decide what they are interested in and what they are good at. For now, they seem to be keeping pace with their friends as they put the foundations of learning in place.
So, for a Dad whose kids received two fairly run of the mill reports, I’m actually feeling pretty proud of them. Well, prouder than normal, anyway.