Do you remember your last day of school?
This week marked Flea’s last day of school, and that meant leaving a school she started attending just after her third birthday.
Officially she has two weeks to go but school has granted ‘authorised absence’ to the kids, providing they’re working or studying sixth form bridging work.
So there we have it. Another parenting milestone passed, another phase done for good. Another set of school photos were taken to mark the last day of school. How fun to see that my child appears to have forgotten to brush her hair AND is wearing the wrong shirt #soproud. Goodness only knows how she managed it because I dropped her off at 9am looking perfectly respectable (see above). You wouldn’t want to make an effort for the last day of school and the last school photo.
That’s the thing about raising these young people. They will keep growing. And just when you’ve got the hang of school runs and parents evenings and checking on homework, it’s done and dusted.
A different experience of Year 11
I’m happy for Flea. Honestly, I think it’s been a rotten last two years at school. I suspect she was thrilled to realise it was the last day of school.
Flea has basically studied for her GCSEs from home, through a laptop. Cut off from friends and teachers, and missing out on so many things that would have been formative experiences for her. No parties, no boyfriends, no school trips or weekend shopping trips with friends.
I think Flea is ready to move on, though. I offered her the chance to host a party and she actually wasn’t that sure, and has instead asked if she can host a party when she’s at her new school. She certainly wasn’t one of those girls who cried because it was the last day of school. Neither was I to be fair – in fact I’m not even sure I can remember it.
I’m hoping sixth form will be a fresh start and a chance to have some of those experiences. Flea has opted to go to a grammar school that’s about a 30-minute drive from here. That means she’ll be spending her first year of sixth form (at least) getting two trains to school. It’s a big commitment but she wants to attend that school, so I’ve said once she’s 17, we’ll look at getting her a car to drive to school. HOW GROWN UP DOES THAT SOUND, by the way?
How can this kid possibly be over-excited about getting her own car?
In the meantime there’s bridging work to complete and Flea’s new sixth form takes it very seriously. Flea gets a week off for half-term then there are weekly zoom lessons for each of her A-Level classes and she needs to complete various online courses, essays, presentations and the like. I guess they don’t get those great results by slacking all summer.
Post year-11 summer plans
Now that Flea has had her last day of school, the question is – what else are we doing to do between now and September?
First up is Flea’s sort-of prom which is a dinner dance being hosted by school for the departing fifth years. Flea has already chosen the dress, but there’s still the issue of shoes and jewellery to think about. Flea has also signed up to keep working with her personal trainer over the summer. There are a few hockey camps that we’ve booked, and she’s got matches one or two days a week, most weeks.
Apart from that we’ve booked 10 days in Scotland, and Flea will also spend two weeks with her Dad in London and Brighton. And I think there was an impulse AirBnB booking in Wales, at some point.
Apart from that, I think this summer will be about slowly recovering from the trauma of the last 18 months – does anyone else feel that way? Like our teens just need some time to get back to normal and feeling like it’s okay to go outside and be with their friends again?
I suppose mostly what I’m feeling this week is proud of my girl. So proud that she didn’t let teachers who called her “lacklustre” define her limits. So proud that she worked hard to get great results, and has also taken the time to work hard on her sport and her fitness. And at the same time, she’s been just the BEST companion to me. Apart from the odd squabble and hormonal rage, she’s such good fun to be with, and I love that she’s growing into a person to be reckoned with.
I think this new sixth form parenting phase is going to be even more fun than the last phase.