School applications, Sherlock Holmes and the Holy Grail ….

I seem to have spent the last 13 years looking for schools.

It has become my “other job” – the one that drives me crazy, and at the same time excites me no end as I take on the digging and researching that would drive Sherlock Holmes to a happy ending.

{I do know that Sherlock Holmes is a fictional character, but I like to think of him as Benedict Cumberbatch and that makes him pretty real to me}

At the moment the aim is to get Connor/Child Number 1 into High School for Grade 8.  I can only apply between February and April, and then the school advises us during June – September as to whether you have been accepted. Or are going to just be home schooled.

The problem with the system is that because you find out so late in the year, if you are not accepted by a school what are you going to do?

So the system forces you to do the other thing, which is to apply to several schools “in case you do not get in” and thus in itself further adds to the fact that schools will let you know you have been accepted, give you a period of time to respond/accept/make a deposit and if that is not forthcoming then they move to the second tier of desperate parents who are sitting starting at their phone waiting for it to ring.

Schools worry me, because I have had to deal with them for so many years.  I understand how the lists work, and the waiting lists, and what it is like to wait for the acceptance letter.

The result is for Connor we need to apply to 4 – 6 high schools.

We are English-speaking, to find sufficient English schools in our area, has become akin to the search for the Holy Grail.

I applied a great deal of pressure on Connor during these last exams that the grades were the ones that schools were going to look at on his applications. I really need him to get straight A’s, or very close.

Next year I will also have to do the bit to get Isabelle/Child #3 enrolled for Grade 1.  She also starts at a new school in January 2015, in Grade R – they did not have space to take her this year.

I assume that Isabelle will go the same primary school as the other two, and she will get accepted based on a sibling criteria (her siblings both are at or went to the same school.) but that does not make me sit very easy until I have the letter in my hand.

I have seen a few status updates on Facebook where kids were accepted to such and such schools and it is always “oh, congratulations child so and so” when in actual fact it should say “Mom, seriously high 5 for the months of research, sorting out application forms, stalking people who may be well-connected to get you ahead of the queue.  Basically spending the last 1 – 3 years worrying, fretting and orchestrating this process to get your kid accepted at the school you wanted your kid accepted to, and not always the one he wants to go to….”

School application time sucks huge rocks!

141203_Grow up

High Schools in Cape Town … the fun we are having it.


The day has come, I always knew it would.

In my mind Connor is still a little boy.

As I watch him stretch out on the couch with his beer oros I am amazed by how much he has crossed over that line of little boy, and is on his way to big boy.  He takes up the entire damn couch.  He eats like a wrestling team on steroids and he has taken to “inheriting” my shoes – and I am not exactly a small foot.

He gets embarrassed when undressing – and hides inside his cupboard if he is worried someone will come barging in.  Screams at his sisters if they try to walk in to the bathroom when he is on the toilet, and begs to shower separately.  The idea of him whipping off his shirt so I can see if something fits, horrifies him.

I am in denial, so get a bit cross and scream: “Just shower with the girls, what is wrong with you?”

But there is nothing wrong, he is growing up.  He is at that stage where he just needs his privacy.

I live in fear that there is going to be THAT day where I barge into his room, only to discover he is doing a bit of self-exploration and then I will probably die a thousand deaths right there.

I still try to have frank conversations with him about his body and s.e.x and girlfriends and all of those things which are just going to get creepy uncomfortable over the next 12 – 24 months.

Twelve to twenty four months — that is not a long time, that is a blink in the time line of a child.  Its not even long enough to make a dent in a car payment.

Talking about 24 months, Connor will be ready for Grade 8 in 2016.

Yep, sounds like forever away doesn’t it?  Not so much.  This year I need to visit Open Days, then apply this year (for some schools) to get on waiting lists, or next year for others.

Schools are going to be sending out “approval of acceptance” whilst he is in Grade 7  (2015) and probably before May of that year.  There really there is not a huge amount of time to sit around and think long deep thoughts about school.

Kennith prefers to lie on the couch, shrug, change channels and give me the look of  “really you are freaking out about nothing here” look when I decide to bring it up.  Kennith’s frame of reference is that the kids just appeared to go to a school, he does not know of the weeks/months of searching to vet a school, and then the amount of begging involved in them allowing you in.

In the Grade 7 talk that I sat in to by accident, the key point conveyed  was to apply to more than one school.  Three (and be accepted in two) if possible, so that you are not sitting come end of 2016 with no school for 2017.  This appears to be a common “need for an emergency meeting with the principal” of several Grade 7 learners and their parents.

I am not sure if 2016 and 2017 sound like they are miles away to you … to me, they sound like they are 2 or 3 Xmas cards away, and considering I am behind from about 1986 in sending Xmas cards in time, it appears frightfully close.

I sat today making a list of 6 potential high schools – and applied to them to find out when their Open Day is going to be, and whether we could pleased/beg come along.

I sent an email which I hope gives the impression that I am sort of disinterested in their school, and easy going either way.  I needed to hold myself from putting one of those smiley faces that pray and close their eyes at the end of my email.

The problem (of which there are many) is that I need to evaluate a school now for the child he is going to be then.  The option of waiting to see what sort of kid he is in Grade 7 and then make a decision is just not available.

I had to make my own list of Cape Town’s Top 10 Schools.

I did use the fact that they had boarding school as a criteria. I really would like the kids to attend a school with boarding facilities so they can be weekly boarders in High School.  But to be honest, right now I just need to find a school that will accept my child.

Tell me again how quickly our children grow up!  Cheese and rice where does it all go?