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 school browsing ….

Connor is in Grade 5.

Though Grade 8 seems like an awfully long way away – the days of arriving at the front gate and pushing your child into which ever school you chose, just does not exist any more.

Or might, and the school system I am familiar with is just making my life challenging.

It is now all about frantic mothers (dads appear to be about as interested in this as they were in attending pre-natal classes) comparing schools in the primary school parking lot, googling until you break a nail, and applying to every school you think MIGHT just be right for your child.

Government schools cannot (technically) keep waiting lists, so they have to let you know in June-August of the year your child is in Grade 7 as to whether he or she is accepted.  Problem there is if they tell you that your acceptance has been denied then you are sitting with a child whose primary school career is about to end, and no where to send him.

The schools suggest applying to no less than three!

If you are lucky enough to live in a catchment area of a high school, that of course increases your odds of getting accepted into the school – I believe they have to take you if you fall within the residential zone, unfortunately for us who only have a Woolworths and a Liquor Store, well then you need to start finding a school.

And pronto.

Yesterday the kind folks at Somerset College gave Kennith and I a tour and a little meet and greet.  I do not want to say that I would sell my gonads for a place in that school, but I would definitely put Kennith’s on ebay and consider all opening bids.

The school is un-flipping-believable.

I do think that fact that it is surrounded by wine farms does make me even more fond of it than I could already be.

I kept waiting for something horrible to appear.  A reason why I would not want to spend a home loan payment per month on a school for my child – I even checked the toilets just in case they had not been using Jeyes fluid.

We were shown around the campus, and I swooned …. the classes were lovely, the hostel facilities were great, the children who we met were friendly polite and you did not get that rather “icky feeling of too rich parents with spoilt horrible children” that one does experience on occasion at schools that cater to those in the slightly higher earning/tax brackets.

When we got back to the car Kennith pipes up: “Is there anything about that school you did not like?”

Unfortunately starting with the creme of schools unfortunately is going to be make viewing the next six a bit of an exercise in : “For the love of gd can we not just send the kids to Somerset College and sell blood and sperm on line to try to afford it?”