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Thread: Gettin' All-Primal in the Applachians page 60

  1. #591
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    Quote Originally Posted by badgergirl View Post
    It's very specific, culturally-mediated phenomenon. I'm trying to think of characters that embody this rah-rah posh enthusiasm. Penelope Keith has it in some roles. The bossy, cheerful bluster: mustn't grumble, come on chaps, let's go for a bracing walk up this mountain in gale-force winds. Tally ho!
    Ooooh! Good description - now I really get it. Yup, annoyingly enthusiastic. It think it must needs be an upper-crust thing, as the chick knows that, for her, over that mountain's summit awaits a fire in a manor house and down bedding and rich food and a hot bath. Poor folks would act differently - they have (metaphorically speaking) many mountains both behind and ahead of them in close order that wreck the attitude, not just that one to be climbed.
    I have a mantra that I have spouted for years... "If I eat right, I feel right. If I feel right, I exercise right. If I exercise right, I think right. If I think right, I eat right..." Phil-SC

  2. #592
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crabbcakes View Post
    Ooooh! Good description - now I really get it. Yup, annoyingly enthusiastic. It think it must needs be an upper-crust thing, as the chick knows that, for her, over that mountain's summit awaits a fire in a manor house and down bedding and rich food and a hot bath. Poor folks would act differently - they have (metaphorically speaking) many mountains both behind and ahead of them in close order that wreck the attitude, not just that one to be climbed.
    There's a bit of that, but also given that we're talking about a sort of callous disregard that's fostered by a very English type of boarding school (cold, damp, cruel, not enough to eat, yet soaked in privilege):
    This isn't nearly as bad as that time Bunter and Mollykins locked me in the gym-shoe cupboard when I should have been doing my prep, what! Goodness, what lawks! Miss Brody only found me the next morning. All night with all those damp shoes for company, lor, how I must have ponged!
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  3. #593
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    Quote Originally Posted by badgergirl View Post
    I think I've rec'd this book before, but the Susan Cooper Dark is Rising series offers an interesting and accessible folklore/Christian/pre-Christian take on things - including samhain. Of course, they're kids books and it's only a part of the story, which weaves Arthurian legends in too for good measure, but I always enjoyed that aspect of them. The first one is a bit jolly hockey sticks, it is possible to skip it and read on from The Dark Is Rising, though I'm not adverse to a bit of jolly hockey.
    Ds and I loved these books, we got the audio versions from the library.
    Life is death. We all take turns. It's sacred to eat during our turn and be eaten when our turn is over. RichMahogany.

  4. #594
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    Quote Originally Posted by badgergirl View Post
    This isn't nearly as bad as that time Bunter and Mollykins locked me in the gym-shoe cupboard when I should have been doing my prep, what! Goodness, what lawks! Miss Brody only found me the next morning. All night with all those damp shoes for company, lor, how I must have ponged!
    Well, Bunter and Mollykins sound like very nasty pieces of work indeed.

  5. #595
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    Quote Originally Posted by badgergirl View Post
    There's a bit of that, but also given that we're talking about a sort of callous disregard that's fostered by a very English type of boarding school (cold, damp, cruel, not enough to eat, yet soaked in privilege):
    This isn't nearly as bad as that time Bunter and Mollykins locked me in the gym-shoe cupboard when I should have been doing my prep, what! Goodness, what lawks! Miss Brody only found me the next morning. All night with all those damp shoes for company, lor, how I must have ponged!
    A dollop of personality disorder in there, too, due to the childhood abuse, too, eh?

    I have read a few articles (none truly scientific or such, just journalistic) as a young adult stating that English men schooled at those kinds of boarding schools are as adults unable to function sexually "normally" due to corporal punishment - not all men/students but the pattern is allegedly definite. Not to start a sex conversation - I mention it only as up until then I had had no idea boarding schools existed - I thought everybody went to public school in the modern age. Hah.
    I have a mantra that I have spouted for years... "If I eat right, I feel right. If I feel right, I exercise right. If I exercise right, I think right. If I think right, I eat right..." Phil-SC

  6. #596
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crabbcakes View Post
    A dollop of personality disorder in there, too, due to the childhood abuse, too, eh?

    I have read a few articles (none truly scientific or such, just journalistic) as a young adult stating that English men schooled at those kinds of boarding schools are as adults unable to function sexually "normally" due to corporal punishment - not all men/students but the pattern is allegedly definite. Not to start a sex conversation - I mention it only as up until then I had had no idea boarding schools existed - I thought everybody went to public school in the modern age. Hah.
    Let's get this back to linguistics... 'public schools' in England are private schools, very top end of the market: Eton and so forth. State schools are the ones that are free, govt run, and private schools are fee-charging, though not as nobby as the public schools.

    The thing about English men of a certain social class liking a bit of slap with their tickle? Hopefully mostly a myth put about by the French, I don't move in those circles, but then I refer you to the curious case of Max Mosley.

    I should mention, in the interests of full disclosure, that my son goes to a private school rather than a state school. This marks me out as being a bit over aspirational, given that I'm putting schooling ahead of home ownership in terms of my priorities. In this I am displaying classic English middle class class consciousness... Equally, I have no faith in school being the fount of future success - I just wanted the small boy to be happy and have an amazing all-round education rather than go through the sausage factory that is mainstream schooling.
    Last edited by badgergirl; 10-29-2013 at 09:40 PM.
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    You probably already know this, but US terminology puts your son in a "private" school;
    "public" school being the free, state-run ones everywhere here, even though the phrase "free public school" is increasingly becoming an oxymoron, with budget cuts requiring parents to shell out dough on a constant basis for an ever-expanding list of classes and activities;
    "parochial" schools being church-run and explicitly religious (in my world, that usually gets reserved for Catholic schools, everything else parochial and Jesus-leaning gets called a "Christian" school);
    schools for students like my Third are called a lot of things according to the state you live in, but usually "school for the handicapped" or "special-needs school" covers it nicely across the US.
    Then there is "homeschooled";
    and sometimes "privately tutored" when the kid doesn't go to any dedicated building-based school per se but neither do the parents do the teaching as in typical homeschooling - they hire personal teachers.
    "Charter schools" are a newer education form here, a still-experimental blend of government money and private control.

    If you want to insult the public schools here, call them "government schools" - at least that is what the worst insult is hurled by the homeschooling crowd.

    And I agree with you - had my Third not been developmentally delayed/handicapped and thus the devourer of financial resources here, I would have made the exact same decision you did re Small Boy, and for the exact same reasons. My girls would have gone Waldorf to begin - whether they would have stayed there is for alternate universes to know.

    Perhaps it is "class-conscious" in England to put your boy in a private school instead of buying a house, but personally I think it is just a loving thing to do from a mom who values a good education, and her son.

    Max Mosely - hadn't heard of him in particular. "a bit of slap with their tickle" puts what I read very nicely, badger - I see you have heard the same stuff I have. (Reading article...) Well, then. French propaganda? Hmmmm - hadn't heard of that, worth keeping in mind.

    I wonder what the world would be like if the world were such that all parents would be able to easily and fully satisfy their wishes for their progeny in regard to education.
    I have a mantra that I have spouted for years... "If I eat right, I feel right. If I feel right, I exercise right. If I exercise right, I think right. If I think right, I eat right..." Phil-SC

  8. #598
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    This is going to get LOOONNNNGGGG

    The education system in the UK has changed quite considerably in the last few decades... It started off with the state providing grammar schools for the bright kids and secondary moderns for the not-so-brights. 'Bright' was defined by an exam called the Eleven Plus, which was quite an arbitrary sheep and goats system. Grammar schools set you on the path to university, secondary moderns set you on the path to trades/secretarial school. My mother went to a secondary modern, her two sisters (older and younger) both went to grammar school. Much later, she discovered that she missed out by a percentage point or so and had she been a boy it would have been sufficient (in the interests of gender balance, apparently places were offered to boys at a lower pass rate).

    By the time I went to school, the eleven plus had been abolished. I went to a comprehensive secondary school (actually a high school with a sixth form - 16-18 year olds - as the Island had a three-school system). The high school took all the kids in its catchment area. In theory we all got the same education, in practice most subjects, certainly the core ones, were streamed from the very beginning meaning that all the children who were assessed as bright got put in the top sets. At 16 we sat our exams, a mix of compulsory and optional (chosen) subjects. I was a fairly early GCSE* cohort, my brother had done O Levels and CSEs*. The GCSE was a mix of coursework and exam - it has always been a political football with arguments about grade inflation and various ways of cheating the coursework components.

    After taking nine or perhaps anything up to 12 GCSEs, in my day, one went on to choose three subjects (sometimes four if you were at private school or EXCEPTIONALLY bright) to study at A Level. In my era, A Levels were equivalent to US first year uni courses (I know this because I did one!). The education system encouraged narrow depth from 16 onwards. A Levels were incredibly intense and, depending on what exam board's curriculum your school had chosen to follow, could be 100 per cent final exam or 100 per cent coursework, or some mixture of the two. Before you sat your exams, you applied to unis with your predicted grades and various supporting information through a central body called UCAS (Oxford and Cambridge have their own admissions process and you cannot apply to both in the same year, but you could apply to more than one College at your chosen University - clear as mud, right?). The unis then gave you either a conditional or an unconditional offer (or a rejection). I forget how many you were allowed to apply to - five, six? - you had to be pretty strategic and the unis would also judge you by who else you had applied to. I had no idea of the import of this decision, my parents naively believing that outside of Oxbridge all unis were the same.

    With your A Level results in your sticky mitt you checked to see if you'd got your grades to get in to the course you wanted. If you didn't get the grades to meet your provisional offer, you went into clearing.

    Things have changed loads since I went through the system. It's much more exam-based at 16 and the old three A Levels thing has been replaced by doing a larger number of AS Levels for a broader, shallower education. The government has also opened up school funding in politically motivated ways that I struggle to understand - there are independently run schools in the state system, grammars, grant-maintained, specialist and all sorts of other types of schools.

    Uni funding has changed hugely (I got a grant, with a top-up loan, and paid no fees) to make it much more like the American system. I read a fascinating and scathing article about how all the funding changes are socially regressive and stifling our tertiary education system.

    If that wasn't enough to be thinking about, there's the Australian system, which I barely grasp, but it - in the immortal words of Shania Twain - don't impress me much. 'The Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) is the certificate that the majority of students in Victoria receive on satisfactory completion of their secondary education. The VCE provides diverse pathways to further study or training at university or TAFE and to employment.'

    All of this is playing into the decisions husband and I are making on small boy's behalf. My vote, for what it's worth, will be a school offering the International Baccalaurate when the time comes. In terms of the UK, I will be advising no-longer-small boy to aim for Oxbridge or the Russell Group unis. He'll also have access to European unis, and at the moment the Netherlands still has free tertiary education and quite prestigious international schools. The US schools have excellent bursaries and scholarships - Ivy League, if he's good enough, will be worth it. That said, the UK depth over breadth approach resonates with me more than the US approach.

    * usually taken at 16 - GCSE = General Certificate of Secondary Education, O Level = Ordinary Level, CSE = Cert of Secondary Ed; usually taken at 18 - A Level = Advanced level, AS Level = Advanced Supplimentary Level, half an A Level.
    Last edited by badgergirl; 10-30-2013 at 01:54 AM.
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    Part 2. Or how and why I chose the school I did for small boy...

    Having decided the state sector, with its endless tests and hoop jumping (UK - Sats, Australia - Naplan), was essentially stifling and restrictive, husband and I started searching for an alternative. We wanted a small school that fostered individuality, creativity and learning for pleasure rather than for a test. That said, we do have aspirations for his educational attainment, but when he was two years old I wasn't thinking beyond primary school. I started to read up on Steiner and it was looking as though that was the way we were going. A friend's (older) children had thrived there after struggling in a state school. However, something niggled...it was all rather airy fairy and choose-your-own adventure. I met a few Steiner parents who were at the lentil-weaving, yoghurt-knitting outer edge of the bell curve. Then husband was doing admissions for the course he was running and he told me that the Steiner kids were full of ambition and vision, but had no concept of the work required to gain the necessary skills they needed to achieve that vision. I became rather concerned. And then a friend of husband's mentioned Candlebark. We went to an open day and paid the first term's fees - thus securing a place - by the end of that week.

    To my mind, the school offers the perfect balance of small classes, humane and respectful treatment of the students, flexibility, a hugely enriched curriculum and, importantly, a focus on academic achievement. It's not a hothouse, like many prep schools are at home, but neither is it a school where children are left to decide whether or not they want to learn (I'd read a lot about Summerhill and the work of AS Neill, but couldn't face that level of trust in the process).

    When we put his name down, I had assumed that he'd only stay for primary before switching to a state school or a more traditional private school. But now I think he'll probably stay there until the final year (currently this will be when he is just 16) and we will find him an IB-offering school for the last two years. I have secret hopes that Candlebark will extend to offering the IB by the time we get to that point. Although instead we may decide to go back to the UK, as the balance of what the two countries have to offer shifts from childhood to adolescence - the UK is far more connected and culturally vibrant.

    Ultimately, small boy will have the biggest say in his post-16 education. As parents, all we can hope to do is open his eyes to both the possibilities of his options and the implications of his choices. I view it as a vital responsibility to stay up to date with what is happening in education, globally, as he will be much more of a global citizen and operating in a global economy than his parents were. In our own different ways, husband and I both suffered from our parents' ignorance at this key decision-making juncture of our lives. Husband was shoehorned into a course that he did not enjoy with the hope that it would lead to stable employment - he left after two years and has spent the rest of his life trying to retrace his steps to art school and catch up with where he should have been. I, on the other hand, suffered from a total lack of guidance and also had gone off the rails at 17, getting very poor grades as an indirect result. I had no idea that it wasn't the degree, per se, but the university and who you met there that mattered. I could have gone to UEA as a biochem student and transferred to English at the end of the first term, if only I'd known.

    Thinking about university entrance when my child is five? Yes, I am. Correcting my child's AQI and misuse of the word 'like'? Yes, I am. To misquote Orwell, he has more to lose than his aitches. It's looking dicey so I'm doing all I can to ensure he has a better start than I did. Social mobility seems to be heading in the wrong direction and I want him to be able to buck the trend. Reading the runes to the best of my ability, it seems as though the only things that cannot be outsourced to somewhere cheaper or replaced by technology are human creativity and ingenuity. If small boy has sparks of creative ability; if he's a maker, a thinker, an inventor or an innovator and he has access to strong networks (together with the social skills and emotional intelligence to take advantage of them) he might be able to do well no matter what the future holds. I'm trying, in my own limited ways, to future-proof him.
    Last edited by badgergirl; 10-30-2013 at 02:53 AM.
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    Sorry, sorry, sorry for the thread hog, but I just remembered I was going to point you in the direction of They F*** You Up by Oliver James (extract here). Husband and I both read it before small boy appeared as a self-help intervention. Anyway, he has some extremely interesting things to say about the psychological effects of the English public school system on the ruling elite.

    And as for the French putting it about that the Brits liked a side of pain with their pleasure, see the last para of this explanation they called caning the 'English vice'.

    As far as I know, within England, the anxiety has always been that single-sex schools are hotbeds (so to speak) of homosexuality. The school-girl pash on the games mistress and the prefect - this is going to sound even worse to your ears - abusing his fag.

    Okay, I'll shut up now. Sorry for the take over!
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