Sunday, June 24, 2018

Lazy Sunday in France, no more school

French Village Diaries #LazySundayinFrance no more school
Ed off to his exams

Welcome to another Lazy Sunday in France and today I’m taking you on a sentimental journey, looking back at some special moments in the last fourteen years.

It’s been an emotional week. Ed has battled through five written exams, totalling sixteen hours of concentration under exam conditions, and has now officially (if a little unbelievably) finished school in France.

French Village Diaries #LazySundayinFrance no more school
Ed's first day at Maternelle 2004

Maybe my memory is playing tricks on me, but it seems like only yesterday we took our almost four-year-old into Maternelle (nursery school) for the very first time in September 2004. School was still a full day, even at that age, but breakfast was served in the classroom when they arrived, we had to supply a serviette for lunchtimes and their three-course meal was eaten on tables of four, where each child took turns at clearing away afterwards.

French Village Diaries #LazySundayinFrance no more school
Burning Bonhomme d'hiver

They had day trips out and once a year an end of winter carnival, with fancy dress, confetti, and a walk through the local town that culminated in the burning of the Bonhomme d’hiver, the effigy of winter. Ed learned French through play, although true to his cautious nature, it took him four school terms before he was happy to begin using his new language to communicate at school.

French Village Diaries #LazySundayinFrance no more school
Ed off to Primaire in 2006

In 2006 he made the move to the bigger Primaire (primary) school situated next door. To us, the older kids in the playground looked huge. The school trips became three-day, two-night adventures, and I was lucky enough to join in as a mummy helper three times, to Archachon, the Loire valley and Brittany.

French Village Diaries #LazySundayinFrance no more school
First day at Collège in 2011

Having been particularly traumatised (me not him) by his move up to Primaire, the prospect of him going to Collège (secondary school) was made a little easier by getting myself involved in their extra English conversation programme, a whole two years before Ed was due to join them. He left there three years ago, but I’m still there! In Collège the school trips continued, including a week skiing in the Pyrenees and a week hiking and canoeing locally, but sadly no longer with me. It was at Collège where he discovered a social life, albeit at the exact moment he took his brevet exams, but he passed.

French Village Diaries #LazySundayinFrance no more school
Lycée bedroom 2015

In 2015 he set off for lycée in a town 25km away, boarding from Monday to Friday and the first stage of independence and mummy-letting-go had begun. School trips at lycée have taken him to Germany, London and Rome, all in the lead up to the BIG BAC exams this week. 

Earlier this year we visited La Rochelle and Poitiers universities and of the four choices he made for degrees at Poitiers university, he got accepted for them all. Another new adventure to begin this September.

Ed, you have made us laugh, you’ve made us worried and I’m sure we will continue to laugh and worry for many years. We are so proud of you, of what you have achieved and the person you have become. You have always been an individual and I hope you always will be. You’ve done all you can now and whatever the results remember this, you’ll certainly have done better than either of us could have managed sitting 16 hours of written exams in French. Well done, now enjoy your summer holiday.

French Village Diaries #LazySundayinFrance no more school
Cycling the Prudential Ride-London 46 for Mind


One of the things he has lined up this summer is the Prudential Ride-London 46, a 46 mile (75km) bike ride around London where he hopes to raise £200 for Mind, the mental health charity. Now the exams are done, the training can begin, and he’s sharing the reasons why he is supporting Mind on his Just Giving Page (here) Good luck Ed, we know you can do it! If you can help him towards his target we would all be most grateful.