Tony went through Basti's English with him last night, in our little home office, while I sat on the back of my folks' little bakkie in the garage with Zooty, going through his.
We'll swop kids some evenings, during the next few days, but, generally, we just can't wait for the exams to be over.
Basti (grade 7) is doing really well at school (85% aggregate last term) and we're hoping he'll stay "right up there" - but the first term was based on tests, while this term it's EXAMS. Scary word, and especially when it's English today, and Basti's spelling is not so hot. His memory is great though, so hopefully all those English rules will be remembered!
Even though exams are generally stressful for all, it's also fun going through the boy's work with them. We let them learn for 30 to 40 minutes at a time, for however many days we can fit in before an exam, but only "ask them questions" the night before the exam is to be written, give them tips etc. If we do it early enough in the evening and notice any wobblies, we send them off for another learning session, and we fit in one more "asking" session.
Zooty (grade 6) is not doing badly at school (72% aggregate last term), but we're hoping to see some improvement, because we know he can improve; that he is capable of improvement. His (all grade 6's in Eastern Cape - not sure if in the whole of South Africa) exams this term are being set by the Department of Education, so we'll just have to wait and see how he does, and cannot really predict how he might do, as we might have been previously able to do, based on exams NOT set by the Department of Education.
Sitting on the back of the bakkie, last night, asking Zooty his English, was fun, but not all that comfortable - might change our asking session place today (Natural Science for Zooty tomorrow, and Afrikaans for Basti).
English was my favourite subject at school, especially writing essays, but I didn't do badly at grammar either - last night I was reminded of what the four different kinds of nouns are: proper nouns, common nouns, collective nouns and abstract nouns - Zooty remembered only two, so that was dealt with, a bit.
He was good at remembering "i before e except after c" though and that it (this rule) does not apply when part of the word sounds like "ay" as in neighbour. Interesting stuff!
I was also proud that he knew that the plural for radius is radii.
Well, I certainly hope they can do something with this English they're learning, once they've left school, and that it won't be merely sitting on the back of a bakkie in their garage, one day, going through English books with their own children, fondly rembering their own days at school - and hopefully also remembering that their mother used to sit on the back of a bakkie with them too, when it was school exams the next day.
© copyright Teresa Schultz 2010