Saturday, January 30, 2010

Some advice please

Master Cb started his new school yesterday and so far he seems calm and happy with his choice. It's a smaller, more intimate school than his previous one, and he came home excited to report that during his year meeting NOT ONE STUDENT spoke while the teacher was talking. The fact that this is important to my son makes me so happy I could bust a gut, really. Oh, and that reminds me, I meant to tell you about something else I have discovered about mothering a teenaged boy:

When you are walking along the street on your way from the dentist's office to the parked car, and he suddenly places an arm around your shoulder and turns his face to you and gently kisses your cheek and whispers "Love you Mum," well.......that's one of the happiest moments you will ever experience. It's pure joy.

Another interesting detail. This new school is a laptop school, meaning that the kids use laptops for taking notes in every single class except for maths. The school allocates you a laptop which already has your email account set up on it, and the email addresses of all of your teachers and fellow students. Master Cb told us about his first English class in which the teacher assigned them a quick writing exercise. He said it was the strangest experience to suddenly hear the taptaptapping of the class as each student started to type.

Although we knew it was a laptop school, Master Cb and I were still bemused at how little stationery was listed on his booklist. We laughed hysterically yesterday afternoon as he said to me, "Hey Mum, you know how I didn't need to buy any folders? Well...ummm...'s because my FOLDERS are on my COMPUTER." He has VIRTUAL stationery. That just cracks me up.

Oh, yes, almost forgot.

Master Cb's English class (14-15 year olds) has been asked to bring in a book they are reading. The teacher told them that she will be able to learn about them by seeing what they are reading. Master Cb has spent most of the past year NOT reading for pleasure (sigh, sob) and now he has turned to me accusingly and demanded that I recommend "a good book" for him to read.

Help! Anyone??



Frogdancer said...

A word of caution:
Laptop schools are notorious for kids spending a lot of time playing games in class, minimising the screens when the teachers walk near. Have a word with him about the undesirability of this.

We have a new teacher at school this year who said, "I can't wait to start teaching in a regular class room again." The laptop classes at his old school drove him nuts.

Julia said...

To Kill a Mockingbird and East of Eden - favorites way back then and now.

The new school sounds fabulous!

Duyvken said...

A book about ice hockey (history, stats, non-fiction stuff)
Swerve by Phillip Gwynne
Anything by Robert Cormier (The Chocolate War) is my favourite of his books but they are all good.
My Name is Asher Lev by CHaim Potok.
He might have already read the Alex Rider series in primary school but if he hasn't I can recommend them. Greg and I have read them all :-)
Go to your local bookstore, are there any children's book stores near you? And ask the staff. They'll have some good ideas.
I suggested a non-fic first because my mum (a teen literacy specialist) always says that it doesn't matter what kind of text they are reading as long as they are engaged in the process. The more they read, the more they will be drawn to read and the easier it will become to draw meaning from any text.
Have fun book hunting!
And I am so thrilled that his first day went well. I am sure he will thrive in his new space.

librarygirl said...

If he's not a reader always go for a short book! - Animal Farm, George Orwell. Short classic, always recommending it to desperate mothers of teen boys. Also Of mice and men - Steinbeck.

blackbird said...

All my 15 year-olds have read Catcher In The Rye at school. Youngest just finished it. ( see also: Lord Of The Flies, To Kill A Mockingbird, Of Mice And Men, 1984.)

Mary said...

Er - the Cherub series - Will swears by them - he's a pretty advanced reader..

Mary said...

review from amazon

Robert Muchamore's first novel: The Recruit, was first published in 2004. 4 years later and over 1 million UK books have been sold, the books are published in over 17 countries and there are plans for a spin off series named Henderson's Boys.

But why has the CHERUB series been so successful?

Well firstly everything in them could be real. Nothing is made to be unrealistic like you might find in the Alex Rider series.

Secondly the books portray a modern teenagers lifestyle. Muchamore relates to what teenagers really get up to, and doesn't hold back.

Finally the characters are all friends, they may fight, kiss, chat or go out to town and Muchamore follows them through every step.

The Sleepwalker is the ninth book in the series and is one of the best.

An action packed, romantic spy adventure it will thrill every teenager across the country.

Buy this for your brother, sister, friend, son, daughter, niece, nephew, grandson, granddaughter anyone who you know who is under 18, over 10 will enjoy this amazing novel from a fantastic author.

Duyvken said...

Thanks for the tip Mary. I haven't read the Muchamore books even though I often see them in the library. I love YA fiction - I'm such a dag!

kim at allconsuming said...

No idea but this post made me ever so happy.

trasha said...

ooooo! Am loving all of these recommendations. Am noting down the Muchamore/Cherub series for Princess Curly-Wurly.

Would thoroughly back up the classics (TKaM, LoF, AF)as prev. listed and also proffer the Artemis Fowl books by Eoin Colfer to get him back into reading. Oo! Oo! Also The Dirk Gently series by Douglas Adams.

Suse said...

Ooh thanks Mary.

My nearly 16 year old read and enjoyed 'Looking for Alibrandi' over the summer. Bonus, it's set in Sydney I think.

He read Catcher in the Rye and was thoroughly bored with it, as I was.

My 14 year old reads Garth Nix and Matthew Reilly books (but I wouldn't actually recommend them), and the nearly 11 year old has just finished reading and loving the Alex Rider series, and is now onto Lord of the Rings.

So glad your boyo went well at the new school. So the NSW kids are already back then? Ours don't start until Monday.

So lovely to see you pop up in my bloglines again dear Eleanor! I was thinking about you today.

eurolush said...

Glad to hear the new school is working out for young Master Cb.

So many good books to choose from! You've got a bunch of great ideas here already, so I'll spare you any additional ones.

PS-If it makes you feel any better, my nearly 15 year old reads non-stop, all the time--to the detriment of his school in, no homework getting done. I have to threaten to take all of his books away sometimes.

And that is why I am A GREAT PARENT.

Badger said...

Well, my boy is only 13-ish (though he is an "advanced" reader) and he has VERY specific tastes but he has loved the City of Ember books by Jeanne DuPrau, the Hunger Games books by Suzanne Collins (also her Gregor the Overlander series, but that is more pre-teen oriented), and Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson and the Olympians books. (I just asked him for more recommendations, but he's very involved on whatever he's doing on the computer and only grunted at me in reply. TYPICAL.)

alice c said...

MasterM spent his teenage years reading guide books of foreign lands but he did practically swallow "Down and Out in Paris and London" and "The Day of the Jackal".

margalit said...

My son at 15 read a lot of biographies (Jimi Hendrix, the Ramones, etc) and all of Kurt Vonnegut's works. Most of the books recommended here are 'school' books, what kids are required to read at school here in the USA. I'd let him pick out what he likes, even if it's Steven King. Getting him enthusiastic about reading is the real goal, so let him stretch and see what interests him. It might be Dickens, it might be Patricia Cornwall. Who knows?

The Coffee Lady said...

Tell him to find his own damn book. This is - give or take a few years - a parallel conversation to the one that Eldest and I had just a few short hours ago about whether or not her teacher was interested in Eldest's knowledge of times tables or mine.

BabelBabe said...

take him to the library and set him loose. I HATED Catcher in the Rye, then and now, but know lots of people who swear it changed their lives. I think the Douglas Adams suggestion is brilliant. If he's into sci fi at all,, Terry Practhett might be entertaining.

BabelBabe said...

that's Pratchett. sorry.