You may have noticed that it has gone quiet round here. Maybe not. Aaanywaaay, I have not been near the computer at home in over a week and hence blogging has not been possible. I am in dispute with the tax people and I am debating with them by email. I sent off my last salvo a week ago and was too scared to check whether it had worked or not. I checked. It has not. Well, it is unclear whether it has worked or not. The person dealing with our case thinks someone else may have replied to me. I am to forward her various information which I have previously sent her and she will double check. I have done so but I can’t help feeling that if someone else had replied, we would have GOT THE REPLY. On the plus side, she has said that she will put a stop on the bill until matters are resolved so I now feel able to get back online as my gmail is no longer threatening me.
By absolute standards, the sum in question is relatively small and I imagine that the official dealing with us is very bitter at how much of her time it is taking to resolve a matter which will bring in a tiny pittance. However, small and all as the amount may be to the tax people, it is big to us. My sister suggested that we could cancel our summer holidays and this would cover a third of the amount. This is unappealing. Let us hope instead that all will be well. I might start trying to save as well, just to be on the safe side.
I wonder if the industrial action in the Revenue is making things worse or better?
On another note, I am curious as to how much homework your little fellows get. My mother (retired NT) and my aunt (ditto) are outraged that my junior infants niece gets so much that it takes about an hour – mostly learning to read stuff. Meanwhile a good friend’s child in Galway gets practically nothing. Both in Gaelscoileanna. My cousin, another teacher, thinks it’s all a bit much but says it’s kind of the standard now.
Well, E, better, I hope, in that it will take longer and my savings can build up…
I was slightly outraged by the junior infants’ homework myself. They get it two evenings a week – Tuesdays and Thursdays. It’s usually writing a couple of letters and colouring. Daniel is extremely industrious and very good at it and I think he enjoys it. He polishes it off in no time. Michael is less keen – particularly on the colouring which he attempts in a very perfunctory manner before announing that he is giving up as he is tired. I’m not sure how necessary it is at this age. I do happen to know that the OECD, no less, has given out to Ireland for having too much “work” and not enough “play” in the infant curriculum. See this rather blighting quote:
From the experience of the review team, DES-funded ECEC provision was characterised by an overt focus on literacy and numeracy related activities, possibly a consequence of teachers feeling pressured because of parental expectations and the short length of contact time. In discussions with practitioners and researchers, the team noted that the evaluation criteria chosen tend to be narrowly focussed on cognitive outcomes, and from early on, the introduction of written symbols is noticeable. The arrangement of classrooms into areas or corners which children can freely choose was not evident. In few schools did we find a role-play area, a nature or biology area, sand and water, an art area (broader than painting), a construction area or recycled material… ‘Play’ was often used as a means of delivering a curriculum goal or a pre-academic skill, and the place of ‘free play’ in the schedule of the day seemed rather limited. In general, the pedagogy was not focussed on the observed interests of children but sought to interest them in the concerns of the teacher. ‘Open framework’ programmes, which, internationally meet with wide acceptance,
were not in evidence.
Looks like your mother and aunt were right. If you’re interested the full report is here: http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/51/18/34425332.pdf
Welcome back! Ms W, not for the first time I am proud to be your sister-in-law. Not many parents, asked about the amount of homework their child receives, can quote you an OECD report. Strangely it seems to be the opposite here in the UK where my friend G (training for primary teaching) says you hardly ever see a book in the classroom. Good luck with the tax man …
Well, I did notice your absence when I checked here last night, enough to hope all was well, even. I see that there was an unhappy reason for your absence, so I am sorry. . .those things are so stressful. Good luck!
Kind sister-in-law…will revert in relation to your email query.
Kara, thank you very much, fingers crossed and all that…