Six more years before graduation from high school with a French Baccalaureate. In France, they perform a grand final countdown of classes before you reach Terminale! What a name for such an academic experience: it is as bad at it sounds.
My son is in Cinquieme. I was there in 1982 and I remember the feeling with avid details and emotions. It may be one of the easiest year in the tough French curriculum, but it is also a "messy, overwhelming" year. I remember my mind was elsewhere and my course work was spread out, messy, all over the place. How I managed to retain any skills and/or information that year, I don't know.
I believe turning twelve/thirteen is the most charming time of our lives. We are at the threshold of teenager years, still holding on to the innocence of our childhood, but attempting our first independent steps in the huge world. Perhaps this is why the class has been designed to give the students a breather, a time to recollect and especially to learn organizational skills. They are given responsibilities, deadlines, they are asked to take proper notes, to organise their days and their homework. My son, like myself in the day, finds himself with a mess of papers, a mix of deadlines, open ended questions and a search for shortcuts.
Its all part of growing up, maturing to focus on one task at a time, to gather information, to recognize what is important and what is most important, to hold on to precious information without loosing it, to deduct, to analyse, to summarize, to organise.
Eventually he will find his own system, he will make his own decisions, he will take bold steps and make extra effort. Till then, his desk, his school bag and even his head will be messy, disorganized and disparate.....I am surprised I was able to pass Cinquieme, challenged as I was to organise my academic life at a time when imagination drew me away from it all.....