48 out of 60

It will come as no surprise you you to know that at School I was very neat and tidy. I took great pride in my handwriting being neat, my uniform being neat, hair neat and my pencils and margins just so. I was never really all that bright (well I don’t think at least) I got by and loved things like creative writing, and colouring in and keeping personal journals up to date with items of special interest stuck in with stickers and coloured frames around them. Kind of like what I do now with blogging.


I have a collection of my stuff from school that my Mum kept (reminds me I still have those garbage bags thrown in the cupboard from the end of the girls year last year ready to be sorted or burnt whatever comes first) that show my drawings from year 1, creative writing from years 3 and a few of my really good year 6 projects. I made a killer Magazine (Our World Today) and a Gold Project that was particularly neat and tidy and completely copied/plagiarised from the Project pack I obviously purchased at the Newsagent. I even used glitter! You can imagine my delight last term when Daisy came home to tell me that she was doing work on Gold and quicker than you can say Holtermann’s Nugget I had that Gold Project from 1989 found and presented to her awaiting praise for superior headings, neat calligraphy pens and word for word text copying.


I mean LOOK AT THE CALLIGRAPHY PEN DAISY. And the liquid paper! She was all like meh and was more interested in the fact that once in my long distant past I used glitter. But I lovingly looked at all of the pages again, got quite concerned that one of the gold diggers I drew looked a little like Rob and then got to the back page where I saw my mark.


48/60. A very good Project. Indeed it was. Rob was all like “48/60?!” Surely it deserved more than that? And he was quite perturbed with it. I think he was quite smart as a kid, getting lots of academic and sporting achievements but this was me, most of my schooling career. A solid 48 out of 60.

I decided at the start of year 12 that I would start to pay attention to school and actually pull my finger out and as a result I managed to do well in my HSC. Mostly riding the coattails of smart people in my 3 unit English class that actually understood what Utopia was about, and even though I copied my friends UAC form and ended up doing a University degree I had NO idea about (but ended up loving and succeeding in) I was 48 out of 60 and that was OK by me.

Now I have my own kids I have seen just how important some parents take this school business. I myself have been caught up when other people thought that a teacher wasn’t performing, or giving a care about Naplan and the like, but really as I was councilled by my very smart friend Neighbour, the things that are important to me about Primary Education for my kids are mostly forming friendships, having fun, learning stuff, and really just enjoying school for school. A place to be secure and safe and where you have fun and learn some stuff along the way. I wonder though have we all got a little too worked up about our kids education? Putting way too much thought into Naplan scores, or what level reader our Kinders are on. We’ve got a little Rob and Beth in both our kids, and at the end of the day, they want to go to school, and they are where they should be. They are happy and confident.

What do you reckon about our kids today? Do we expect too much?
Were you a 48/60 and thrilled about it too like me?
Can you still buy liquid paper I wonder?


  1. I think parents overthink and worry way too much about primary school and I think this has an impact on kids anxiety levels. I try to take a interested yet laid back / non-helicopter approach to my kids schooling and I think that the most important skills kids learn early on is the social element and resilience too. We had some pretty rubbish teachers when I was at school and I have had some pretty crap bosses – so at least I was prepared and able to get on with things. I was definitely a 48/60 achiever, not super smart, but I work hard and achieve well at whatever I put my mind to – that is important! Liquid tape now – much less messy ;-).

  2. I think there’s WAY too much pressure on young children to perform academically and not enough emphasis on teaching them skills such as resilience, self confidence and how to deal with conflict! I used to LOVE doing projects, The Lettering Book was my go-to guide for fun fonts #geek

  3. If we got 6 coloured stars with the teacher comment on a project that was the bees knees!! I bought liquid paper the other day in Big W just cos I could not because I needed it!!! I loved all of this post. I loved school, never was an A+, but loved it and I hope my kids love it as much as me. I’m still looking fwd to going back to teaching after all the kids.

  4. Yes you can still buy liquid paper. And keep it to long and it still goes gluggy…. I hated school but hung into year 12 and just and i mean just passed… I am constantly telling my daughter I loved school….. pfffft. a little white lie. and YES way way way too much pressure. Year 8 sent my daughter into anxiety panics, at 12 for god sakes… They will a transition every year school starts. its common sense. You can’t allow 9 weeks of Christmas holidays then BAM!! homework every core subject in the first week. I did too love all things super neat and glittery. 10/10 for that….

  5. I have a very high achiever in everything- English, maths, science, ballet- everything has to be perfect and she will not accept anything less than 99%. Then she wants to know what happened to the other 1%.
    My other child struggles with everything, is dyslexic and tries so hard. He just wants to play rugby and be a Brewer like his dad and uncle.
    Maybe if I had a third they’d be totally middle of the road- like I was. I did love a good project though- my Royal Family one was exceptional, complete with gold calligraphy copied from The Lettering Book. My Captian Cook one was also a standout, I really mastered the art of shading with the pencil shavings with that one.

  6. You can still but it. Yep. I can remember how it used to come in yellow, blue and pink so you could colour match before CORRECTING THE CARBON COPY. OMG! I am almost 48 years old, but writing that sentence was very Dowager Countess wincing at new-fangled electric light.

    I don’t have kids in school, thank the lord, but it does seem to get a bit “my kids are a reflection of ME” and that’s where the angst stems from. At least, I reckon it’s sometimes the case.

    48 out of 60 is pretty darn good Beth.


  7. I am in a very different position in that my son who is five is loving school, but due to being autistic the way things are taught through to the design of the classroom are not done so with kids like him in mind. The school is doing their best but it is inclusion on the fly, the planning and modification needing to be done to truly include kids like my son is still not In the forefront of those in the education system. So for me I have to helicopter parent, I have to monitor closely what activities he is begins given if they consider his abilities and disabilities. Combine this with not enough aide hours and a kid that tends to wander and it is has been an interesting, challenging and exhaustive introduction to schooling for our family.

    • Exhausting Jess, I take my hat off to you and all parents with kids who are struggling in the system. I hope you get the support that you both need. And you know what? You are doing a REALLY good job. I hope someone tells you that more often x

  8. Have you been watching The Secret Life of a Four/Five/Six Year Old? It is on Lifetime. And it is fascinating.
    I too just want my kids to be happy and well adjusted and generally like school. I think fostering a love of learning and a curiosity regarding knowledge is far more important than a NAPLAN score.
    Anyway, the documentary is so interesting because it shows what we SHOULD be doing in schools…setting our children up to win at life, not to just win in terms of test scores…to overcome normal development and personal challenges with confidence.

  9. I remember the gold project when our daughter was in year 5 at Kings Langley. Then we made the tree change to Cooma and got to do it all over again in year 6 in Cooma. At least we were a bit closer to the action for the second one.
    I don’t agree with Naplan. Naplan outcomes are only as good as the teachers are in a school. My Husband’s family are all teachers (he is the odd one out as an engineer) and they will agree with me.
    Children will learn when they want to. As the parent of adult children, no amount of nagging will get them through. My Stepmother, wise person and mother to 4 boys, now between the ages of 24 and 30, told me not to sweat the stuff you can’t control or change.
    Our daughter will be 22 this year. She has studied on and off at uni however decided that having money was more important….until she turned 21 and realised that all she had to look forward to was award increases. She is now studying full time and working part time to make ends meet.
    As parents, we did what we thought was best, sent them out into the world and thankfully it is now paying off….not counting my chickens. x

    • Sounds like you did a great job Jeanette!

    • Leanne H says

      I’m the weirdo who loves Naplan, my eldest has Asperger’s and because he was never a disruptive student they just put his ‘not being on task, never completing his work’ down to not being that bright. Until they got his Naplan results, which showed that he is actually very clever. Love Naplan.

  10. At the start of the year I had to write a list to the teacher about my hopes and expectations for my kid and I said I wanted him to make friends, be kind to others and learn to read and write. I don’t care if he is academic or not, I just want him to try hard and do his best.

    I don’t know if we expect too much. Maybe. There are lots of scary pressures these days that didn’t seem to exist back in the 70s and 80s.

    I was always a solid A+ student and I freaking loved learning, but where’s it got me? This stressful and at times boring legal career.

    I still love learning though.

    Yes you can still buy liquid paper.

    • Gibbergunyah says

      FF, I feel the same about my 5 year old boy; I want him to make friends and do his best.

      I also was a solid A student, perhaps because I was ridiculously conscientious? I was aware that there were people who were really talented, but I’m not convinced I was one of them. I too wonder where it has got me; a stressful career as a health professional and cog in the system.

      I am currently running a group for anxious children and I definitely feel there are too many pressures on primary school aged children.

      I even used liquid paper on some paperwork last week so I didn’t have to fill the patient’s form (yes, paper form) out again!

      I still love learning and will read anything. I’ve just got an illustrated copy of Portrait of a Marriage I hope to start tonight!

    • I’m with you. Make some friends, try hard and enjoy yourself x

  11. Omg the lettering book, an amazing project on wheat that my farming dad treasured and one that I burnt the edges of which I think was gold .A friends 5 year old was very upset with her decorated Easter hat when some others had amazing parent decorated ones .The teacher gave an ice block to the most original .Hers won .

  12. Can you please share picture of Rob the Golddigger?? Calligraphy was a highly regarded skill. As was the use of glitter and book covering (nice gold contact by the way). All that time, effort and love that went into those projects… I guess it just shows up differently nowadays.

  13. Jodie Carter says

    Hi Beth,
    I know politics and all that are frowned on in blogging circles but you mentioned Holtermann’s nugget which was pulled from the ground in Hill End NSW. Our federal govt is currently trying to source a nuclear waste dump for the nation and our beautiful town of Hill End (called Sally’s Flat on their map) is up for grabs. We are fighting hard to stop it. We get 100,000 tourists mainly school children just like yours who travel to Hill End to learn about its history. I’m sixth generation to the area. I apologise for taking up time and space on your page but we’re desperate can you imagine one day waking up in your patch of paradise and then the Govt saying sorry your neighbour has elected to sell their land for a nuclear waste dump with the capacity to last 100’s to 1000’s of years? Me neither but it’s happened here with no community consultation. It’s now a waiting game to see which one of 6 communities will be shortlisted to the next round and we hope it’s not our beautiful patch of history in NSW. The waste is low and intermediate level waste from Lucas Heights. The intermediate waste bring the toss from the nuclear reactor. The nuclear reactor makes radioisotopes for nuclear medicine. While this is vitally important (I’m a thyroid cancer survivor) it’s not an appropriate location. The Govt. should have asked the community of they wanted it here instead a landowner held us to ransom and he gets 4 X the venue of his property. Hardly fair to the rest of us is it? If you have the time please follow us @ no central west nuclear waste dump on FB.

  14. In primary school I had long socks, pigtails with ribbons & was a major teachers pet. I was always the one chosen to sit at the front & keep reading what the teacher had been if she had to leave the room, I went to the kindy rooms once a week to read to them. I worked so hard to make my projects neat & loved fancy titles & drawings. I was one of those seriously annoying kids that was always being chosen by teachers. On the down side in year 6 if one of the boys was naughty in class their punishment was having to sit next to me for the rest of the day ! The enthusiasm didn’t last & by year 12 I had pretty much given up.

  15. I remember my school days well – and like you Beth, I excelled in ‘prettiness’. That, and socialising! I did my best in high School – passed my VCE, and then went on to attempt two degrees, not getting either of them! I was definitely a 48/60 student – just. 2.5 years ago, at the age of 39.5, and decided to go back and study nursing. Who knew – I have turned into a High Distinction student – anything less, and I am devastated. The pressure I put on myself, whilst mummying four kids and all the stuff that goes with that, it’s a wonder I am still upright!

    All of my girls are in school – one in high school. I spend my time guiding and making sure they are happy. Man – the maths homework does my head in! NAPLAN has been a huge stress for two of mine – one of the girls didn’t sit it in Yr three, and I will be recommmending that she doesn’t sit it this year for Yr 5.

    Yes – I was a teachers pet too….. (still am, I suspect!)…

    Yep – liquid paper is still a thing – although now there are erasable pens!

Speak Your Mind