Sunday, September 22, 2019

New School Year

I should start with the day Terry went to register the children in school (one week before school started, and the day after we had a signed lease). Being supporters of public school when our children can actually learn, i.e., they speak the local language, we had decided not to send them to private school in Calgary.

I get a text from Terry around 20 minutes after the appointment time. Canada uses a March cutoff date and that puts Alex in 7th grade, not 6th. Zoltan will be in 5th grade. My first instinct is "hell no, we're going to fight this." My second instinct is "with a March cutoff, they are not the youngest - they are in fact in the very middle of the pack. And they have pretty much always been bored. Let's see how this goes."

The one concerning feature is that with the moving up, rather than both children attending the same elementary school that is a 5 minute walk from our house, now Alex goes to a junior high that is about 1.5 miles away and there is no yellow bus service - she has to take a regular city bus. She has my (lack of) sense of direction. Did I mention this is one week before classes start?

So we move cell phones around so each kid now has one. We had an emergency talk/text plan for each phone and at the last minute we decided Alex would need data to be able to track the bus routes or get walking directions. I am so grateful we made that decision and horrified about what we would have done had we not done that (more on that later).

The elementary school actually combines grades, so 5th and 6th are in class together although they apparently separate for math and some special classes. Zoltan is settling in, managing very well with being the last one out of the house in the morning and the first one back in the afternoon.

Because Alex registered for school so late, she was not able to get her top choice special classes but she did get art and band. She's also settling in. things are very different - seventh graders can leave the school grounds at lunch if they want, they switch classrooms for every class, and as mentioned before she takes the city bus to and from school. On her first day of school I rode the bus with her to school, she rode home alone and there were no issues. On the second day she missed her stop, rode apparently several stops too far and had to find her way back to school. Has she not had data on her phone she would not have been able to get walking directions to school and would probably still be wandering lost around Calgary. So, yay for smartphones.

Note, she is now a pro at finding her way on the bus system and for figuring out how to fix it if she does make a mistake (wrong bus, miss a stop, etc). We couldn't be prouder.