Showing posts with label School. Show all posts
Showing posts with label School. Show all posts

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Finishing with Panache

Open apology to my mother's mah jjong and canasta groups - Sorry, my mother is going to be insufferable for the next week. I'm sure you have all had your turn as well.

Today was "Speech Day" at Haileybury, where award were given and speeches made. Alex, it turns out, won the academic excellence award for her class - she was the top student (pupil, as the British say). She accepted her award and medal in front of the assembled students (pupils) and parents.  For various logistical reasons, she was actually the very first child to receive her award.

Well done, Alex!

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Yay for Alex!

At the kids' school, they can earn "yellow signatures" for doing good work or extra credit work; 10 signatures earns a Yellow Card. "Blue signatures," same general regime, are given for showing the positive character traits stressed at the school. Alex came home Friday with a certificate to go bowling Monday afternoon (leaving school a tiny bit early) and she doesn't have to wear her uniform that day, for having earned 6 or more yellow and/or blue cards.

Good work baby!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

American History in a Box

American kids growing up abroad miss out on US history. Stories abound of children experiencing their very first year in a U.S. public school in their third, sixth or tenth grade, devastated because they don't know the Pledge of Allegiance or which states were the original 13 colonies. U.S. History in a Box fills that gap.

We ordered the K-1 set for Zoltan and the 2nd/3rd grader set for Alex. It has been a blast! It comes with a workbook of suggested activities and questions/quizzes, books to read, and puzzles and games.  We've been reading several of the books (on citizenship, the civil rights movement, the presidents, and native Americans) and playing with the puzzles and games. The kids even made up an awesome game using the U.S. map floor puzzle (each state is a separate piece, except for some of the smaller, New England states. We're OK with that):  the 6 year old steals 3-5 states, and the 8 year old has to guess which ones they were.  Given that she couldn't pronounce half the states' names when we first put the puzzle together, this is a great way to reinforce our nation's geography.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

He's turning British

Within 24 hours of beginning school at his British school, this was the conversation I had with my son:

Me: Zoltan, did you leave your sweatshirt at school?
Zoltan: My what?
Me: Your sweatshirt.
Zoltan: Yes mommy, I left my jumper in my locker.

Of all the Britishisms I love, and there are many, jumper is the solitary one I can't stand. It gives me scary flashbacks of that unfortunate skirt/overalls combo wardrobe item too many poor little girls had to wear in the 1970s.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Day of Knowledge

September 1, the Day of Knowledge, is a traditional first day of school in at least two countries where I have lived (Russia and Kazakhstan).  Today the kids met their teachers, listened to a lot of speeches, and then went home by lunchtime. Tomorrow will be the first real day of school.

We're happy that Alex's class is pretty much still together, and one of the very few new kids is another American!

Zoltan snagged a class with several friends, so although he was nervous and grumpy, we think he will settle into class faster than if he'd been with a full slate of strangers. Of course, one thing that makes it easier is that we don't bring him in - he rides the bus - so he can't cling too much.

Alex, in Key Stage 2, now has to wear the blazer and house tie. Appropriately, we just watched Harry Potter 2 over the weekend so she liked pointing out the similarities in attire. Edmonstone is most like Ravenclaw because it has blue. (And Ravenclaw is the house for the cleverest pupils ... and, you know ...) Sadly, Haileybury has no cloaks. I'd dig cloaks. I wouldn't even complain about the ridiculous prices if it were for cloaks.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Soon to be a working mama

When Terry joined the foreign service, I quit my job as an attorney in Philadelphia so that I could accompany him all over the world. I conveniently became pregnant two weeks after my last day at work and being a mom has been the bulk of my "employment" since then. Even when I was CLO, I was never away from home/the children more than 8 hours a day, 4 days a week - including commute.

What this all means is that the whole family is about to get thrown into a huge turmoil. Chores that have been mine for the last 7 years now need to be shared. My children won't even see me in the morning when they wake. I have a feeling I'll spend a lot less time on Facebook.

I am both excited to once again be a professional, and terrified about how the family will adjust to the new life.

On the whole, though, I am mostly excited - especially as each piece of the puzzle fits into place. Zoltan was easy - he can go full time to his preschool, and he's finally becoming comfortable there.  Both days this week he played with everyone; he told me yesterday he likes speaking Russian.

For Alex there's been a lot more anxiety as those darned snow days last week made it impossible to call facilities to see if anyone had any space in March. As it turns out, the after school care center that I walked to in 10 minutes actually takes the kids outside EVERY DAY. In rain. In temps as low as 15F (yeah still plenty warm but lower than the school's outdoor recess policy so I'll take it gleefully). They tell parents to bring boots, umbrellas, whatever. They do kitchen projects like make vegan cookies or homemade play doh. Did I mention they go outside every day and are a 10 minute walk from home? They also have a summer camp that books up week by week so if there's any gaps in the Russian camp there's a backup.

The very last piece of the puzzle is morning care. I'm meeting a woman today and if it isn't a good vibe I have a few more applicants I can call. I am also amazingly lucky in the friends I have made in since we got here - two fellow moms have offered to pitch in if I end up short. Think about it. These people have known me barely 6 months and are willing to take my children in at 6:30am and get them to school. I didn't think this kind of thing happened outside the foreign service, where 6 months is an eternity and people become each other's "emergency contacts" within weeks.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Major Academic Milestone

This week, Alex brought home a "my first reader" type book from school. She said it's for her to practice reading. We've been busy and hadn't gotten to it when, this morning, I suggested she read for a bit before she had to catch the bus.

She read the first two pages ALL BY HERSELF!! Then we had to go.

Many of the words were sight words that we've been working on each evening, and it's sure paying off. I am excited for us to continue the story tonight when she gets home.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Cougar All-stars

According to the school newsletter, Alex was one of two All-Stars in her class for September (the school mascot is the cougar). We have no idea what that means, but congrats to Alex!