Sunday, February 21, 2010

Summer is Over, School Days are Here!

Tomorrow our kids start their first day of school for this year.  Our summer is over. Well, not the season, but the staying at home and being lazy part - that is over.  And I, for one, am glad.  When I think of this summer I think of.....

homeschooling, hot days, going to the pool, Giovanni running around in a diaper, Anderson running around in underwear, more hot days, trip to the waterfall, two new dogs, movies, too many video games, date nights, cooking in the crock pot, arts and crafts on Thursday nights, sewing, registering for a new school, shingles,  kids cooking, taking one day at a time.....

Wow, that seems like a lot for a summer that we didn't seem to do much.  I am glad for the kids to start school - and they are glad, too.  Often people think that since we are missionaries, we homeschool our kids.  And that makes sense since I am a former schoolteacher.  But, I absolutely love school.  I always have, and our kids do too.  Buying new school supplies, making friends, extra-curricular activities - we love all of it.  So we are school people, not homeschool people.  (We did homeschool for a few months last year and in January of this year because our kids missed 2 months of school during our trip to the US last year.)

Here are a few interesting facts about going to school in Brazil....

 - Anderson will be going to kindergarten.  But they call it the first year.  So when he is in the 2nd year, he will be in the first grade.  Weird.  He will graduate high school after 12 years, but it will be like he is in the 11th grade in the US.

- Our kids learn everything in portuguese.  I still marvel at the fact that after we had lived here for 6 weeks, we took our kids to an all-portuguese speaking school and enrolled them.  They didn't understand anything for a while, but when school was ready to begin the next year (6 months later), they were fluent and participated in everything just like all the other kids.  Now, they speak better portuguese than Kevin and I do, and with no accent.  Sickening.

 - Schools here put a lot of emphasis on learning a second language.  Bronwyn and Ansley have both studied Spanish.  This year Garrett, Carys and Anderson will begin learning German.  We love that they are learning so much when they are kids and can take it in easily.

 - Schools here are either in the morning from 7:30-12:30 or the afternoon from 1:00-6:00.  Our kids have always gone in the morning.  So they come home everyday for lunch and don't go back to school for the rest of the day unless there is some kind of special activity or class (which happens sometimes.)

 - Our kids study in private Brazilian schools.  The public schools here are usually not very good and often dangerous.  The cost of their private school has more than doubled in the 8 years we have lived here.

 - Starting in the 5th grade, the kids have more like a college schedule.  Meaning they have different teachers for each subject and each subject only 2-4 times a week.  For example, they might have math on  Monday, Wednesday and Thursday only.  The subjects they study are Portuguese- grammar, literature and writing (each separate classes), Math, Geography, Physics, Chemistry, Biology (or just science in the 5-6 grades), History, Religion, Art, Music, Sociology or Philosophy.  Oh yeah, and English and/or another foreign language.  Does that seem like a lot to anyone else??

 - Generally kids wear uniforms to school everyday.  Ansley doesn't have to because her school allows high school students to choose their own clothes.  The rest only wear school uniform which right now is a t-shirt and shorts with the school logo.

Well, tomorrow will be an exciting day.  I'm sure I'll take a "first day of school picture" and post it tomorrow. If you can, please pray for our kids as they start the new year. Garrett and Carys will be going to a new school tomorrow, Ansley will be starting her senior year (yikes!!), and Anderson, kindergarten.  Thanks for your prayers!

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