I’m going to open this with a very important disclosure: I miss our old school. I miss it terribly. I miss the people I got to know, the PPO, being on the Governing Board, volunteering, a lot of the great kids, and some of the rules. One of the rules I miss is the healthy food guideline. Our old school was pretty strict on insisting on no junk and our current school is much more lenient. In the end it doesn’t matter I suppose because it doesn’t change what I pack for my own kids (sandwiches, cheese, yogurt, vegetables, fruit) but it does mean I sometimes have to listen to complaints about what everyone else brings from home. Meh. If everyone jumps off a bridge, etc etc.
So anyway yes, I miss the school back home quite a lot and I still check in regularly for new pictures and I took a peek to see who had replaced me as PPO secretary and Vice-Chair of the Governing Board. However, it’s not all doom and gloom. There are some AMAZING things about the new school. For instance:
1. Art taught by a trained art teacher. Instead of just doing some basic artwork with the homeroom teacher, they’re taught by someone who teaches nothing but art, period. At Breanna’s level it’s just stuff in the classroom with her regular teacher because they’re still really young but Hayley has a teacher who graduated with an art degree and not only teaches them new techniques but also teaches art theory and history to them so they understand what and why they’re doing something. I really love that.
2. Music! They have a regular music program as part of their curriculum and each of them gets taught music twice a week. There was no music at the old school and I was always kind of sad about that. It makes me happy to know that they’re learning some age-appropriate music theory and about various instruments.
3. Violin. Seriously. Hayley is taking violin at the school right now. Once a week she goes to violin for one period of her day and every second week she has an extra lunch hour of violin. By the new year, if the kids taking it are still enjoying it they can continue with a bit more practice and will get to start bringing their instruments home to practice. I find this very exciting that something that can cost a fortune to study is being offered for free in the school. Hayley is enjoying it tremendously.
4. Choir. Do you sense a theme? Lots of creativity in this school! Hayley has joined the school choir and practices once a week as part of their music program and today she had her first performance at the school for their in-school Remembrance Day assembly. She told me she did really well and Hayley loves to sing so when she brought the permission slip home I didn’t even hesitate before signing her up. Dressed in black and white for choir:
5. No homework. No joke! Breanna’s only homework is to read two books with us and keep a reading log. I read with her every morning after breakfast and fill the reading log out and that’s it. That’s something we’d be doing anyway so it’s barely even work. Hayley also has a reading log to hand in once every two weeks and it’s not much work either because Hayley reads a lot all on her own anyway. She’s also had one presentation project to prepare but it didn’t take much time and last year she did presentations once a month on a variety of topics so it wasn’t too tough for her to do.
Other than that, there’s just no homework. No sheets of math to do or verbs to study. They get their work done in class. If they ever goofed off too much and didn’t finish up I think they’d have some extra catch-up to do but that’s it and it hasn’t happened yet. I don’t mind important homework but I hate obligatory busy-work and so I’m loving this school’s approach. It gives kids more time to be, you know, kids.
Speaking of school, I’d like to take a moment to do the bragging Mom thing. The school had their parent-teacher night on Wednesday and although I couldn’t attend, George went and brought back excellent reports. Breanna’s doing very well, meeting all the expected targets for her grade and age and although she’s a bit shy sometimes she’s adjusted super well.
As for Hayley, she was described as being well above average in her class, very intelligent, and having a lot of talent for different subjects. There was one shock that came out on parent-teacher night about her. A few weeks ago one of her teachers spoke to George about the fact that Hayley is a bit too chatty in class and talks to her friends sometimes instead of paying attention. This isn’t news as this has been something we’ve heard before so we spoke to her about how important it is to really be there and listen and save chatting for outside.
The shock was when the same teacher told George on Wednesday that last week Hayley came up to her – without any prodding or suggestions from us – and said, “Miss, I know that sometimes I talk to much when I should be listening or doing my school work. I just want you to know that I’m going to work on not doing that.”
It blew me away, that was such a grown up thing to do and I had no idea until George told me. I told her I was very proud of her!
So thus far everything is going quite well with both girls in the new school and I’m fully expecting excellent report cards in a couple of weeks.