Wednesday, September 5, 2012


The little people of the family are back to school...the rest of us are back to work.  Thankfully, sometimes for me this means getting to work at school.  This (above) is FPFJ's new classroom -- Year 2B with Ms Melanie Andersen. (Apologies for the gimicky 'tilt shift' image - sometimes I cannot resist being a week bit cheeky.) She is awesome and awesomely no-nonsense.  Nothing can distract her from her work...uh, except a chocolate, a cookie, a piece of cake, a bit of cheese, a ripe strawberry... O had Ms A for year 2 also, it's kind of cute that little brother gets to follow this same academic path. I'm certain he was placed in her room b/c of the possibility of another year of chocolate chip cookies.

O had a lot of catching up to do as not only did he jump into the British curriculum in the 3rd term, he is a full year younger than some of his classmates.  The endless plates of cookies (jaques torres recipe of course....) were all the incentive Mrs A needed to keep working extra hard with the big guy to get him caught up--so much so that he flew ahead.  Nice going.

I remain convinced that the programs (US and British) match up eventually (by year 3/grade 2) but that the phonics-based literacy program the kids do here and the fact that formal education starts at 4/5 instead of 5/6 puts them half a year ahead with their reading and writing skills.  It helps to have genius children, too.  I shouldn't say that -- the boys work hard and really challenge themselves to make the progress they have both made!

The kids came home the first DAY of school with a new library book to get thru, a list of spelling words and a few notes from the school about meetings and curriculum and handbooks.  This week they dove in with the daily reading, 'silent B' spelling words, a literacy worksheet and TWO library books (because they are all big year TWO students).  The kids start with their extended day programs this week as well:  today my boys are both swimming.  This is FPFJ's only activity but he is swimming 2-3 days a week.  O is doing:  table tennis, movie making, swimming (with the team but not ON the team...his choice) and....wait for volleyball.  Look that up.  We did.  It's somehow part of the British National PE Curriculum.  Hint: it's something between circulation volleyball and 'normal' volleyball.  huh?

Don't be fooled by the little peoples' full book bags and homework lists; they have a darn lot of fun at school.  And, the seriousness of the curriculum is balanced by an early release (1:30pm for primary), a long list of fun after school activities and a hands-on, integrated program that leaves them wanting more.  I do love this school, can you tell?

Mrs. Jennings....THAT IS A BIG CAMERA! 

Isn't he just too much?