Saturday, 11 July 2009

Final week of the year

Well, we’ve made it to the last week of the first year in Swiss school. Where has the year gone ? No, seriously, where HAVE the last 6 months gone ? Time has not so much flown by as rocketed out of orbit.

Private conversations

This week, for the first time, I overhear the boys having a conversation between themselves in Swiss German. I don’t think this is done with a view to impress me – it appears completely unselfconscious – but is this the shape of things to come ? On the one hand I’m enormously proud of them – and on the other hand panicking about what if they start using secret language to make plans and plots to overthrow the parents and lock the wine cellar ?

Holiday homework

J is set homework for the holidays – the vast tracts of vocabulary of which I wrote in the last blog entry, along with continuing his second reading book, which, again, he is plodding through 5 pages at a time.

C is also set homework – they have to borrow 4 books out of the school library and read them in the holidays. No problem. He is an avid little reader, and chooses 4 Asterix books in German. As I write, he’s already finished one of them - but then, he does have a book available in each bathroom.

They both play out after school each day, calling for their friends, sometimes confidently making phone calls in Swiss German to arrange playdates. Their German phone skills are better than mine – mainly because they have had to stand on their own two feet rather than rely on me, although I can now make a phone call to arrange a doctor’s appointment, and next year I plan to work on improving my own German significantly.

They are both extremely tired, but the homework lessens as the week progresses.

School reports

On Thursday we receive their reports, and are pleased to see that they are both doing well. Neither has been given a mark for German, although J appears to have been marked as if he were a Swiss child, but without being given an overall number 1-6. I have to sign the reports and send them back into school for safekeeping.

General observations

One observation of the school that struck me last week when I was “facebooking” with an old friend in the UK, is that the state funded school here in CH does not continuously ask for money from parents for trips, donations, equipment and so on. It’s well funded by the government. The camp that J will go on in September will cost 85 CHF per child – for 5 days of survival skills training.

Another observation is that there are no school assemblies to which parents are invited – the only time we’ve seen the children do any kind of performance has been either through the Musikschule – ie separately from main school, or the school production last week, which I wrote about in the previous blog entry. So yes, there have been fewer opportunities for me to see for myself exactly what they are doing in school, but then there have been the 2 Besuchermorgens and the various parents evenings. It’s just different, that’s all - I have plenty to occupy myself with, without needing parental involvement in school life to fill my time.

Friday is party day. C’s class were supposed to go up into the forest to the adventure park and then cook sausages for lunch, but the weather is pants all week so they have a day of sports at school followed by a packed lunch. J’s class start at 9am (a true lie-in) and then have breakfast, games and lunch together.

They’re home by 2pm.

And then they’re both out again by 2.45pm, off to play with their mates.


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