Sunday, 23 August 2009

Year of Four Schools

In the past we've gone to some lengths to keep the children at the same school, mostly for stability while other things changed. However, circumstances change and now, with the children stretching across age group boundaries, we find ourselves with children going to four different schools this academic year.

Bryna and Ariana are in the first and fifth grades respectively at the local elementary (primary, Gr√ľndschule) school. Bryna's reading has come along in leaps and bounds over the summer and she is enthusiastically reading everything she can get her hands on. Ariana will continue to do well in all areas I'm sure as last year's report card was very good.

Mara has just begun her second, and final, year at the middle school, also called junior high school. She has virtually all the same teachers that Elijah had last year and Joshua had the year before that. Hopefully the teachers won't suffer from Glass burnout. One of her favourite subjects is Honors Choir. Given my Australian education history, I've always thought of choir as an extra-curricular activity rather than an actual subject but they have a different point of view here.

Elijah, meanwhile, will be going to high school proper. It's a big school (around 4000 students I believe) but seems to have decent teachers and a reasonable curriculum. He is looking forward to the sporting aspects and has intentions on trying out for the track team. I don't think he'll find the academic side too taxing, though he'll still need to put in a consistent effort.

Finally, Joshua will be attending another high school -- after his first (freshman) year at the high school Elijah will be attending -- that is much smaller (around 400-500 students) and is located on the same campus as a community college. This high school, known as a middle college high school, allows and, in fact, encourages the students to take college courses in place of high school subjects. The student then receives a double credit both towards their high school completion and towards actual college. For high school, because it is equivalent or above the high school subject requirement and for college because, well it actually is a college course. This way a student who applies themselves and takes a fair few college courses can complete a two-year Associate's degree, which can then transfer as the first two years of four year Bachelor's degree -- at least here in the US. We think the school and the academic challenges will suit Joshua well. The main motivation, however, for having Joshua attend there and take as many college courses as possible is to help his standing should we move back to Australia before he has completed high school. Essentially, we'd like him to be as close to an Australian or German standard as possible and that should keep his options open as to where he might attend university -- be that Australia, here in the US or even back in Germany.

So lots of running around, I expect, and keeping on top of the information that'll come from all the schools will require some diligence. But all over I believe it should be an interesting academic year.