Welcome to the online diary of the “London Ziegs,” as they journal their experiences relocating from the balmy climes of sunny Orlando, Florida to the more chaotically cosmopolitan environment of London, UK!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Shool Shedules

Yes, I have heard some people call pronounce "school" as "shool" or "shole", rather than the American "skool" :-) But pronunciation wasn't the only educational surprise -- not by a long shot!

One of Jonathan's greatest transitions has been adapting to the Desborough academic calendar. Even though he's in his 8th year (what Americans would call 7th grade (Brits count Kindergarten...but note that 6th year has nothing to do with the crucially important 6th form, which doesn't kick-in until his 12th year...you got all that?)...anyway, even though he's only 13, his diary (that's calendar here) looks a lot like a typical day in college:
  • Mon: P.E., history, VoTech, English, maths
  • Tue: religion, art, English, science, Spanish
  • Wed: music, science, maths, VoTech, Spanish
  • Thr: computers, geography, Spanish, P.E., English
  • Fri: science, Spanish, maths, geography, English
But that's just for week "A"! In week "B", he goes to VoTech on Tuesday, history on Wednesday, German on Thursday, and drama and "social education" on Friday! So that's a total of 15 different subjects (including two foreign languages), in which classes continually change positions from day-to-day both physically and temporally (e.g., science occurs in period 1, 2, 4 or 5 on different days).

Being understandably bewildered by all of this, and often unsure of just where he was to be at any given time, Jonathan took to carrying his materials for all possible subjects with him every day (they don't have lockers or any personal storage areas), adding a 10-kilo rucksack to his worries.

Fortunately, after a month of accommodation, it seems we're gradually adapting to the educational climate, figuring out what needs to be packed when, comprehending their homework, discipline, and reporting policies, etc. It's been quite an adaptation, and probably hardest for Jonathan, whose school seems to have one leg very firmly planted in the "grammar-school" tradition of England's past (versus modern "comprehensive" schools, which are structured very similarly to the American institution).

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