Thursday, August 20, 2009

First Week of School Stories

OK, so with the first new week of school and all the changes that are happening with the kids, I wanted to share some of the things the kids have shared with me as they have come home from school.

*Monday was the first day of School. And Shantal and Spencer have to ride the public bus to school as there is only an Elementary School in the city we live. They have to leave the house at 7am to catch their bus and be on time to school. Shantal's bus stop is just one stop before Spencer's. And their bus stop is on a one way street. So to go home, they have to walk to a different bus stop on a different street, one that goes the opposite direction. Well, as Shantal came home on Monday, she was tired and about collapsed in my arms. She said she did a lot of walking. And it is true, the bus stop is about a 10 - 15 minute walk from our house. But then she went on to tell me she couldn't find the bus stop to come home. Her whole class has signed up to eat at the school except her and one other person. Everyone was eating lunch before they went home, part of learning the routine at the school. So Shantal got to leave early since she wasn't signed up for that. Well, back to not finding the bus stop, she just kept walking. She saw a bus stop, but thought it wasn't the right one. Finally she got on a bus. A few stops later, all the kids from her class got on the bus. No wonder she was tired. I asked her if we needed to go and practice so she would know where to go the next day, and she said no. (She had practiced once before, but went to the bus from Spencer's School, not hers. So she was a bit disoriented). Well, Tuesday, it happened again. All the other kids got on the same bus as her after they had all eaten. But, Wednesday, she had it all figured out. She is happy to know the "shorter" way to the bus stop.

*Hannah and Spencer both got stung by bees in the first few days of school.

*I went to pick up Ian from Kindergarten early on Wednesday. He is currently going 2 1/2 hours a day. Emma gets to stay 4 hours, but chooses to come home with me when I pick up Ian. I am happy about it because then I don't have to go out a second time. Well, on Wednesday, I get there and the kids are outside, like normal. And I can a lot of the kids playing in the water in their underwear. Some are even nekid. And low and behold, there is Emma in her underwear all wet. It makes me giggle because it is never something one would see in America. But here in Germany, it is totally normal.

*Wednesday after school, Shantal came home and decided to go to the Library. The library is in Ratingen Mitte (the city center). You have to take a public bus about 15 minutes to get there and then walk another 10 minutes to the library. After I drew her a map of the city and how to get from the bus station to the library, gave her a cell phone to call if she had problems and then gave her a list of all the times the bus came back out to our house, she was off. And as I watched her leave, I realized that my daughter is growing up. She is almost 12. And I just invisioned her going off to meet friends and doing things like teenagers do. It is amazing how fast time goes. I know she will be so much happier having this freedom to go off and do things. And maybe i need to explain something else. The two older kids have bus passes for the public busses because of school and they can travel a great distance with that bus pass. So Shantal's ability to go places alone has definatley expanded and I am happy for her.

*Tuesday when I was picking up Ian from Kindergarten, I asked how he did. And the report was really good. They said there was one instance when Ian was starting to have a melt down. Ian doesn't really talk yet. So it is hard to figure out what he wants. He was playing with the trains but didn't want to anymore. And as soon as they figured out he wanted to play in the dress up corner, life was good again. It was just a matter of figuring it out. Poor Ian, wish he would just talk already.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

First Day of School 2009

Monday the kids had their first day of school. And it was a big first day for most of the kids. Four of the kids started new schools. So it was an exciting day, to say the least.

Shantal started the 5th grade at the Gesamptschule Heiligenhaus. Spencer started the 5th grade at the Gymnasium in Heiligenhaus. Hannah started the 3rd grade in the same Grundschule she has been in for two years. Emma changed Kindergartens and is now in the Ulmen Strasse Kindergarten. And Ian started in the Kindergarten with Emma.

It was a big day! We had to divide and conquer because of all the changes. Spencer had a special first day at his school where they do a Mass at the church first. Then they went to his school and there was a special program for the kids in the 5th grade. Afterwards, they found out who their teacher was and who was in their class. While they were with their teacher, the parents had some information given to them about the school. School for Spencer started at 9am and was out at 12 Noon. This was a family event, and Gardner went with Spencer. Normally spencer has school from 8am until 1:20pm.

Shantal had her little opening ceremony at her school back in June. She found out who her teacher was and met all her classmates then. So school for Shantal started at 8am, but she got out at 11:45. Normally, Shantal's school is an all day school. She will go from 8am until 4pm. But they are working them into the all day program.

Hannah went to school at 8am and was finished at 10:45am. First day in the Elementary School here is always short. Hannah's normal school hours are 8am until 12:30 or 1:20, depending on the day.

Emma and Ian both went to Kindergarten. I was very scared of how Ian would do. I was thinking if he would stay just 1 hour without me, that was a fabulous start. I didn't care if he cried the whole time, I didn't want to be called in the first hour. But, Ian did not cry. I was in shock but excited about that. He said Goodbye to me and blew me a kiss. We found the trains and the cars for him to play with, as he loves these items. He let me go. And I was gone for 2 hours, not one. Emma did have to comfort him one time, 10 minutes before I came back to pick him up. Emma and Ian are going to be good together in the Kindergarten, I just know it.

Here are some pictures of their first day!

March 2007