Tuesday, January 27, 2015

School update

I would like to start by saying that this post is specifically talking about the school that boys are attending which is a private bilingual school and not a general German public school.  The school is a loosely based Montessori type of school where kids work at their own speed on the subjects they want to work.  The classrooms have grades 1 through 4 in the same classroom.  What it means in reality is 2 things: 1) if the kids feel like doing math and not German, then that's what they do - there is no regular structure where one class follows another; 2) teachers spend a couple of minutes explaining the material to a small group of kids who might be on the same topic but a lot of times kids are on their own for doing work.

This last week we meet with the teachers for all 3 boys.  Here is the summary starting with the youngest.

Adjusted to school really well, eats most of the food given (and a lot of it), plays nicely with kids but sometimes can be a little aggressive when has a certain desire.  Anton still does not say more than 10 words but understands what is being said to him.  We did talk to a doctor about it and she feels that we can wait and see what happens by April when we have his next check up.  On the not so good front, Anton is refusing to nap at school and they are refusing to force the issue.  For now, we have changed his schedule and I will pick him up at noon and he will nap at home.

Ilya (age 5.5)
He has also adjusted well to school but his learning progress is pretty slow.  This school has no homework but they do send weekly updates on what was done.  Based on those reports, I could tell that things are moving a little slow.  He was only about half way through his alphabet and is working on number 0-10, just learning how to write them and what they mean.  He also has trouble staying in the lines when doing copywork.  His German is kind of coming along. Ilya does enjoy art, phys. ed., music, etc.  The plan for the rest of the year is keep working on this trouble spots but he will repeat first grade.  We knew that by putting Lusha in first grade to begin with, there is a very high chance he will have to repeat it.

Andrei (age 7)
Andrei has the hardest time adjusting to the new school.  We knew that this type of school was either going to work great for him or fail miserably.  Andrei has a very strong independent streak so we were hoping that by giving him choice, adjustment to Germany and new life will be easier.  I think by now we can admit we were wrong.  Andrei clearly thrives in structure.  He has hard time sitting still and concentrating when there are many different activities going in the same classroom.  He is at about the same level as Ilya in his writing  even though he should be much further because he already knows the alphabet and they are just now starting to work on blending some words together but I have a feeling that it will not be going all to well.  In his math, he is working on manipulating numbers 0-20.  He can compare the numbers to see which one is lesser or greater, and he is learning to add 10 to the numbers.  We have also come to realize that some numbers are written differently here than they are in the US of A.  For example, he had to re-write a whole page of 1 because he wrote it American style.  His German is not going as well as Lusha's but I think he will understand a lot soon.  He seems to pay attention even when he is not.  Specials are also going pretty well for Andrei.

We liked that the teachers were honest with us but there was one huge problem- the teachers do not think that Ilya will be a successful student while he is in the same classroom as Andrei.  Andrei is holding him back by literally physically bothering him sometimes and by not letting him concentrate.  At this point, thought, they are unable to separate the boys until next school year.  Thus, we are starting to look for a solution aka new school for at least Andrei.

Last image is example of difference in writing numbers.  (I know pictures aren't great)

Andrei's math

more of Andrei's math

Andrei's copywork

Ilya's copywork

Ilya's German

More German from Ilya

Ilya's math

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