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Wednesday, November 02, 2016

First quarter of school DONE

It seems it was yesterday that I was writing about the first day of school, but the kids just went back to school after their fall break.


Andrei came home at 11AM on the last day before vacation after 2 of his classes got cancelled in order to start vacation early.  I wasn’t exactly ready since in theory he was supposed to have normal day today until 12:20. Surprise! LOL

Both boys had Elternabends (parent meetings) and I learned that Andrei will have sex education before his class trip in June.  When I asked his teacher what exactly it entails, she did not understand my question even though I tried several different times in several different ways – she kept saying “normal stuff.”  I guess I will figure it out later.  Other than that, Andrei is doing sufficiently good.  He’s had several tests – 2 in German and 1in math.  He is still not getting grades in German but what I found to be interesting is that the kids are learning to use dictionary, as in a book that contains lists of words!  I can honestly say that I cannot remember the last time I used a dictionary that was not online but it's a good skill to have I guess.  For example, on his German test he had to write down the page number in a dictionary on which a certain word was located; the kids were also given pictures and had to find a word in dictionary.  In math he is working on multiplication, division but also adding and subtracting numbers within 1000.  Part of it includes being able to read “achthundredneunundzwantig” and writing down “829” - piece of cake :)  It took us a while but we did come up with compromise for his religion class.  The class is held twice a week but Andrei is only going once on Tuesdays and on Thursdays he goes to computer lab where he reads a book and has to answer questions about the book on the computer.  And yes, that is the extent of his computer work at school. The teacher really did NOT recommend pulling him out of religion, so we went with her recommendation after we made it very clear that church activities will not be part of our life … 

Ilya is also doing really well.  He is super busy and is very tired at the end of the day.  Unlike last year, he has an amazing math teacher and he is doing really good in math now; moreover, he likes math again which is super important.  They opted out of Russian math in favor of an additional English lesson.  Russian math seems to be hardcore but I think some parents are not happy with the change so will see it it comes back.  The Russian math teacher is great and she really likes Ilya so either way all is good for him.  English, however, is interesting and I still can’t get a read on it.  Apparently, they were supposed to learn a lot more last year than they did so they are playing a bit of catch up.  They need to know how to write around 80 words and while some of them are easy, the list includes words such as “pair of scissors, “guinea pig, budgie.”  I am not sure that all the kids even understand all the words, much less how to spell them!  English spelling is not exactly known for its intuitive spelling.  His German is coming along as well and he is learning things like how to do plurals.   Not a super easy thing to do in German … if you want to know, just ask.

Anton is as always a handful!  He seems to like his kindergarten but according to his teachers he gets very tired so they asked me to pick him up at 3PM, not 4:30 to 5 like we originally planned.  At this point it happens about 3 days a week, and the other 2 days I pick him up a bit after 4PM.  The kindergarten is bit of a mess to be honest.  The kids do what they feel like; the only time they stay in their room is 15 minutes in the morning while they do a roll call and for lunch.  The rest of the time kids get to pick the activity and are free to go between rooms as well as outside.  Moreover, what’s a bit puzzling to me they are not required to finish a project nor are they required to clean up after themselves.
Pictures of my loves:


Notice Andrei reaching out his hand to help Anton catch up! 


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