Thursday, September 3, 2015

Back To School And Other Volatile Situations

Unlike in the UK and other countries where each school or district goes back to school on different days, in Israel every school. kindergarten and nursery starts the academic year on September 1st. It's a day of national celebration. Every school has a ceremony to welcome the new First Graders. Every child has the obligatory photo taken (which is then promptly displayed on facebook - to be fair, I've seen a lot of these from the UK and USA too). DD hates having her photo taken but I told her it was the law so she reluctantly agreed.

"If I must"
We started second grade. There were tears on the way to school for the first day. She is terrified that the Hebrew will be too hard. (I'm a little concerned myself).

I was greeted at the end of the second day with DD, hands on her hips, telling me, "Mummy, this isn't going to work if you keep forgetting to put the things I need in my bag!" Of course she had everything in her bag that she needed but she's not familiar with the books yet so she didn't know.

The parents' whatsapp group was buzzing tonight about the second question (out of two) in Bible homework: What Pentateuch will we be learning this year? None of us knew the answer. LOL. I'm glad it wasn't just me. DD wrote, using a full sentence as instructed: I don't know what Pentateuch (I think it means what book of the Pentateuch) we will be learning this year. I resisted the urge to add: So I'm looking forward to a nice surprise. An email from the teacher earlier implied that there had been an information sheet but if there had been it never arrived home. Hebrew homework was a doddle in comparrison. I did most of it myself as we were dangerously near a meltdown. Phew!

WARNING - skim the next paragraph without trying to understand the details. It's just to give an idea of the situation.

There are 'afternoon programme' wars at our school. (School finishes at 2.20 pm whereas working parents do not.) After a six year monopoly for the privately run afternoon programme for grades 1 to 3, the municipality has brought its own afternoon programme to the school which is half the price of the private one. On the other hand the private programme provides home cooked meals and you can sign up for individual days whereas the public programme has no food and you have to pay for the full week even if you only need select days. On the other hand you can pay for a hot school lunch in a sealed tv-dinner type box for next to no money but also next to no nutrients. On the other hand three selected days at the private programme are more expensive than the full week of the public programme. And then there is the third option - school run extra curricular activities. DD wants to do art and magic. Two activities are cheaper than the public programme but three activities would be more expensive. So I'm fine with going with the activities as I only need cover for the two days. Then the private programme realized it was in a precarious situation and started to lower its prices. But they've not updated the partial week prices so it's now more expensive to send your child for half the week to the private programme than for the whole week. And further options in the private programme now include the programme without food or the food without the programme. It's all extremely confusing.

You can tune back in now. Or not.

The other complicated thing is the meal schedule. Left over from the days of rising with the dawn, grabbing a cup of coffee and a chunk of bread, and putting in a few hours in the fields before a proper brakfast at 10 am, every school has the 10 o'clock meal which is brought from home - a sandwich and some fruit and/or vegetables. Maybe a yogurt drink aswell or a cereal bar. Up till last year this was a good idea as the kids didn't eat again until they had a hot lunch after school at around 2.30pm. (Great for us as we don't do breakfast in our house - a glass of OJ and out the door.) Then last year the cheap catering hot-lunches were introduced and served at 12:50. So the afternoon programme lady had to serve her good but more expensive food (which DD had last year) also at 12:50. Only she wasn't that hungry at 12:50 was she? Did I mention that another meal option is to send both a packed breakfast and lunch into school with your child? Shoot me now.

OK, here's what we're doing.

OJ before leaving the house at 7:55am, 10 o'clock meal has now been moved to 9:30 (good for us) and lunch break at 12:50. I am sending in a box of food which will be enough to cover both meal breaks. DD can eat whatever she wants from the box at either meal. And when she comes home at 2:30 she can finish the leftovers, add a snack if necessary and call it late lunch. We'll then have an early supper at about 5 pm. (Twice a week she'll be home at 4pm after her chosen activities.)

I'm exhausted and it's only the second day. Tbh I'm generally exhausted atm but that's another blog post.

19 comments:

  1. Good grief, that all sounds terribly complicated!

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    1. And I didn't even start trying to navigate the organised activities run by each of the afternon programmes that you can choose from at extra cost if you want more than 2.

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  2. Blimey at least we only have to choose school dinner or packed lunch!

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    1. I remember those simple days of hot dinners or sandwiches. We start school at 8 and kids can be dropped off from 7.30. Many kids just don't have time for a proper breakfast in the morning so the 9,30 snack is sort of essential.

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  3. Oh back to school :( I feel your pain! Although I'm looking forward to getting on with work, cooler temps etc I'm actually really nervous about it. Year 1 for Leo and proper school (kind of, nursery but the proper one, again long story!) for Louka. Leo is worried about the Greekm he says he remembers nothing, which of course is rubbish but still I really feel for him. I am trying to enjoy the rest of the holiday but kind of want to get it over and done with now. just over a week to go.

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    1. I thought of you this week and wondered how you will be coping with homework in Greek. I'm so looking forward to cooler weather. Good luck for a successful school year and getting back to work.

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  4. Why are you so tired? I can't wait for the next blog post. All ok?

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    1. I don't know yet but I'm dealing with it. Nothing alarming.

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  5. From Margie in Toronto - OMG - I'm exhausted just reading this! What a lot to deal with! I'm going to show this to a few of the moms at the office to make them feel better about what they are dealing with - no where near as complicated!
    Good luck with it all. She looks very cute!

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    1. Thank you. And yes it's complicated and exhausting. Ad of course you have to keep an eye out for where all her friends are going too as she'll want to be with them.

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  6. That's making my head hurt - suddenly I feel bad about moaning that I have to plan what I want for lunch, and I can eat what I want when I want!

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    1. Yes but t least you know what you like. DD changes her tastes every week and I never know what's acceptable or not.

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  7. Oh heavens, sounds like a bit of a nightmare! But, at least you have options? Very few in Ireland for working parents and none supplied by the government. Really hope things settle down soon and that you both have great year.

    By the way I'm laughing at her chastising and accusing you of not packing her bag properly!! I still get that from my 15 yo... and he's old enough to do it all himself! xx

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    1. I know - I remeber m sister had an elaborate weekly schedule of grandparents and childminder when she worked full time. And yes, DD's very funny with her grown up expressions - all from you tube I'm afraid.

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  8. Gosh it does sound a bit exhausting and the food situation is complex! I love that you told DD the photo was law. Mich x

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    1. It's crazy if you ask me - which no one has.

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  9. Wow!! Just discovered your blog from the linky!! I shall now stop back to school whinging! It seems I have it easy!!

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  10. If I ever complain about childcare or school meals you are very welcome to give me a withering look!
    Taylor starts school for the first time tomorrow (where did the time go?!) and Kieran is going into year 5. All of our children need to slow down a little I think x

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