"So....what's the difference" you ask? "School is school, no matter where you go....right?"
Well, in part, yes. But in many ways, no.
First, a few 'back to school' photos of my babies.....
|Brooklyn, this morning before her first full day of school. She was up, dressed and ready to go before any of us were out of bed. She is going to Jr. high this year and will be riding the city bus to get there. She was waiting on the front steps for a few friends to pass by the house on the way to the bus stop when I snapped this picture. She was a huge ball of nerves.|
|All three of my elementary school aged girls. (Finally a little grin from Trinity.)|
|Ok..moving right along to the boy....THE boy. He wasn't thrilled about a photo shoot before school. He kept saying, "I don't want to go to school."|
|And the look on his face proved it....|
|He finally quit trying to be so tough, but refused to let his smile show.|
|....still trying to hide his grin....|
|"Okay Mom...this is the best I can do!...now do I still have to go to school?"|
Okay...back to the differences...
Here are a few examples....
School schedule for everyone but Brooklyn:
9:00 - 12:00 - Class - I drop them off a few minutes before 9.
12:00 - 1:30 - Lunch at home. I pick them up and we come back home to eat. They relax a little after lunch cause three hours of school is tough on their young bodies....*notice my sarcasm* and then I take them back about 1:25. There is a small lunch room at their school and they have the option of remaining there to eat....but..well...soup and rotten bananas are not real high on the list of favorite foods around here. And taking your lunch is not an option. My guess is about 25 % of the kids go home for lunch or to a grandparents house to eat.
1:30 - 3:30 - Class - I pick them up at 3:30. Now most of the kids, I'd say about 95% of them stay at the school until at least 5:30. During those last two hours of school they have all the extra curricular activities. We noticed after the first year of school that it seemed to be two hours of glorified babysitting. Since it wasn't mandatory to remain at school until 5:30, we chose to bring them home after the 'real' work was done. There is also an option for the parents to pay for "after school care" and the kids remain at school until 7:00 each evening...and most of these kids that use this type of care were dropped off for school much earlier that 9:00 because of parents work schedules.
We also have to buy all of the books that the kids need. They don't reuse textbooks. Oh...and the school isn't climate controlled. They burn up in the heat and freeze in the winter. I think sometimes teachers bring portable heaters, but they don't use them very often, for strange reasons. At least to me the reasons are strange.
So......here you have an example of what a country elementary school is like in northern Portugal.