Wednesday, September 02, 2009

First day of school...for newcomers

Until our move to the UK, we've always had our children attend public school. There are things that you can count on being pretty much the same no matter what part of the country (USA) you lived in. Now British schools are a bit different- there's no separation of Church and State out here- meaning that ALL schools have a daily church service and the religion is The Church of England aka Protestant.

We're also new to the fact that there are 2 separate "first day of school" events. Today is the first day of school for all newcomers- this is a first for us. Back in the US the "first day of school" was for everyone, there weren't 2 separate for new comers and then a 2nd first day of school with all the pupils. At least today the kids get to wear "casual" clothing. Well I suppose that really only applies to Andrew since he is upper 6th form and he gets to wear his regular clothes, Hannah on the other hand being lower 5th form has to wear the casual school uniform which consists of a polo-shirt with school crest, sweat-shirt with school crest and dark blue/black denim jeans. Tomorrow's first day of school has the pupils in full school uniform.

Last night's school social event did not go too well for either of our children. Basically, it sucked. It's hard being the new kid in a new school, compound that with having been in your last school system for 6 years, going to school with all the same kids for that amount of time and your school being 4 miles away...well it's rough! Last night's event made them feel more out of place than ever- it's got to be really rough for them, trying to figure out all over again where they fit in. My heart truly goes out to my children more than anyone can ever know. And there's the fact that they are so far away from everything that they were comfortable with, suddenly thrust into a new education system, a new social group- one that has students from 32 different countries and now they have to ride a bus (Andrew used to drive them to school in his own car) and that bus ride takes a minimum of 45 minutes. It's especially hard on our son who had his own car back in South Dakota, he had his piece of independence there and here...he's back to riding the bus with dweebs all over again. It's simply too much for him to drive to and from school every day, not to mention that we really couldn't afford the insurance costs here for our 17 year old to drive, and add on top of that the gas prices-ugh!

To quote an old Jewish saying "A mother is only as happy as her saddest child"- this is oh so very true! And today I have a heavy heart. I'll have a favorite meal of theirs ready for when they walk through the door this evening, eager to listen to them talk about their day at school.


Julia Dunnit said...

Oh it's hard. I know the heaviness in your heart. Been there as a mum and as the child..I'm sure - quite sure- that your day will be loger and harder than theirs. I know they'll love your attention after school. A month from now, this will be a memory, not least because they will be immersed and busy!

Over here 'public school and private school' are the same thing - the fee-paying type that Hanah and Andrew are now attending.For reasons known to people better than me, the true 'public' schools that are attended by the majority are called 'state schools'. Go figure!

You're about an hour from me I think; if you want to meet at Bicester Village or somewhere like, I'd be happy to try and divert you from the school day worries!

Sandie Grisé said...

Thanks Julia!