I know many of you were probably wondering why I wrote a whole blog post about Will’s Kindergarten experience and haven’t mentioned anything on here yet about Elise’s school. Part of the reason was that Will’s was easier to write. Elise has experienced so much in the week and a half that she’s been attending school, I’m not even sure where to start.
Every school day around 8:30 in the morning, she and I (and now Will) walk the two minutes down our street, across one of the main streets in town, and into the Blumenplatz where a large city bus picks up the elementary students. Once she gets on the bus, I’m afraid I don’t know much about her day other than the schedule I have from the teacher. Just before 4 each day we traipse back down to the bus stop in all kinds of weather (yesterday it was snowing quite hard), to meet the returning bus.
Elise usually has several important things to share with me about her day. These moments right after meeting her and the short walk home is usually full of her excited retelling of the highlights of her day. Occasionally more things will come out later as she thinks of them.
The first day one of the main highlights was one of her classmates coming up to her during snack-time and giving her a piece of cake. On possibly the second day of class as I was cleaning up the kitchen and she was sitting at the table she looked up suddenly and asked, “Mom do you know what rechter Winkel is?” I, of course, had no idea. “It means right angle,” she replied. In science the students are studying the solar system. Elise had tons of fun at the planetarium in Freiburg on just her second day of school. Part of their assignment after the trip was for each group of 4 students to make their own planet model. Elise described in detail how they were going to do theirs and that she was the one to come up with the idea.
Two days ago her normal PE teacher was out due to an injury and the substitutes that came in did gymnastics for PE. Elise came home glowing as she shared how much fun she had. She described how the teachers were teaching the students how to do falls correctly, and I asked her if she did well (knowing that she is quite skilled at gymnastics). “I was the one showing the other students how to do it,” was her reply. (I later got a very good report of her gymnastic skills from the substitute teacher herself).
As I said, these snippets from her day give me just a little peak into how she is doing in school and I am pleased that she seems to be adjusting quite well. We’ve had some mishaps with forgotten items. Elise has never before had to be responsible to remember homework assignments and lunch boxes and she’s had some adjusting to do to remember everything she is supposed to. I’ve recently began to sort through her backpack each day to make sure she has told me about all her homework assignments, because she is notorious for forgetting them or for not really knowing what they were in the first place. It doesn’t help of course that sometimes her assignments are given in German. Thankfully she really doesn’t have that much homework to do and we are settling into a good routine to make sure it gets done.
The hardest part of the day is usually right after we get home. Elise is understandably exhausted from her day at school and she has had a hard time dealing emotionally with anything that is the slightest bit frustrating or hard. You can pray for that bit of time for her. Usually she will eventually pull it together. Thankfully she doesn’t fall apart at the mention of homework after supper anymore. She is finally used to the idea that she’ll need to do a little bit each day, and that it isn’t much, usually isn’t hard, and sometimes can even be fun. The grades I’ve seen have all be excellent, by the way. Though admittedly I only see the grades from her English teacher. I have no idea how the other subjects are going, but based on the little bits she shares with me she is understanding the math concepts even if she doesn’t understand the German and I think they are giving her different assignments than the others in German. I will hopefully find out a bit more next week when we have parent/teacher conferences.
Thanks for your many prayers on Elise’s behalf. She really has been adjusting much better than I anticipated, not only to school, but also to being far away from family and friends. Continue to pray over the next few months as I know there could be more processing to deal with later once life starts to settle into a better routine, but for now she is doing very well.