On Monday, Smarty started her new school, but her first day was a short "class preview" day. Her real first day was on Tuesday when she had a full load of classes. For the first time ever she actually has physical textbooks which are huge and heavy. Also for the first time ever she has a locker and has to plan which books she needs to bring home every day for homework and which books she can keep in her locker.
Speaking of homework, Smarty was shocked that she got homework assigned on the first day of school due next day. She was quite spoiled in her previous school that barely had any homework. It seems that she might need to allocate at least an hour every day for homework and she is not at all happy about it. Personally, I don't mind homework as long as it is not busywork. Anyway, this is a big transition for her to go through. It does not help that she did not get any "relaxed" classes that would not carry homework, because they did not fit in her schedule. Instead, she has 6 "homework carrying" classes - English (where they were given The Little Prince and were told to read it by Wednesday), Human Geography, Media Studies, Spanish, Algebra 2, and Life Science. Spanish teacher seems especially keen on homework insisting (rightfully) that learning a new language requires daily practice.
Smarty's core middle school classes are English, Geography, and Science. All English-speaking middle schoolers (about 11 of them) are in the same class for these three classes regardless of their actual grade. On one hand, it's great for Smarty, because she has age peers in her class. On the other hand, I wonder how and if the teachers are going to differentiate requirements for kids who are in 6th grade vs. kids who are in 8th grade. Smarty was already commenting with horror that some kids in her class don't understand basic scientific method principles, such as dependent and independent variables in setting up an experiment. Perhaps her science education was not as poor as I believed it to be. I hope everything will go smoother as time moves on.
There are 5 students in Smarty's Algebra 2 class, the other 4 students are in 10th grade. She is excited to be in this class and hopes that it will move at a good clip. As with all other classes, it will probably take a couple of weeks until everyone finds their stride.
Spanish and Media Studies are also high school classes with most students being in high school. I can't wait to see how Smarty takes to really learning a new language - all our efforts at home fizzled out, but I think that she will do well in an environment where she has peers who are learning with her and where she is graded on her efforts.
Overall, Smarty is excited about school, happy about her subjects and is looking forward to connecting with her classmates. She might need more support initially with so many changes, but I hope her life will become easier once she settles into the routine and understands expectations of her multiple teachers.
Did your kids start school yet?