24 March, 2013

Less schooling but more exhausting

I started this yesterday afternoon:

Last night at 9.30 our eldest came home from his 40 hr class trip to Kyoto. In under 24 hours David will be home and our two younger boys will already at their two day soccer camp.

Big change over of household members! I'm the only consistent factor. It now seems fairly unlikely that David will be home to hug our 10 and 7 y.o.s before they leave for soccer camp, so I'm praying it will go well, especially for our 7 y.o., for whom this is his first ever camp without us.

In just a little while I'll be heading to school for the before-Spring break Elementary concert (but they call it a program). It usually consists of lots of group singing and some musical/play action.

I keep wanting to say it is the "end of term", but that actually isn't the case. They have two semesters and (in middle school) four "quarters". There are only two breaks longer than a long-weekend:
• Christmas vacation, which is usually about 2 1/2 weeks long, and
• Spring Break, which is 9 days, including the weekend either end of the week.

And neither of these breaks is the "end" of anything. On top of that are sports seasons, of which there are three! Confusing for the newcomer? Yes!
Spring is coming to our backyard.

From my Australian mindset, it is a lot of schooling without much break and we all get tired. I long for those regularly scheduled Australian school holidays — every 10-12 weeks getting at least two weeks off seems pretty good right now, from the perspective of a mum and teacher's-wife. Instead, we hold out all year for the whopping 11 week summer holidays (less for teachers)!

There are many reasons for why it is as it is at CAJ, including synching with other international schools for inter-school competitions. But that doesn't stop me wishing for more frequent and longer breaks. But I do need to be thankful that we're not in the Japanese system that has even fewer holidays.

Here's an interesting fact:
Students in the United States spend more hours in school (1,146 instructional hours per year) than do students in the Asian countries that persistently outscore the U.S. on math and science tests - Singapore (903), Taiwan (1,050), Japan (1,005) and Hong Kong (1,013). That is despite the fact that Taiwan, Japan and Hong Kong have longer school years (190 to 201 days) than does the U.S. (180 days). From here

Here's another:
At 180 days, the American system lags most of the industrialized world. Korean students attend school 225 days a year; Japanese students, 220. From here.
Wiki.answers says this:
The Australian schooling year has about a 200 day school year (a few less when you take public holidays into consideration). This is 20 more than the American school year but 40 less than Japan and Germany. http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_many_days_a_year_are_Australian_school_students_at_school

So we're doing a month's less schooling a year than we would be in Australia, but squishing it into a sardine tin of nine months. I believe it's more exhausting.

Saturday afternoon's post script:

Life ran away with me yesterday afternoon and I didn't get this finished. David did indeed come home this morning, 20 minutes after our 7 and 9 y.o.'s left. It's turned really quiet here with both the guys left catching up on some rest.

I'm just trying to catch up with my head. It's been a crazy month and this topsy turvy week to finish it off has been pretty exhausting. I'm glad that we can settle down a little now and have our Spring Break.


Judie said...

The USA must have longer school days, then, if they have more instruction hours in fewer days.
How will you celebrate Easter over there? Can you get choccy eggs, or shall I get some for you & freeze them?
I assume you have it at the same time as we do, it's only Eastern churches that use a different calendar.

Wendy said...

Judie, you'll see on my FB page a discussion about the length of day, and yes, generally speaking the days seem to be longer.

We don't have a really special time at Easter usually, aside form worship at church. The younger two have an Easter Egg hunt at Sunday School, but I don't know where they get the eggs from, because they generally aren't in the shops. David's mum usually send us some to enjoy.
Yes, Easter is the same time.