Sunday, February 10, 2008

Sun in February

Blog silence since Christmas. Hmm. I'm sure all three of my loyal readers have been waiting in eager anticipation for me to break my silence. At last, I feel like I have the energy and brain power to sit down and write.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and that 2008 is off to a good start. We are enjoying spectacular sunny weather in London. What a relief after a very dreary January. It is amazing what a little bit of sunny weather (and slightly longer days) will do for one's energy levels and mood!

Christmas was wonderful with Amma, Afi and Kiddi coming and staying with us. The girls loved every minute of it! Then we went to Barcelona to see Yaya, Yayo and Tio Miguel. By the time we returned home at the beginning of January, we were pooped -- a very busy holiday season.

Now we are waiting to hear about what school Anna will go to in the autumn (she starts kindergarten in September). The process of getting into a state/public school here is rather complicated. You have to apply and rank your top three choices of school and state schools also include religious schools (Catholic, Church of England - but generally you have show that you are a church-going in the school's parish in order to have a chance of getting in). It turns out that we are on the edge of two school catchment areas. One school is really great - new building, excellent teachers and totally oversubscribed. The other school is ok, but not great and not so oversubcribed. I'm thinking that our chances of getting into the great school are slim, and that we'll be assigned to the ok school. So, we've been holding a spot for Anna at a private school. The private school is outstanding. It is an all-girls school (not something that I necessarily wanted) with small classes (14 per class) and a very impressive record. After Carlos and I went on a tour of the school, we were super impressed. Before going to visit the school, I was a bit down on the school because I thought it was too snobby and didn't want Anna at a girls school. But, after visiting, the headmistress definitely proved me (mostly) wrong (I still think the school is a bit snooty). She said that the good thing about teaching girls separately at this age is that generally they have an easier time focusing than boys and the school tries to take advantage of that by challenging the girls academically. Also, she talked about one of the goals of the school being to develop strong, independent girls. I like that. So, in all likelihood, I think Anna will end up at the private school because we will not have a viable state school option. Ugh. The whole things gives me a bit of a headache.


Maggie, Nick, Kate and Liam said...

YAY! So glad to read your "chats" and see the pics! We missed you! Still do, but you know what I mean! Great that Anna gets to start "K"! I am SO jealous. The US - Minnesota in particular - is sooo strict about the age cut offs and here the rule is they have to be 5 by Sept. 1. Well, Kate will be 5 on Sept 30 so we have no choice - even with the private schools - to hold her in Pre-K another year. I am worried she will be bored to tears so am trying to get her involved in some other things. At the rate she is going she will be reading those tiny chapter books by Kindergarten in 18 months. She can skip years later, they say, but not start a year early - that makes no sense to me. It will all work out - bummer, though, that now when Anna and Kate go to Yale they won't be the same year. Anna can be the cool Sophomore that shows Kate the ropes. :)

Mama T said...

I have also heard that all-girls schools are very success and that girls learn so differently from boys, it's proven effective to teach them differently. And since most teachers are women and boys learn better from men, it removes a lot of friction in a classroom to segregate the sexes. Plus she'll get to look so darling in her uniform! :)