Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Xyz ... School's Out For Ever!


'Schools there are many, renowned in our story, 

founded by Kings, in the days long ago...'


Last week our son finished at school, 
singing the rather apt school song one last time
Schools there are many...

His education has spanned nine schools
on four different continents.

Despite this, he's turned out alright!
Says his Mother ...

Starting school with only one eye and one arm
Born in Belgium, to British parents, and like all local kids, he started school at two and a half. We had the choice of French, Flemish or our native English schools. We wanted him to be good at languages, unlike his parents, so we choose a French Maternelle school. 

He had passed the only entry requirement, which was to be fully potty trained with flying colours. In those early days, he had a teddy bear in his locker which he would nap with during sleep time, after he'd eaten a three course cooked school lunch. Extreme weather meant on snow days the school was closed.


Carnivale - Belgium Maternelle 1999
When he was three we moved to Australia where they were horrified at the previous loss of his childhood. An Australian education starts in Prep aged five years old, and it is not uncommon to hold the kids back, especially boys, until they are six years old, to give them a good start at their education.  

Three and four year old Kinder places book up early and so the only option as a new arrival was to attend an all girls private school, where in pre-prep they took boys. I'm not sure he's ever thanked us enough for this part of his schooling!


School distractions cause back to front number confusions!
At five years old he joined his sisters at a local Aussie French bilingual primary school, wearing his blue shorts, red top and blue broad brimmed hat. Here 40% of the curriculum was in French. We slipped, slapped, slopped on his sunscreen most days and had the excitement of extreme heat meaning that school was optional when temperatures soared above 30 degrees Celsius. Like many Australian kids his after school activities led to a busy life! He played Milo cricket, soccer, took Kumon Maths, had weekly swimming lessons and went to Little Athletics.


The average Australian childhood means flying to many extra curricular activities
At six he moved back to Belgium to the International School of Belgium, where no uniform was required, but guards checked the car every time we drove to school for explosives. His fellow students contained the kids of the movers and shakers of Europe and beyond. We were happy to hear that his spoken French still sounded authentic with that wonderful throaty sound, that his parents have never mastered.


Hong Kong high rises
At seven he moved to Hong Kong and with an impressive Ni Hao took up Chinese and learned to tie a tie like his Dad each morning which he wore with a rather over the top Aussie green blazer with gold piping. 

His life as an Expat Third Culture Kid was in full flight. His home life now included a domestic helper and a driver…and a Mum saying ‘even though we have full time help you still need to tidy your room', which he shared with his eldest sister. 

He watched the Hong Kong Rugby Sevens and competed in China for Touch Rugby and played soccer. He swam throughout the summer either at home or the Clearwater Bay Country Club, where we played tennis. We lived with extreme humidity and high pollution. School was occasionally closed when a Typhoon eight or above warning was posted.

Luna Park, Melbourne
At ten we moved back to Australia and for a year was at an all boys school, he transferred into the co educational school with his sisters. He continued playing tennis in the summer and soccer in the winter and took up guitar.

At thirteen he became a bronze surf live saver, by now his swimming lessons had advanced to squad level and he spent a summer in his red and yellow surf lifesaving gear.


Life's a beach as a surf lifesaver.
At fourteen he went on a six week Canadian exchange to York School, Toronto, and at sixteen he was awarded the Year 10 Indian exchange scholarship , becoming a student for six months at an Indian boarding school in the foothills of the Himalayas. His room mates were from all over the globe. His love of soccer helped him fit in and he went on soccer tour to New Delhi in 2012.


On top of the world in India, 2012
He has been at his present school for six years. When he arrived in Year Seven we never fully expected that he would remain at the same school long enough to open his memory box in Year 12. It was fun to see all the things packed away, including his stitches from when he cut his knee and went to hospital!

Memory box included: Year 7 camp letter, tennis ball, U12's soccer medal, a guitar plectrum,
a Digimon token, Hong Kong money  and cufflinks.

Next week his Year 12 International Baccalaureate exams start. As we reflect back on his many schools and varied life we know this is just the start. We will be interested to see with this global education behind him where he ends up studying and working next! Anyone want to hazard a guess?!


Linking with Our World Tuesday And Thursday Favourite Things blog hop
and Alphabe Thursday : XYZ... School's out for Ever!






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