Our second school year in England came to an end on July 5th. It’s hard for me to believe we’ve already done two years of school here; it has, without any doubt or hyperbole, been the very best part of this move.
I know full well it’s not a typical school that my children go to – it’s in a castle for goodness sake – and I also know full well that it’s not the only school like this in England by a long shot.
I know that we are so lucky to have our children go to this school, and I know that we “got lucky” because Matt and I worked our asses off to make it so.
The school day here is organized for the benefit of the children more than any other school setting I’ve ever experienced.
The days and weeks and academic terms are built with the needs of kids in mind and are centered always around a balance of activity and learning.
It would NOT be difficult to replicate the school day here at any other school and I am quite sure that it would instantly make school more enjoyable for any child and therefore make them more successful and happy.
On the last day of school, on the way in in the morning, I asked the kids if they were excited to be going on summer vacation. To a man, they all said yes AND no – they were excited to be on break, but would be sad not be go to school. They literally love school that much here. Never, ever would that have happened before we came to this school.
Here, in a nutshell, is what I’ve learned in the two years we’ve been here:
My kids needed more activity in their school days. A lot more activity. Now that they have it, school is a blessing and not a curse.
Having more activity in the school day made my kids better students. They learn more and enjoy the learning more.
School uniforms make almost everything about my mornings simpler. The only thing that is slightly complicated is keeping track of all the different things each of my kids need. But I will gladly take that over fighting with them every morning about what they were wearing to school.
Youth sports IN school rather than AFTER school has drastically improved our family schedule.
The school calendar here – basically 6 weeks of school followed by at least a one-week break – is awesome.
My kids thrive when they are given more responsibility and more independence. That rolls over from school into home life.
It’s incredible to see the transformation my children have undergone since coming here and I’m hopeful that the foundation they’ve built here will carry over when we return home.
We have one year left and we’re going to wring everything we can out of it!