A GREAT school makes all the difference

Things are good.

Really good.

I mean nothing is perfect but we’re VERY much in a rhythm here in Siena now. I’m able to make some time to relax and the kids are doing great. They have friends, although they still don’t hang out nearly as much as they did in the US.

Today Max said to me out of the blue:

If I could take one thing from Italy and bring it to the US it would be my school and my amazing teachers.

He’s in the “early middle school” class. There are around 10 kids and two teachers (a married couple who splits the lessons) with one more joining next week (there’s a lot of comings and goings at international schools). About half of the students are Italians and half are international. One of the kids in his class just turned 16. Max is 12, and I asked if he was the youngest in his class and he said “I think so”. He also hangs out with some kids in “6th grade” (which would be 5th grade in the states) at recess and such.

I haven’t seen much of his homework because he just does it. I think I told you about the research he had to do on Pete Segar. They were doing a lesson on protest songs. I was talking to his teacher and she had wanted to get into some popular MODERN protest songs too, but the language is so bad she had to cut that out of the lesson.

In his spare time he’s been *addicted* to history channels on YouTube. He started with Roman history, but lately has been REALLY getting into World War One.

Charlie had just asked me to help her with writing a page with facts about Earth. She mentioned that Mt Everest isn’t the furthest from the core of the earth because the earth is fatter at the equator and a number of other facts, but none of those counted because “everyone in my class already knows those dad”.

So I decided to take a risk and ask Charlie if she liked her Siena school or Hilltown better.

Her answer?

I like them both the same.

I mean the things I like about Hilltown are the interactions. Every week we have community meeting all together, and at lunch we sit with other grades, and because you’re in the classroom for two years you’re with kids who are different ages than you all the time.

But the school in Siena seems a lot more interested in how you learn best. The way they teach is much more interesting.

This didn’t surprise me. The kids are LOVING actually learning in school. The other day we were talking about the Goldilocks Zone for planets and all sorts of other fun things at dinner.

Charlie did add…

Of course a lot of my friends are at Hilltown. Too bad I can’t bring Shavari (an Indian friend from Siena) home with us.

Ian is also doing really well. He’s setting in and making friends. He’s still challenging his teacher, but she’s handling him well. She’s Scottish so the other day when it was raining she taught them Scottish dancing. That sort of physical stuff helps Ian focus throughout the day.

Tristan also loves his school. There are days he doesn’t want to go, but most of the time he’s super excited to be there.

We’re all looking forward to my mom visiting again in a couple of weeks and then heading to France to see Amy Short and then Carcassonne and Barcelona for Easter break. We’re going to meet Scott and Lynn in Cinque Terre in April and *may* also take another trip in April or May (Greece? Switzerland?), then we’re taking June off from school. There’s only actually around 2 weeks of school in June so we’re blowing off the entire month to hopefully meet up with some Henriques travelers and travel on our own a little more before heading back in July.

Oh and what’s the one thing that Max wishes he could take from the US to Italy?

Peanut butter! Including Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups.