School Part I: The Affair of the Camp Thing
See, there's this thing called "camping".
For those of you, like me, who hear the word and think "You mean a resort with only dial-up?", wow, no. Okay, insane, but--people go out into the woods and stay there. Seriously! So you can imagine my bewilderment when Child brought home a list of supplies required for this "camping" thing. There's no internet. And sit down--no TV. I'm flummoxed.
Sleeping Bag -- not just for parties! Who knew?
Flashlight -- for more than searching under the bed for that RAM you lost.
Towels -- ...woods don't have towels?
Fishing Pole -- apparently, you buy a metal stick that is--okay, just bear with me--has some sort of thread on it. To this thread you attach various plastic toys that come with it. No, wait. Then you put the toys in a body of water! And I don't mean a swimming pool. Crazy.
(Apparently this is where food comes from? Did anyone know about this? Is it hygenic? I heard legends of peoples who take their food from the wilderness.)
Then clothes, sheets (sheet? WTF?), pillow, hygiene supplies, a chair (chair!), camera (dispoable), a daypack (for--water and suchlike), water bottle (I see the sense in this, two came with the daypack), duffle bag, and various.
Suffice to say, not much of this was actually on hand; I hadn't gone shopping for Child's summer clothes yet, which means I had to buy them now along with everything else in the universe. And socks, because--well, the sock god is not kind at our house.
So basically, Target owes me a Christmas Card and a gift certificate or something. God. *blank*
School Part 2: International
This year, the school sponsored a trip for parents to Turkey. It was actually an amazing deal, to be honest. I mean, seriously so. I was mulling going next year and thinking about the Europe trip the seniors take and the fact that Child will need a new laptop in about a year or two for school. Part of this is parental spoiling, but also because every class he has requires a computer and the school computers are really, really good. Plus, they do both electronics and programming in junior high and the one he has now isn't going to hold up in two years from teh class schedule I looked at. Frankly, the one I got him won't do design easily and I spent two weeks with it before I got John II, so I know its limits.
However, the mulling shortened when Child mentioned that next year, the Turkish trip might be parent/child, and okay, that would be so cool! Since Child is taking Turkish, he can practice.
...I need three jobs, seriously.
I keep thinking how normal it is for him to have all these extracurricular intellectual activities; he and the other boys in his class have Monday math game meetings at their math teacher's house, which are basically pre-alg tutorials (the girls have it at a female teacher's house). They have afterschool Harmony Players as well (singing!) and festivals and it's just the coolest thing ever.
One of the things that's been--not bothering, but I'm mulling--is the separation of the boys and girls. Not as in, exclusion, but a separate and equal for extra-curricular stuff, not in the classrooms or during school activities. I'm not entirely sure how I feel about it.
I think, from observation and talking with him, I'm feeling positive about it. I like it for a lot of reasons, and I'm comfortable with the fact this is a cultural restriction that Child understands that even though we don't share those restrictions, while going to school and accepting the hospitality of those who do practice it, he needs to observe it and respect it as well.
The top students in his class--in most classes--are girls, and I wonder if other than the cultural restrictions, the limited boy-only and girl-only work helps the girls be comfortable with their voices, since this age is when boys, as a rule, start getting louder in the classroom.
Not to mention the fact they're getting to the age of like-like and limited distraction sounds good to me. Half his teachers are women, including his science and his English, and I've brought it up with him to see how he feels about it. I can't fault the balance; the boys activities have an equivalent girl activity with a female teacher. It does make me wonder if I'd had that opportunity in school if it would have been beneficial.
It's odd, though. It *is* a different culture, or several since we have several untyped countries now residing (I seriously sat there fascinated while a group spoke a language I couldn't even reference by rhythm; I have a feeling this is the family from Africa (country untyped; Child never remembers), since I'd worked out Egypt, Turkey, and at least one Arabic speaking family (then again, they could have been speaking a dialect of Arabic, which was my first thought; it's not like I'd know by listening), that he deals with on a daily basis and seems to understand. At least, I haven't gotten any complaints about dramatic cultural clashes, and in this school, they are not shy about telling parents about unacceptable behavior.
I am looking forward to the festival coming up. One day I'd love to get a breakdown of the schools ethnic and race populations; from the parents I met, there's several recent-immigration or second-generation, which makes me curious. I kind of wonder if this is the other reason the school put uniforms in place as well.
I should join the PTO. They just scare me.