This week we have been busy preparing for the start of school. For the last year, I've been home schooling Tyson and Jori. We had planned to home school for 6 months and then enroll the kids in the new school year in January. As you know, like in many other areas, things did not go according to plan. Home schooling was never what we had in mind for our family long term, and now that we've decided to extend our stay here in South Africa, we've also decided it's time to enroll the kids in school.
On Tuesday, we took the kids to Jabulane Christian Academy for their enrollment testing. Jabulane is the closest English speaking school to us. It is part of Bethesda Outreach, which is an organization that has a children's village here in Hammanskraal. Most of the 80+ children at the school are from this children's village and the rest are from the surrounding communities. We met the principal at the school and she took Tyson and Jori to administer their tests. She came out to tell us they both passed with flying colors. Tyson will be joining the second grade class in their second semester, and Jori will be joining the first grade class.
After the testing was completed, we picked up a list of school supplies at the office and headed into town. We soon realized that shopping for school supplies in a foreign country is not as easy as we assumed it would be. Here are some of the items on the list that I struggled to find, in large part because I didn't even know what I was looking for:
-1 filing pocket
-A4 Carry folder with press stud
-4 Exercise books, 72 pages (there were no less than 5 items labeled "Exercise book" with 72 pages on the shelf)
-1 Quad book
-4 Irish line books (I later found out from a friend that this is a book of paper with skinny lines, while Feint and Margin has wider lines, much like college rule and standard rule notebooks in the states)
We left the shop with barely a dent in our school supply list, 2 hungry children, and a mother almost in tears. Unlike most women, shopping is not an activity I enjoy, and that level of enjoyment sinks much lower when I don't even understand what I'm trying to buy. Darin was not part of this school supply hunt as he was sitting with a sales associate at the front of the store trying to get me a new phone.
We decided to go to a different store to get the kids' school uniforms. We managed to buy a grey skirt, long grey socks and a long sleeved white shirt for Jori, but nothing for Tyson. We tried a pair of pants on him, but seeing as they were hanging off of his waist and not covering his ankles, we quickly decided that we'd had enough shopping fun for one day.
On Thursday, we headed back to the shops to figure out why my new phone wasn't receiving any phone calls and to try and find school shoes for Tyson and Jori. We went to deal with the phone situation first and found out that I had been given a phone number that was already in use, which was awesome because I had actually memorized this phone number the day I received it, something I hadn't managed to do with my old number in a year. Next we headed to a shoe store that had been recommended to us. Tyson tried on a pair of shoes, which seemed to fit, but they had nothing in Jori's size, so we headed to the next store. Apparently good school shoes are very expensive and the rest of the school shoes only last about 2 months. We finally left the mall feeling like we paid way too much money on black shoes, but we're hoping to find a better deal in Pretoria this weekend.
I'll leave you with a short interview I gave both of the kids.
How are you feeling about going to school?
T-I'm feeling excited.
What do you think the best thing about school will be?
T-Music and Library
Is there anything about going to school that makes you feel scared or nervous?
T-Nothing. Well one thing. Bullies.
J-I'm away from my mama.
Do you think you should just stay home with your mom and let her teach you some more?
T-No. Cause I want to go to a real school
J-No. I want to go to school because home school is never like school.
Is there anything else you want to tell me about school?
J-I bet it will be fun.