Thursday, September 18, 2008

Oh Canada!

Hi and sorry for the loooooooooong gap. I don't know where the days went!

To start with, I think we have been really busy with school. Our son leaves at 8 and our daughter at about 8.40. Both had to take an extra pair of soft soled sports shoes to leave in school for gym class. My son also takes a towel and set of gym clothes on the days that he has gym.

So far my son in sixth grade:

Loves school!
Likes his teachers.
Has to read at least four books a month, and write about it in his reading journal.
Has French, which he is learning for the first time. All the other kids are two years ahead, so his teacher helps him at lunch time with extra work to catch up.
Is sharing a locker. The kids keep all their books, lunch and gym clothes in their locker, and take what they need for each class.
They have art, music, library and also a counselling class everyweek.
For homework, they give thought provoking work.......where the kids have to think and do their own work and learn from what they are doing. For example: Yesterday my son had to list 30 different types of transportation. Then he had to divide the thirty into three different classifications. He chose, wheels and no wheels, commercial bulk passenger and non-commercial, and classification on what the particular transport runs on: like fuel (cars), human power (canoe) or nature (hang gliders). He spent a good hour doing this, and he had fun doing it.
He had his class picture taken yesterday. We got a form from the photographers to fill out for this. We had a choice of background color, pose and if we wanted his name on the picture or not. The minimum rate for the basic package of 8 2by3 photos, was 16 dollars. Five dollars more to put his name on them. They also had calendars, magnets, different size photos and other things that you could have the photo on, and all this costs extra. We took the basic package, chose the pose, background color and put the money in the cover and sent him to school for his photo!
So far, anything graded has not come back with a letter grade (A, B,C+ etc) or a number grade (88/100 for example), here it has been level one, level two, level three or level four. Level four means the best work, and of course level one means you didn't even understand the concept of what you had to learn.

My daughter in third grade:

Is picking up Canadian slang very quickly. 'You know what', is a common phrase here.
Is learning the Canadian national anthem, and wants to know if she is a Canadian now that she sings the Canadian anthem and not the Indian one.
Has to read for fifteen minutes minimum every day and has to write two sentences about what she read.
Has a math workbook, where she gets a page or two of homework twice a week. This week the class is going over the spelling of one to hundred.
Is having her class picture taken on Monday. No form to fill out for her yet.

What else did we do? Our furniture that we ordered a few weeks ago finally came in yesterday. Two guys carried all the furniture upstairs (beds, dressers, chest of drawers etc) and made sure all the pieces were fine and not damaged. One dresser drawer had a crack, so that is being replaced this coming week. So after nearly two months here, we are sleeping on beds!!

Have also started driving lessons!! I called up many driving schools and found one that I was comfortable with. I asked for my first lesson last Wednesday at 11.30. The driving instructor was here on the dot. You quickly learn here that people are punctual and are always on time. She first showed me the automatic gear system (I was used to driving a manual car in India) and off we went before I could even get nervous. We first drove around the block, then once she realized that I could steer and brake, we went on the main road. She asked me to make right and left turns, park on an uphill, park on a downhill and practice three point turns. Before I knew it, one hour was up and we were back at home. For my second class, I practiced parallel parking, and driving on crowded roads. Saturday is my next class. I'm trying to get as much driving practice as I possible can, and do my test in the first week of October. Keep your fingers crossed for me!! They charge 30 dollars an hour, which is the normal fee. All the schools seem to charge the same rates.

It has been getting colder with every passing day. It was 9 degrees the other morning, and both kids bundled up in long sleeve shirts and jackets for school. If the sun is out, it can be cold, while your skin feels like it is burning at the same time. It is strange and will take some time to get used to the odd weather here.

Every morning we read the paper.........and the big news here is the Canadian elections coming up next month. The hype is nothing like the U.S elections, but the fight is on here for electing the best candidate to be Prime Minister. Here, the Prime Minister heads the Government, but the Sovereign and Head of State is Queen Elizabeth IInd! It is a mix of the old and the new here, and the courts still follow the British system of having a Governor General.

Almost everyday we read about shootings, stabbings and other forms of murder, and we wonder why we are not packing our bags and running back to India. Like any other country, you have to take care of being safe, not go out at night to downtown areas and trust your instinct.

We watch NDTV here and just hearing their theme music makes us feel at 'home'.

Hi to all my readers out there............will continue our Canadian adventure by blogging about it...and hope that you enjoy reading it!

1 comment:

Karthik said...

Hi!
Read your entire blog post in one go ... it was fun and informative all the way ... keep the blogs rolling ... Oh! Have fun too! :)

Take Care