two Dutch schools

This is what I wrote at the beginning of last month, after talking to the Christelijk Gymnasium’s um. Afdelingsleider. Admissions-guy. Oo, losing my English, bad sign. Anyway:

he said probably third-year, but the third-years are taking their second year of Greek already, so Ignatz should probably join the second-year class. He might be a bit ahead in some other subjects, but since he still has to learn Dutch, I personally think that’d be a good thing. So does DrBob.

That’s the information we went into the meeting with. We talked to Mr V, the afdelingsleider, and Ms B, the Latin-and-Greek teacher, who happens to be German, so we did the whole thing in German. We talked about the possibility of bumping Ig back to the second year, and it seems that they don’t know yet if there’ll be room in the second year. That depends on how many of this year’s class manage to advance to the third year, and they won’t know that until the grades are in, June-ish. Then Ms B actually asked Ignatz what he thought about it. Whoa, concept! Ask the kid! Okay, normally I would think of that, I just sort of hadn’t gotten around to it yet. Ignatz, major surprise, said no, he’d rather be in the third year with his age-mates.

So Ms B recommended we buy the Greek 1 textbook and try to bring him up to speed by September. (Don’t look at me like that – the way they teach languages in high school, a talented kid could do a year’s work in a few months. I know because I did it: I missed the first month of my sophomore year because I was visiting family in Indonesia. I took my French and Spanish textbooks with me, did a chapter a day, and when I got back I was so far ahead of my classmates that I didn’t have to do anything until February.)

DrBob was made his skeptical face at all this, but if there’s no space in the second-year class, there’s no space. So Mr V suggested that Ignatz start off in the third year, we could reexamine the situation in November, and move him back to the second year if he’s really floundering. We all nodded.

We discussed it again over dinner tonight. DrBob wanted to overrule Ignatz, and just plunk him in the second year right away. We’ve had this argument many times, with DrBob on the “he is a child, we make decisions for him” side, and me on the “he will learn to make good decisions by occasionally making bad ones, our job as parents is to catch him when he falls” side. I’m not sure why I keep winning this one, since nearly every time, DrBob is proven right (so to speak. E.g., the last big fight was over whether Ig should take the science track or the humanities track in his current school – he chose science, I backed him up, his grades were crappity crap crapola, and in DrBob-world, this proves that science was the wrong choice). I don’t know why he gave in this time, but he did. So I’m about to be a partly homeschooling mom.

In Greek. Huh. Okay.

At the other school, St Bonifatius, the admissions guy said basically: “His lack of French and Greek will be a problem. I’ll see if I can figure out a way to get around that.”

We are amazed. Dutch school people are flexible! Germans are… not. REALLY not. Not willing to make any kind of concession to unusual circumstances, not even willing to admit that you might know more about your own kid than they do. We had no idea people could be so helpful and cooperative and open-minded.

So it looks like he will get into some school, somehow, so there’s no kid-based reason to postpone the move, or to move somewhere other than Utrecht. Therefore, we’re looking at this summer, and indeed, my Whole Year to Get Ready has shrunk to maybe four months. Maybe three.


Song du jour of the day: see, this is why I love Eurovision so much, because anything can happen. Belgium’s fielding an Elvis impersonator! Voilà, the cheerfully ghoulish Copycat, by Patrick Ouchène.

4 responses to “two Dutch schools

  • Elemmaciltur

    Four months?! So soon??! *heul*

    But yeah, The Netherlands seems a lot more accommodating than Germany.

  • Melanie

    Wow, good luck with the Greek. I totally believe you about the work load, I’m sure you guys can do it. And I am so glad to hear that they were flexible with you, I hope the whole school experience improves!!! And when are you going to Seattle to visit N? ; )

  • Nate

    one big ol’ “Second” on the “smaht kids can catch up in a public-school foreign language class” deal. homeschooling definitely teaches you how smart your kids are, and a big part of the answer is “a lot smarter than public schooling allows them to show”.

    and yeah, when are you coming to Seattle to visit me? after I get there, I hope. : )

  • what we know about school so far « alala

    […] 19 07 2009 Those of you following Ignatz’s academic exploits will recall that I was teaching him Greek so he’d be ready for the third year of his new school. Yeah, that didn’t work out. […]

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