Friday, September 3, 2010


We had planned to have our kids attend the local public school for at least part of the time in order to meet other kids and learn more about the culture and language. We had a good meeting with the school administrators in our first week, and the oldest three were able to start attending some of the classes. After the first day or two, we decided it was actually simpler for them just to attend full time, even though the instruction is primarily in Norwegian. They bring along a book to read, or something to work on when the teacher is lecturing in Norwegian. The teachers have been very helpful, and several of the students have enough English to help our kids along as well. All three are making friends.
The school day starts at 8:30 am and ends at 2:30 pm on M-W, on Thursday they are done at 1:30, and on Friday I think they are done around 12:30. So, we should have plenty of time to do some work at home on their US studies, once the textbooks arrive with our ocean freight shipment.
The school is small, just one class per grade, but that is helpful to us as it is easier to meet people. The Norwegian love of the outdoors is evident here as well. The younger classes (grades 1-4) spend time outside each day, and once a week Middle Girl’s class spends most of the day (10 am to 2 pm) outdoors on an outing. The school has use of a forested area about a kilometer away, where there is a shelter, campfire ring, and lots of trails. The first week her class went up to pick mushrooms (there seem to be several edible varieties. They were looking for two different ones in particular and collected quite a few). The next week they were up gathering blueberries, which were also plentiful. We were invited to go along on the first outing, because it was the same day we were all up at the school to meet the administrators. It was certainly a contrast to the more structured approached in most US schools. Two classes went together, and there were three teachers along. Once up at the shelter, the kids ate their lunches, the teachers gave them some instructions about the mushrooms, and they were off to explore--most in self-formed small groups. Apparently there are very strict rules about not going near the road, but otherwise they had quite a bit of freedom. And for the most part they behaved themselves and were fully engaged in exploring the woods. Everything felt a little more relaxed and informal that I would expect back home. I talked with the teacher a bit, and he commented that he likes the outings, because it gives the kids a chance to learn by exploring and doing. I think they try to relate what they do to what they learn in the classroom, but in a very informal way. Middle Girl, of course, just eats this up and thinks Norway is the best place to go to school ever!
Walking to School
In the forest to pick mushrooms and blueberries

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