The boys’ school has a great program to deal with uneaten portions of their lunches. Through Second Harvest, the students are encouraged to leave fruit, sandwiches, and snacks in special bins that are delivered to a 40-bed shelter for youth across the street. The students can also volunteer to deliver the food as part of the extensive community service program the school facilitates.I also learned on the weekend that it was some students from this school that started the Out of the Cold Program in Toronto twenty years ago. Our parish participates in the program, but due to much needed repair work in the church basement, we’re looking for a another neighborhood church to provide space this winter.
For some months now, Michael has wanted to learn Japanese and has been asking me to find him lessons. This comes out of his love of videogames, manga, and all things Asian, Japanese in particular.I wasn’t able locate lessons anywhere remotely close to us in Atlanta, and with the impending move, I just put it off. Two weeks ago, we registered at the Toronto Japanese Language School, and he had his first class last week. His (beginner) group is more or less a “teen” class, with about 18 students ranging in age from 10 to 20 years. The class runs for tw0-and-a-half hours every Saturday morning, through the school year. It was clear at registration that the classes are a very multi-cultural bunch, and not only children of Japanese parents as I thought they might be. He very much enjoyed the first class and headed off this morning for the second one, at which he’ll get his textbook. He wants to live and work in Japan. This is one of the steps toward that goal, that he has identified on his own, and that he is actively pursuing. I am very gratified to see him working towards goals at his young age. He is becoming more and more independent, in a very healthy way, and I am very proud of him.
Z and I headed down to the lads’ school last night to meet their teachers. It was the usual routine, although very well organized as all the events at this school have been. We picked up the boys’ timetables in the front hall, were offered bottles of water and a map of the school, and there were students in uniform throughout the school directing parents to classrooms. We rotated through the student schedule in 12 minute “periods” which gave the teachers time to introduce themselves, talk a little about the curriculum, and cover some high points regarding expectations of students.Z took Mike’s schedule and I took Alex’s. All the teachers I met were clearly competent, enthusiastic about teaching at the school, enjoy the boys, and like the subjects they teach. Z felt the same way about Mike’s teachers, although he has fewer as he’s in Grade 7 so he has the same teacher for five of his eight subjects (Math, Geography, English, Religion, and PE.) The year is going pretty well so far, particularly for Michael. Because he joined the school at an entry year, all the boys are new and the teachers have been working with them to instill good habits and a community feeling. He has been getting up early on his own, which is totally out of character, getting dressed and making his lunch, so that he can get to school early and organize himself. He’s joined the Lego Robotics club, and has been staying after school to do his homework in the library with some friends. It’s been a little slower start for Alex, as there are very few new students above Grade 9, and so no real easing into the school community. But he enjoys his teachers, is running cross country, and is making some friends.
Given the current state of our overfilled house and our quest to downsize, we’ve been getting rid of a lot of stuff. Like, 2-3 trips to Goodwill per week. And we’re very focussed on not buying anything that doesn’t have an immediate purpose to make our lives simpler and/or more organized.Shopping for school supplies was something of a respite from this self-imposed clutter diet. Neither of the boys got much in the way of supply lists from the school which is great. I guess private schools don’t need parents to replenish their stock of paper towels and hand sanitizer. A few binders, dividers, some paper, and new pencil cases pretty much covered it. Hard-assed mom (me) said “no” to new pencils or pens as we have them by the handful. They each got a new white plastic eraser because, well, white plastic erasers are a joy and they didn’t have them back-in-the-day (except in Grade 11 when I took drafting and I had to go to an art store to get ’em.) We made it out of Staples for under $100 for the two of them. And let me just say for the record that I **miss** my local Office Max in the ATL. (Alex accuses me of dissing our time in the US too much, so there!) Office supply stores were all over the place in our Atlanta suburb. Sort of like nail salons. They were big, beautiful, and had cool stuff. Plus an awesome rebate program that kept me supplied in gift cards for more great swag. That could explain the handfuls of pens and pencils….