For most schools in Japan, the school year is from April to March with a few intervals off between each of the three trimesters (spring, fall and winter). We're looking forward to about two weeks off before L,N,M&J begin 3rd, 5th, 8th and 9th grades respectively. Ninth grade is the final year of mandatory education here and J will need to study for and take examinations to qualify to enter a high school. Both public and private high schools require some sort of tuition but the public schools cost much less.
The schools are rated on the level of competition to enter and the difficult to enter places seem to have more rigorous academic levels. There is a large variety of schools, some more academic, some offering practical occupational training. Most of the kids from our junior high school tend to go to the academically oriented schools in hopes of continuing on to university or occupational training schools later. We visited a few schools last year to get a feeling for where she might like to attend but have made no choices regarding goals as of yet.
I imagine that as M has different interests and strengths, we'll have to do the same school touring and searching next year to find an appropriate school for her. I'm thinking that I won't possibly be able to attend all the PTA meetings in a few years when we have children in four different schools, two of them probably a train ride and/or a bus ride away. I already have a hard time making it to all of the class meetings with two children each in two neighborhood schools.
I missed N's last class meeting last week because my IV took longer than expected and I decided to meet Mrs. Y for a late lunch instead of rushing back to apologize for missing the meeting. I made it to L's mini concert and last class meeting of the school year after pumping furiously back to the elementary school on my one-speed bicycle from a short afternoon of M and J's presentations in the jr. high gym. This Friday I'll attend half of a class meeting each for J and M as they've been scheduled for the same time after a general meeting in the gym for the 7th and 8th grade parents. Then in April, we do it all again to meet the new teachers...
I enjoyed the company of my neighborhood British friend on my trip to the cancer center today. She met me on the way to the station at 6:30 this morning and brought along crossword puzzles and a book to entertain me. She was even pleasant when the steroids made me all sleepy and I couldn't help out with the clues too much. I hope she had time for a nap this afternoon after the early morning and long trip. I slept for about an hour after I got home while L and two friends played Nintendo games in another room. Not much of a hostess...but L was glad to be able to have his friends over as he usually goes off to play at their places and we need to reciprocate once in a while.
Posted by Kathy on Tuesday, March 11, 2008