Friday, February 25, 2011

School Days Craze

photo from 2009

Yes, we have been in a "school days craze" ever since returning from vacation and our ABWE retreat two weeks ago. With three pages, single-spaced worth of required items for EACH child, we have never been more thankful for Mastercard. (Okay, I'm being facetious. But admit it, you know what I mean, ha!)

I won't go into all the details so as not to be a bore, but let's just say that notebooks abound! Not the spiral kind but the small, stitched ones which fortunately are a bit cheaper. Except that what you save there, you then have to spend on notebook covers (because each one is required to have a color-coordinated cover depending on the subject matter.) And each of my kids has at least 10 notebooks, because for the most part Chilean school is like American college: you listen and take notes, starting in first grade!

Why, then, do we spend so much on textbooks? Because actually, we do have to buy textbooks for English and Math in addition to half a dozen or more paperback reading books for each student. In fact, the cost of textbooks for Chilean elementary school is again, like American college. Crazy expensive! I'm not sure why textbooks couldn't be reused from year to year, but that just isn't the way it's done here. And the problem is, you cannot find all the books in one place. In fact, this year I've been to SEVEN different stores and still don't have every single book that is required.

(Note: In the same way, there is no single store that sells all the pieces of the uniform. We went to six or seven stores for that as well, before finally declaring victory.)

And finally, there the "other" stuff parents are required to buy that fall outside the normal pencils, erasers, etc. ... there's printer paper (two reams per child) and toilet paper and paper towels and Lysol spray and sponges and whiteboard markers and permanent markers and sticky tac and plastic sleeves and other things I can't think of right now.

So needless to say, when I write "school days" I really mean "school DAZE" and when I write "craze" I really mean "CRAZED" because that's about how I feel right now! Thankfully, I really do love my kids' school! :)

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