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There’s news.

Some people already know, most don’t: we are moving back to England.

We don’t want to. None of us want to, but we have to salvage the boys’ education before it is too late. If we had more time or more money, we could probably sort it here, but, at this stage of Jake’s schooling, it’s too late. The only way we can pick up the pieces now, is to get back into the English school system as quickly as possible with the hope that the boys then manage to get through with some qualifications – ANY qualifications – because, at the stage they are both at right now, it’s more than they will manage here.

So, that’s what we are doing: returning to England. Soon. Like, next week.

Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a rash or sudden decision.
It will seem like it to everybody else, but it’s been something we’ve been quietly handling for a while, and with the addition of some health problems that one of us has been suffering with lately, it’s time.

So there you are.

The lorry is (all being well) picking up our stuff late next week and we are flying over soon after.

We have a ton of stuff to sort. The apartment this end, our house at the other end (it currently has tenants who now have notice), moving temporarily into the home of a family member who has very kindly offered us the use of her home until ours is vacant again, not to mention getting the boys into school.

So much to do.

So I’d better get back to packing boxes.

See you on the other side.
Maybe I’ll be able to get my thoughts on “paper” (virtually speaking) better then.

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Not my original choice.
Not even my second original choice.
But something I decided might be a little bit different.

X is for Xenophobia

flagsSomething everybody probably considers (or certainly should!), before moving to a completely different country, is how they will be accepted by the locals; the people who become neighbours; colleagues; friends and possibly even family.

It would be naive, I think, to expect everybody to welcome you with open arms, particularly if you are coming over looking for work. In a time when local unemployment is high, nobody is going to appreciate “the foreigners” who come in “taking locals’ jobs”.

Sound familiar?

Regardless of whether it affects you or not, it’s a sentiment that is difficult to get away from in the media in ANY country.

Obviously, we are in the fortunate position of not needing local jobs so this isn’t something we have experienced here, but I would imagine that it happens here just as it does anywhere else.

We are also fortunate that we have never really experienced any form of xenophobia or prejudice based on the fact that we are English living in Portugal.

People have been, on the whole, very friendly and accommodating. The Portuguese are a sociable lot anyway, and even as we struggle along with the language, we find ourselves welcomed in by people who will often go out of their way to speak to us in our native language rather than theirs.

Sure, there have been (many) times when “Fala Inglês?” has been met with a po-faced “Não!” (often followed by fast-paced Portuguese on their part and mindless nodding on mine!) but even when there have been clear language barriers, we have never been made to feel unwelcome or alienated.

confusedJake’s first head of year, when we moved here, spoke little English (school teachers who don’t speak English cause me the most fear because it’s such an important thing to be discussing: schooling, and I’d hate to misinterpret something!) but he was very enthusiastic about having Jake in his class at a time when it was absolutely CRUCIAL that Jake be welcomed in. He (the teacher) went out of his way to speak to us in English, helping both us (as new arrivals in the country) and himself (wanting to improve his language skills) and spent considerable time ensuring that Jake understood what he needed to in their classes together (he was the science teacher). It was lovely, and it really made a difference.

Some teachers are more old school, of course. Eliot’s first teacher (she’s been mentioned before!) was a formidable force of nature. I kid you not! She spoke (or claimed as such, anyway) no English whatsoever so meetings between us were terrifying (I can only imagine how Eliot felt!)

Having said that, at no point did I ever feel that she held our lack of language skills against me or, more importantly, Eliot. We still see Professora Ana on a fairly regular basis (she teaches a class at Eliot’s current school) and she still scares the bejesus out of me, but she’s lovely really. Friendly and approachable, even in the face of my pigeon Portuguese!

Now, I suppose all of the above is helped by the fact that we live in a tourist area. The locals, in general, are used to being amongst English (and Germans and Dutch and Aussies and many more!) and I am sure that the fact that we actually live here goes unnoticed by many in our day to day life.
It is entirely possible that it would be very different if we had moved to a small village in the hills. I can’t speak for those people. I’m sure there are communities where “outsiders” or “immigrants” (which is what we are!) are ostracised, particularly as not everybody who moves to a different country is quite so mindful of their new locale.

I am certain that there will be pockets of English who live like they are still in England (I’m choosing the English just as an example. Not because other nations are not guilty of this also)They make little or no effort to learn or speak the local language, they don’t socialise beyond their little group of English friends, and they wouldn’t be seen dead eating the local cuisine.

It happens in England, right? I have no doubts that it probably happens here too, and in these cases you could argue that the locals would have every right to feel somewhat resentful. It puts out an erroneous impression though, both of the English and of the Portuguese, and it’s a shame. But, I suppose, it happens world over.

At the end of the day, if you move to a new place with the intention to RESPECT that country, its traditions and its locals, I am fairly certain that you will usually be welcomed openly.

Certainly in the Algarve, we have encountered very little prejudice against us for being English. We have made an effort to get out and make friends, to learn the language and to generally get along.

That’s what life’s about, right?

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Yep yep. It’s that time of year already.

The boys have been off school for nearly 4 weeks already and, boy, don’t I know it?!

We made the decision not to send Eliot to the Kids Club which he has been going to in the summer for the past two years, mostly because we just can’t afford it. It’s lovely that the kids get to do so many great things there, but it’s a trek across to Luz twice a day and it’s money we don’t have.

So, both boys are home for the 3 months of summer. Yikes!

tearing-hair-out

Fortunately, the Hand family (well, the males!) have a new hobby: Archery!

Jake with his compound bow

Since the last update, after Eliot and Nik had a taster session, they have found themselves a more local archery club and our home is now full of equipment. The club itself, Archery Fun, also has guest bows so our visitors have been enjoying a bit of archery too!

Wendy and Rod on their recent visit

Which reminds me, I recently celebrated a… let’s say “significant” birthday and my family flew over to surprise me! I had no idea that this had been planned for months and months. Wendy just turned up at the door on the Friday and Mum and Rod appeared on the Saturday morning!! (They had all flown over together but Wendy was staying with us – cue me running around making the bed and tidying up – and Mum and Rod were staying nearby)

I was in shock for at least 48 hours and then I got old. Such is life!

It was a wonderful surprise though.

Anyway, back to the archery.
Both boys – actually all THREE boys – are loving their new hobby. The club is open 3 evenings during the week and both Saturday and Sunday mornings, and usually, they go to each session. The kids don’t go to every session but Nik usually does (with one or both kids, depending on who wants to go)

They are all doing really well at it. And anything that gets Jake out of the house cannot be a bad thing, can it?

passfail

And so to the school updates.

This year was a tricky one. I think I mentioned earlier in the year that Jake was not doing well at the end of his first term in year 8. He failed a lot of subjects, and it was a huge reality check for us all. We had no idea he was slipping so badly, and I think he had just presumed he could coast by on the level of work he had always done.

Not so, buddy!

One thing we did discover, and this could have a lot to do with his shocking result, is that he had been moved into a more ‘mainstream’ class.
Since he started school here 3 years ago, he has been in very mixed classes with a wide range of ages (he’s usually been the youngest) and with the more ‘challenging’ children (something his head-of-year let slip last year). There may have been allowances made, in his grades, for this.

Now, I can understand why they did this when he first started but clearly, at the end of year 7, they decided that his ability was such that he could join the ‘normal’ ranks and his class this year was made up of his own age group and clearly more able students.

This turned out to be a bit of a disadvantage for my ‘coaster’, until he was rudely awakened by failing 6 subjects by the end of term 1!

So, we introduced blackmail and bribery (as every good parent should, right?) and he had picked up 3 of those grades by the end of term 2. Kudos to Jake! Study paid off!

He is still below par in those same 3 (History, Geography and Science) at the end of term 3 but, because both his Maths and Portuguese (which he still studies as a foreigner rather than alongside the ‘natives’) were good enough, it was still enough to pass year 8.

Well done, Jake. It was definitely hit and miss for a while but he did it.

Congratulations

Congratulations to both of our boys

Eliot, who was held back in year 3 last year, also passed this year and so he moves into year 4. It will be an incredibly difficult year for him and I think we shall have to come up with some blackmail and bribery techniques for him also. Year 4 is a big exam year (they have to pass exams to move into year 5 which is a change of school) and Eliot’s reading in Portuguese is still very below par. Speaking – he can do until the cows come home (and the cows would probably stay away just for the peace and quiet!) but his reading and spelling is poor. We may have to consider a tutor for him, now he’s a little bit older.

Year 9 is also a big exam year for Jake. It’s the final year of their stage of schooling, after which they move to Portuguese secondary (years 10, 11 and 12) which is the equivalent of A-levels. He seems WAYYYY too young for this stage of life!

So both boys will have to work hard in the coming school year. I foresee many tears and tantrums and not enough study.

Still, at least we have summer to enjoy first.

View from The Lighthouse bar at the Marina

And speaking of summer and holidays, Nik and I have a trip to Florence at the end of this month. Yes, just US!
We are visiting, well, I am visiting for a Buffy and Angel convention – Slayer ItaCon – and so we took the excuse to go as a couple and Pat (Nik’s mum) is coming to babysit the boys for a week.

I’m super-excited to be meeting James Marsters and  Nicholas Brendon and hearing James and his son, Sullivan, two-fifths of Ghost of the Robot, play live – I’m a big GOTR and James Marsters fan – and we are both giddy about the prospect of an entire week in Florence on our own!

It’s going to be an amazing summer!

Hopefully, we won’t all fry to a crisp beforehand. The temperature during the day is well up in the high 30s, early 40s and even overnight is nudging 30. It’s seriously brain-frying.

I did have a week off from it when I visited Wendy in her new (yes, again!) home in Sleaford a couple of weeks ago though. It was pleasant there, warm and mostly sunny, and we did a few outdoorsy things on the days Wendy had off work – visited Belton House and did some gardening.

Belton House Orangery and Church – The sun is even shining in the UK right now!

The Lake House at Belton House

And perhaps we stopped from cream tea!

Cream Tea at Belton House

Of course, we also had a BBQ and a few… well, OK, lots of homemade Mojitos!

Homemade Mojitos

It was a good week actually. I enjoyed it.

The boys didn’t suffer too much without me. Nik’s sister was in Portugal for the week so they spent several days around the pool and being sociable with the in-laws here in the sun.

It was nice to get back to a bit of normality though. Until the next trip…

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It’s taken me a while to get chance to sit down and continue this A to Z. I’m starting to think that the entire alphabet is going to last more than a year. That’s something I never could have imagined at the start! Still, it’s a nice project to be getting on with and a bit of motivation to do more than just post photos on Facebook each time we do something fun!

Anyway, I’ve had my P topic for a while. Actually, I had several ideas for my P topic but lately which one to choose has become clearer.

P is for Priorities

In order to make our move to Portugal, we had to take a good look at our priorities.

Our life in England was comfortable. We had modest income (topped up with tax credits) to allow us to be self-employed and spend some time with our boys but we constantly felt restricted. There was little around us locally that inspired us, as a family and it’s no secret that we’d had itchy feet for a long time.

A move abroad, however, would come with huge sacrifices and definitely required us to look long and hard at our priorities.

In the UK, we could live comfortably in our own home and not have any real worries about money. We had our own 3 bed home with large garden in a pretty outlying village. We had a nice, smart, modern car. We could be in full control of our own business. We could visit family and friends whenever we felt like it. We would be in as much control of our lives as is possible to guarantee in this day and age.  Despite this, we weren’t settled.

In Portugal, there is always a concern that we won’t make ends meet. We work hard to ensure that our business makes enough money to cover our basic living expenses plus a little extra but, in order to do that, we have had to significantly change the way we work. We’ve had to sub-contract out various parts of our business and rely on others working with us. This is a scary position to be in, I can tell you.

We also now live in rental accommodation, something we’ve never done before. Our housing situation is also a little out of our hands as we are constantly aware that our landlady could decide to sell, if she so wanted (fortunately, she has other, empty properties she could sell first and that’d be difficult enough in a stagnant property market!) We had also had to take in tenants in our UK house and this puts another financial strain on our household. All well and good while the tenants are in but a huge burden should they decide to move on.

We own an old banger of a car. But not a cheap car. Oh no. There is no such thing as a cheap car here in Portugal. We now own the oldest car we’ve ever owned (it’s 15 years old) which cost us the most we’ve ever paid for a vehicle!

We’re now half a day or more from family and UK friends. The boys have lost contact with many of their school friends they grew up with and we’ve all had to find new friends in a foreign land.

Life here isn’t easy, by a long shot. It’s financially unstable and, at time, emotionally draining.

However, at the same time, it is beautiful and full of new opportunities.

Ponta de Piedade

Ponta de Piedade

Despite having less money, we are surrounded by things to do.

With the beach just a few minutes walk away, we can visit all year and enjoy the ever-changing scenery it presents us.

A trip to the beach in July

Meia Praia Beach in February!

The boys have both made new friends in school and Eliot, in particular, is happy to find friends where-ever he goes. He can be bossy in TWO languages now!

Boys playing with new friends at the Skate Park, Lagos

We have made some great friends ourselves and now get to spend quality time with them too, often enjoying outdoor visits, picnics, meals and new places together.

Our newly made good pals Dave and Aly (wave, guys!)

As well as making new friends, UK family and friends visit us here which is something that never happens in England!

My little sis on one of her (many!) visits

We get to learn about and share in a new Portuguese way of life, with it traditions and festivals.

Loulé Carnival 2012

And, as the Algarve typically has few weeks of bad weather per year, for 90+% of the year, all this happens in the sun, of course!

Sunrise on Meia Praia Beach

So, yes. We’ve made sacrifices with our move to Portugal.

We’ve sacrificed income, control, our own home, a nice car, ease of communication and having family on our doorstep.

In return, we have beautiful days, fabulous places, great friends and regular visitors.

A fair trade-off? I’d say so.

It’s all about priorities, innit?

It’s a hard life but someone’s gotta do it!

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It seems like ages since I posted a school update although, I suppose, it probably is!

Well, the school year is over and we’re 2 weeks in to the long, long, long summer holidays*

I have to admit, the holidays are easier for us this year, now that I’m not working for anyone except us any more. While this does mean we have a sizeable drop in income, it also means I have more time (well, more flexible time) to spend with my boys and, as long as we are still managing financially**, that’s worth more to us. I still do design work, if a client requests it though. That extra money is definitely always welcome!

So, end of another school year and definitely a different vibe to last year.

Last year, it was all something of an unknown. We hadn’t realised that Jake, being in year 6, would have big end-of-year exams in Maths and Portuguese in order to move from 2nd cycle to 3rd. Quite how he managed to pass those I have no idea. I guess we’re fortunate that he is intelligent enough in Maths to get a good grade and lift him out of the “automatic fail” group (which a failure in both Maths and Portuguese could be)

Year 7 has been a challenge for him though. Academically, it has been far more intense than Year 6 as there have been more subjects (Year 6 General science became 2 Science subjects in year 7. History and Geography split from one subject into 2)

There was a complete change of teachers, in all subjects, and an almost complete change of classmates as the classes are “scrambled” between each year and only a handful of his year 6 classmates were in the same year 7 class as Jake.

That said, Jake has coped admirably. Apart from some early wobbles with his Maths teacher (what is it about Maths teachers?!), he’s had a good year.

Results came out last Saturday and Jake, much to his relief, passed year 7 with flying colours! (in fact, coming 5th in his class of 21, with 4 students not passing at all!)

Well done, Jake!

So we’re all looking forwards to year 8, when they eventually go back in September.

Yesterday, we had Eliot’s school teacher meeting although we’d already been told his result. Actually, should I say, Eliot was told first, he told us and I had to confirm with his teacher at the end-of-term party.

Escola EB1 Meia Praia End of term mini show and party

Eliot hasn’t done so well this year. In fact, despite having a support teacher for 3 sessions a week this year, he seems to have progressed less this year than he did last year (come back, Professora Ana, all is forgiven!)

He’s had little or no homework and, apart from a huge improvement in both his oral and aural Portuguese, has gained little. He still struggles to comprehend written Portuguese and write Portuguese. All perfectly normal, under the circumstances, of course (Jake has had private lessons all year to help his. Eliot hasn’t) but it has meant that, unfortunately, Eliot didn’t pass year 3 this year.

In fact, this is actually a good thing. He has so much more to learn before he can enter year 4. Year 4 heralds the end of 1st cycle school and comes with big exams at the end of it. He’s a long way off getting there. Repeating year 3 will be a huge benefit to him. He probably should have repeated year 2 but hey, that’s in the past.

Obviously, he was pretty upset about “failing”. We’ve tried to explain to him that it’ll help him a lot to repeat year 3 and he’s starting to understand that. His classmates from year 3 will still be in his “class”, because they are a mixed year 3 and 4 class anyway, so that definitely softens the effect slightly.

In fact, yesterday, at the parents’ meeting, we also learned that, next year, due to class numbers, his class will consist of years 1, 3 and 4! (I can only assume that year 2 is a large group!)

That class mix might sound slightly strange (although remember that last year his class was years 1, 2, 3 and 4!) it will actually work to Eliot’s advantage. His teacher (whoever that might be. It may not be Professor Nuno again) will be able to involve Eliot in some of the year 1 work which could benefit him greatly and enable him to pick up some of those missing “basics” alongside his modified year 3 work.

I’m sure it must be difficult for a teacher to manage but, hopefully, it will be helpful for Eliot. Even if his homework is year 1 and his school work his adapted year 3 (they do adapt his standard curriculum work, to a certain degree, also), it should be much better for his progress. Meantime, he’s been sent home with four Year 2 books to do “holiday homework” from. Lucky boy!

So, as we head into the 3 month summer holidays, there are mixed emotions Chez Hand. Fortunately, we have lots to look forwards to. Visitors and visiting, days out and, no doubt, the occasional day when we batten down the hatches and hide from the sun!

Eliot and I are heading to London for a few days next week as a birthday treat for him. It’s something I did with Jake a couple of times, while we were in England and he was littler, but I’ve never done with Eliot. Needless to say, he’s very excited about playing tourist and staying with Aunty Wendy.

Nik and Jake will be left home. This doesn’t bode well for getting anything done. Xbox 24/7 is likely to be order of the day(s)! I won’t bother with a “while I’m gone” chores list.

Eliot will be starting at Click Kids Club in mid July. He’s looking forwards to that too. The interaction (in Portuguese as well as English) will do him good and, hopefully, Sofia, being the magical magician that she is, will be able to coerce Eliot into working through his homework (they have allocated study time, twice a week, which is BRILLIANT!)

Of course, a summer post wouldn’t be complete without a weather report, would it?

Weather has been warming up gradually over the past month or so. We’ve had some days in the high 30s and the past couple have been hazy but hot! I don’t suppose we’ll see much, if any, rain before about September/October now. It’s a tough life, eh?

I never get bored with our balcony view (apologies if you do!)

Click for our current 5 day forecast (you know you want to!)

*Did I mention how long the summer holidays were?

**Jury is still out on that one but so far, so good!

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The boys have been back to school for about 5 weeks now, I think. They eventually returned on 17th September after a long, long, long summer break of 3 whole months! (Did I mention how long it was?)

Anyway, Jake has settled quite well into his new class and adapted well to his new erratic timetable! He has 2 days where he does 10.15am to 6.30pm, a day where he only does 1.30pm to 6.30pm and 2 days of 8.30am to 1.30pm! It’s not so bad because we only live close to school (5 mins walk) and there’s always someone home anyway but I can imagine that sort of schedule plays havoc with a “normal” working home!

Eliot’s school timetable is much more normal. 9am til 3.30pm is the usual with extra-curricular subjects (2 per day) until 5.30 each day. He does English on a Tuesday, so finishes at 4.30 and Apoio Estudo (study support) and English on a Thursday, finishing at 5.30. He’s tolerating it (although he really isn’t best pleased about it!) for now.

He seems to be getting on ok with his new class format and teacher. The school is now split into 2 classes. Years 1 and 2 in one class and years 3 and 4 in another. This could have been disastrous for Eliot because last year, Eliot’s teacher had been letting him work, in Portuguese language lessons, with the lower class and now he can’t do that (because he’s in year 3 and year 2 are in a different room)

On the plus side though, he does seem to like his new teacher. Eliot says that he (the new teacher is male) is much calmer and quieter than Ana used to be (she was a formidable woman haha) but I’m sure that having a 2-year class of 15 rather than a 4-year-span class of 22 makes a difference too!

We’ve also been told that Eliot now has support in class 3 times a week with someone coming in to help him with his Portuguese. This is fantastic news (for us anyway, probably not for Eliot!) because Ana tried all year to get support last school year! It can only be a good thing, especially as he’s now having to “keep up” with the year 3 kids. Of course, he’s not appreciating this as it comes with extra homework. Oops!

Jake is finding his school Portuguese lessons much easier now that they have changed his schedule to only doing “Portuguese as a foreign language” rather than the standard Portuguese language lessons. He’s doing well because it’s all stuff he’s already covered in his private lesson so this should be confidence-boosting too. He’s also thriving in his French class as he’s had a bit of a head start from the little he learnt in England. We’re doing ok so far…

In other news, we finally got registered at the health centre! There was still some debate about social security numbers because neither Nik or the boys have them (I had no idea the kids even needed them!) so we’re sorting the boys’ numbers out and hoping Nik will still get treated anyway (I’m sure he will, just with no financial subsidies but we wouldn’t have been entitled to those anyway!)

The boys have also been getting the vaccinations done. There were a load than needed doing that are different to the UK. BCG, 3 x Hep B and tetanus for Jake and just BCG and 3 x Hep B for Eliot. Sorry boys! They are being fairly good about it although it is costing me in “bribe” money!

That’s probably about it for “news” really. It’s all rather dull and photo-free. Let me see if I can dig out a pretty sunshine photo for you.

It is still sunny and warm here at the minute. Still not had any rain for what feels like months and months and months (etc) although the temp has dropped a little, especially noticable in the mornings, and rain is forecast for the weekend.

Well, it would be, wouldn’t it? It’s half term in the UK!!

Across Praia de Batata and Meia Praia

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So, after 2 catch-up posts, I’m now doing an update one. Phew! I started the posts when Nik left to take his parents back to the airport. That was nearly 2 hours ago and he is due back any time really, I think! That’ll teach me to leave it so long before blogging!

It’s been nice having his parents here for a week. It’s a break for them (having had Nik’s sister and her 3yo son there, living with them,  since February!) and the kids have loved having Nanna and Grandad around. Eliot and Grandad have probably spent more time together, playing, reading and chatting, in the past few days than they had done in the previous 7 years! It was lovely 🙂

Fortunately, we they leave today, there is only one week until we see them again as our family trip to England, the first since we left last July, is imminent!

I’ve been back twice, to my little sis’s house in London, but not to Gainsborough and the boys haven’t been back to England at ALL since we left. They are both very excited.  Even their old school has welcomed them and allowed them to come in for a 90 minute play and chat session, to catch up with their old schoolfriends, which is lovely of them to do.

We have a pretty busy week planned with friends and family gatherings as well as business meetings and appointments and, of course, not forgetting Eliot’s birthday while we are there! We even fly back home (to Portugal) on the exact same date as we moved out here last July. How spooky is that?!

No doubt there’ll be plenty to blog about from and about England 🙂

In other news, we had a call from the school today to tell us that Eliot’s computer is ready for collection. There’s a “computers for all” scheme for school children aged 6-10, here in Portugal, which gives a special type of laptop to all children. It’s free to those with very low income, €20 to those on low income and €50 to the rest of us. While we probably don’t really need another laptop in our home (really, we don’t!) we felt it was important for Eliot to have one because the rest of his class would have one and they will use them in and for school and home work. €50 is a small price really and it means he can work together with his friends.

HERE is a link to an article about the scheme and another link, within it, to a video about it. It’s pretty cool really and Eliot is excited about picking it up. Luckily, the lady who called us spoke to us (well, Nik first and then me) in English or it could have been a very confusing conversation! My Portuguese is average face to face but on the phone is a whole other ballgame! So, we’ll be fetching that soon anyway which is a nice reward for Eliot for working hard over the school year.

We’ve got a few days until his parents’ meeting where we’ll hopefully find out how well he’s done. Jake’s parents’ meeting is on Thursday evening (30th) and we’ll get hi full grades then. He’s pretty much stayed the same from term 2 although he has scored higher in many subjects (just not high enough to jump grade yet. You still have to get sensible percentages to get good grades here!

The only subject he doesn’t have a grade for yet is the one subject he really wants to know about – Music! He’s aiming for a 5 (A – he got a 4, which is a B, last term) but we don’t know if he’ll get it. He has certainly developed a passion for music this year which is fantastic news to me 🙂 He loves learning piano now and did well to learn 2 songs very quickly for their end of term concert (mentioned in previous blog catch-up post)

Which to choose?!

Which to choose?!

It’s one of his chosen subjects for next year, year 7, which is kind of like their ‘options’ year, I suppose. He chose music as his arts subject (over dance, web design or something else I can’t recall) and he chose German for his second foreign language (English is the first foreign language they learn. Optional in primary school (years 1-4) and compulsory from year 5)

German was an interesting choice and I’m not entirely sure why he chose it but, if he choses to stay in Portugal after schooling (and particularly in the Algarve), it is a good choice. There are many Germans here and if he becomes fluent in English and Portuguese as well as conversant in German, he could do well in the Algarve, long term.

The other language choices were French (which I thought he’d choose) and Spanish (which may have been confusing for him at his stage of Portuguese knowledge). I kinda hoped he’d pick French as, having done French A level (like a zillion years ago!) I could have helped him but I respect his choice and can certainly see how it can help him here.

 

Jake also keeps checking the school website to see if they have published the end of term results yet. They usually publish the whole schools’ results. All classes, all students. Jake likes this because it means he can see how he has done compared to the rest of his class but, to date, they haven’t put them up online. Maybe after the parents’ meetings this week.

So, I think we’re up to date. We need to wait until next Monday (4th) before we get any more real news about Eliot’s school and report so I’ll try to blog that before we leave for England!

Meantime, you all enjoy your ‘summer’ (I won’t mention ours 😉

Meia Praia looking particularly frothy!

Meia Praia looking particularly frothy!

From footbridge between Lagos Marina and the Avenida

From footbridge between Lagos Marina and the Avenida

 

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