Category Archives for World School


In Which We Find a School

Zac on his first day at school.

The next school we see, Dyatmika, looks promising. It’s got a good mix of local and international students; the elementary level is taught in Indonesian and English; they have Mandarin on the syllabus (fortunately for Zac, perhaps, I have yet to discover there’s a Chinese school in Denpasar); and they’re academic (last year’s head girl […]


Green School, Bali

Bamboo structure at Green School Bali.

“Don’t miss the healing circle,” says one friend, rather snidely. We’re off to inspect Green School, the extensively-PRed international school on Bali, with its award-winning all-bamboo campus. And healing circle. And mudpit. At Green School, the focus is on child-led learning, where children can study what they want, and scamper around barefoot discovering their environment […]


Science, World Schooling and, Ya Know, Stuff

Heart Stuff

After a long weekend in a castle – my “little” cousin, who, in my head, is still a rather sulky teen, but in reality is a fully grown and charming adult with an insanely lucrative job, has hired it for the weekend to treat the family – the boy and I head back to the […]


Astronomy in Amsterdam

Zac at the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.

“Wow,” says Zac, meditatively. “Amsterdam really is a very liberal city, isn’t it?” Since the queue for the Anne Frank House stretches in a weary, painful line around several substantial blocks, Zac has opted, instead, to spend the day at Amsterdam’s science museum, NEMO. I hit my personal science museum threshold twenty or so science […]


Why We Won’t Continue the Chinese School Experiment

Chinese School

We committed to Chinese school for Zac on the apparently random basis that we would reassess when the time came up to renew our lease. I took, in turn, a four month lease on the basis that that would be about the right amount of time to get Zac into a Chinese school and see […]


Some Thoughts on Chinese Algebra


Watching Family Guy last night, we hit the episode where Tricia Takanawa says: “Hi! I’m here with Stephen Hawking, the only white man I’ve ever met who knows math better than me.” We laughed. And then we almost cried. Because here are some (translated) examples of the algebra that my son’s seventh grade (Year 7) […]


5.30am Is No Time to Wake Up

Child in scream mask over skeleton in bushes.

For the first week of Chinese school, our routine has been: wake up at 6am, breakfast, dress, and leave the house at 6.40 to make the bus at 7am. This is a routine that Zac adapts to better than I. He is not a morning person, but he is adaptable. I am not a morning […]


One Benefit of Learning English in Chinese Schools

Space babies and a space dog in kitschy Chinese art.

Handwriting has never been a strength of Zac’s. He’s a lefty, and started writing aged three. Then, because current British thinking is that young children should be left to “experiment with mark-making” by themselves – which is ideal if children are “mark-making”, rather less so if they’re actually writing – he wasn’t taught how to […]


On Doing Maths in Chinese

Fractal created by Kacey.

I knew, of course, that maths as taught in Asia is some way ahead of the UK (and, for that matter, most of the West). I had vaguely suspected that maths as taught in mainland China might also be some way ahead of maths as taught in the rest of Asia. But I’d expected that […]


First Day of Chinese School

Tang dynasty Chinese calligraphy.

We’re both fairly quiet in the taxi to the school. What had seemed like a really good idea at the time – put Zac in a Chinese school for a term or so so that he could improve his Chinese – now seems more and more unnerving. Not least since Huaze, out of the goodness […]