Category Archives for World School

27Dec2013

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 […]

28May2013

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 […]

18May2013

Some Thoughts on Chinese Algebra

740px-(x+y)3.svg

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) […]

11May2013

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 […]

09May2013

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 […]

06May2013

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 […]

02May2013

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 […]

24Apr2013

We Find a Chinese School

Chinese school in Harbin -- kids shovelling snow.

A bit of English language Googling around bilingual schools in Harbin finds a site for teachers of English as a foreign language, and a job advertised at a bilingual school. I Google around the school’s name in English, plough through a lot of investment sites, and eventually dig up the Chinese language site for the […]

17Apr2013

The Quest for Chinese School

Grid of hanzi characters.

“I called the school for you,” Huaze reports back. My Chinese really isn’t good enough to do anything but the most basic of basic conversations over the phone, and I’m figuring that, when trying to talk a laowai kid into Chinese middle school, in a city that’s not used to foreigners, it’s probably best to […]

26Mar2013

The Best Laid Plans…

Detail of Hans Holbein the Younger's Resting Lamb and the Head of a Lamb, via Wikimedia Commons.

There are still two important projects outstanding from our plan for winter in China. Project Visa and Project Apartment have been concluded. We have seen the Harbin ice sculptures, and found them wonderful. Outstanding items? Project School: get Zac into a Chinese school so he can get to a reasonable level of fluency in Chinese. […]