Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Learning Curve

Let's talk about education.  No, I'm not going to be debating the pros and cons of Common Core or anything like that.  Just the confusing (to me) school terms here in the US.  It seems so much simpler back home, although I know it's not the same everywhere.  This is based purely on the places I have lived in the UK and the US.

Back home in Scotland we go to Primary School followed by Secondary School.  Yep, that's it, just 2 schools before college and university people.  Simple.  Over here however...

Elementary School.  Pretty much the same as Primary School but instead of having simple Primary 1 through Primary 7, the US Elementary School starts with Kindergarten (same as Primary 1) and usually only goes through till 5th Grade (same as Primary 6).  When my UK friends ask what Primary my kiddos are in, I have to quickly count on my fingers because of Kindergarten being the same as Primary 1.  Obviously, I've never been accused of being a mathematical genius.   

Middle School.  Have you watched Diary of a Wimpy Kid?  In the words of the main character Greg Heffley, "Let me just say for the record, that I think middle school is the dumbest idea ever invented".  I would have to agree with Greg.  Middle School is for 6th Grade till 8th Grade (Primary 7 through 2nd Year at Secondary School).  So kids here move schools after Elementary School for a paltry 3 years before moving schools again to start High School.  Seems like unnecessary upheaval to me! 

High School.  Now it gets really confusing.  I'm sweating at the thought of having to remember all the different categories that make up High School over here.  When my US friends talk about Juniors/Sophomores etc, I mostly nod politely and agree because I truly have absolutely no idea what they are talking about.  Back home it's so simple!  Secondary School starts at 1st Year and goes through 6th Year, although in Scotland you can leave school at the age of 16.  I can get my head around that!  Over here though...  High School is from 9th - 12th Grade.  Easy to remember huh?  No sir.  Instead of keeping it with the numbers, each Grade has it's own special name:

9th Grade   = Freshman Year
10th Grade = Sophomore Year
11th Grade = Junior Year  (Why is 9th Grade not Junior Year?  Doesn't that make more sense?!) 
12th Grade = Senior Year

I don't even want to think about College with sororities/fraternities and everything else that brings with it.  Some of my friends talk about Homecoming - what does that even mean?  It's not when the bell rings and all the kids rush off home for the rest of the day! 

So there you have it.  It doesn't take much to bamboozle me and I will surely embarrass my children in the future for my lack of High School Year description knowledge.  I should probably start studying them now!  Or perhaps we'll be living somewhere outside of the US by the time they reach High School and I can stop stressing :) 

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