We’re over a month into the new school year and I thought you might like some more fun facts, reported by my kids, about their experience at French school. You can find our last report here.

– Sometimes Ben Blair and I think we have a good handle on things. But then we realize we have no idea what’s going on. Today, when we picked them up from school, Betty, Oscar and Olive reported that it was field day and apparently they were supposed to go to school in sport pants and bring water bottles. We had no idea! And I swear, we have been reading the notes. Hah!

– Olive plays marbles during recess (so old school!). She said it’s pretty competitive. The kids bring pencil cases full of marbles. I like taking pictures of the marbles. : )

– Ralph said the kids at school think he is an expert rapper. But he said really, he just knows the lyrics to an Eminem song.

– All five are coming along with their French and understand lots of what’s said at school. Last year, we didn’t have them do homework, but this year they do. Sometimes that means a several-hour-long session at the computer with Google translate.

– When kids are finished with lunch, they wait for everyone else at your table to finish too.

– Maude is taking Latin this year. Ralph is taking Spanish. They like taking these classes because they’re at the same starting point as their classmates and they get good scores. They said it’s strange to feel like the best in some classes and the worst in others.

– In middle school, the boys always greet each other with a handshake. Each boy goes and shakes every other boy’s hand. They also shake hands when they say goodbye. The girls say hello and goodbye with a kiss on each cheek.

– Kids younger than middle school greet and say goodbye with one cheek kiss.

– We mentioned the track suits on a previous report, but during warm weather, the boys wear short shorts during gym. (We’re still used to the US look of long sport shorts.)

– The backpack of choice is Eastpak.

– The biggest sport is soccer. Badminton, handball and ping-pong are also a big deal.

– The students all stand when an adult walks into the classroom.

– Many of the high school kids smoke and the adults don’t seem too stressed out about it. They’re not allowed to on campus, but as soon as they walk past the campus fence, students feel free to light up and don’t feel compelled to hide it.

– Our kids are used to school lunch here. They said they’re curious about what they’ll think of school lunch when they return to the States.

– Sort of school related: The kids are getting lots of invitations to birthday parties. The parties are simple and sweet. Not a lot of fuss.

Overall, everyone is doing great and staying enthusiastic about school. We’re super proud of them!