School in the USA through the eyes of Moscow parents
To get to a good school in the United States, you must live in a good area. There are quotes from Tupac on the walls, they don’t give me knowledge, but give an opportunity to delve into interesting topics, but they punish you for bad behavior with fines. Two years ago, Alexander and Marianna Mozhaev moved from Moscow to the city of Madison in Wisconsin. It was at the end of August, and after a few days their three children (senior Matvey, middle Demyan and younger Frosya) went to the local school, to the 4, 7 and 8 classes, respectively.
The experience of the Moscow school is very unusual. At first, we lived very far from Moscow, in Skhodna, where the schools were of an average level, and we carried our children through half the town, through traffic jams, the Russians say. - Considering that they were still engaged in music, it was very hard. Then we decided to transfer them to home schooling, and Demian rebelled: he did not want to study at home. And Matvey refused to go to school near the house. He was not interested there, he said: "Everyone runs around at recess, they spit and shout." As a result, Demian went to the “Ark” school, Matvey went to a small private school, and Frosya studied at home for the first few years.
How to understand that you got into a good school
There are schools in Moscow with a good reputation, where it is pleasant and interesting to study, but it’s difficult to get into them: you have to travel through the whole city or rent a house nearby, which is also not easy. Moreover, all our children have different needs.
Here, in America, the principle is very simple - all schools are strictly tied to the place of residence. Literally: a rectangle is drawn on the map, and if you want your children to go to a good school, you must rent or buy a house within these boundaries.
Sometimes it happens that schools are mediocre in a good district, because, for example, there are mostly retired people living there, or students rent housing, because the university is close by. Often, the authorities specifically make a respectable "rectangle" capture the "tail" of the disadvantaged poor district. This allows citizens easier to give their children a good education and a chance to break out into people. But the territorial principle is strictly observed.
To understand which school is good is simple enough - all information is publicly available: ratings, test results, students. And schools are very different. Even in such a small campus as ours, there are educational institutions where teachers are employed, mainly, to maintain discipline. We have not seen such people, fortunately, but we carefully chose the place of residence for the school.
We moved at the very end of August, so the children did not have the opportunity to prepare psychologically for a long time - after a few days they went to school, and each went to his own. At first, the household side of life surprised them most of all: the fact that everyone has their own locker, elementary school desks do not stand in a row, you do not need to wear a shift, even in winter. There are generally very strange ideas about winter clothing for children: despite the fact that it is rather cold, they go without hats, and often all winter - in shorts and slippers.
We noticed that instead of posters with Obama, Gandhi and Tupac say on the school walls.
And, most importantly, they all began to go to school with pleasure, with interest. There is a feeling that everything is very Friendly.
It should be noted that the children almost did not know the language. For those who do not have English, the school has special classes, but they studied in other subjects immediately in the general stream. And quickly mastered. Of course, at first it was difficult to join the team, but everyone clearly tried to help, support. The teachers are very careful that there are no conflicts.
With discipline, everything is clear
In general, with discipline, everything is very clear. Not like ours: the children quarreled, gave each other a nose, made up and forgot. In the event of a conflict, the student must complain to the teacher. If he is unable to resolve the conflict himself, the school psychologist and social services will join. In high school, there is even a school police officer position, and if a child is fighting, rude to a teacher or behaving indecently, his family will be fined. Large: for example, 400 dollars. Recently a familiar hairdresser complained that they had accumulated more 1000 dollars in fines. So for the bad behavior of the child "beat the dollar" his family.
How does the school and parents dialogue
All problems are solved here very quickly, every day a lot of letters come from teachers. If something happens, it becomes immediately known. For example, they recently spotted a man who looked like a maniac. Immediately passed general mailing with precautions and signs. And he was detained the next day.
There are no parent meetings, like ours, where your children are reprimanded to the whole class. School conferences are periodically scheduled: every parent has 15 minutes during the day to talk with the teacher face to face. For example, last year Matvey had problems with mathematics, the mathematician said: “Every day during lunch my office door is open, he can come and work on his homework.” So they spent some time, each with their lunch box, having lunch, engaged in mathematics in addition.
Demyan first had problems with behavior - he did not know the language at all, did not understand a word, and fidgeted from boredom and distracted everyone.
A whole council was gathered at the school - all the teachers, the psychologist, they called us, they all asked about the child, about his features. We decided that if he was bored, let him sit in the back row and read his books.
He did so, and very soon achieved some success, on history, for example, he always liked to glue ship models, through this he studied the history of maritime discoveries, and of American history, respectively. At work, he, too, is doing well. Here a lot of attention is paid to the fact that children are able to work with their hands.
Few read, but non-standard master material
When we said that Dema loves to read, we were asked what he was reading. Well, we say, Jules Verne, Stevenson. What do you usually read in his years? “In the form of comics?”, The teachers specified. And we were very surprised when we said that these were ordinary, “thick” books. The fact that children in the United States do not read much is considered a problem, therefore, in elementary school there are lessons for which everyone brings their books or take books in the library, wrapped themselves in plaedica and just read for half an hour in silence, each one has his own.
I really liked the medieval fair, which the children arranged in the school yard: they themselves studied the era, sewed historical costumes, baked according to medieval recipes. Someone showed alchemical experiments, someone burned pots. We thought that we ourselves dreamed about this when we were in school, although we did not know, of course, that this actually happens.
But there are also disadvantages. School food here is so terrible that even children who are greedy for any harmful nastiness refuse to eat it. Therefore, we collect them lunch boxes at home.
No one crushes and shoves knowledge
An important difference between the American school and the Russian school is that it does not crush, does not push knowledge by force and gives children the opportunity to do what they like. We are accustomed to a single team from 30 people, where everyone adapts to average values, there is no. The school has a mandatory number of hours of basic subjects, and the child is collecting everything else in accordance with his abilities and interests.
Say, Frosya is now studying in the 6 class, but she is very good at math, so she is studying the 7 class program. But he does not sit and wait half an hour, bored until the whole class solves the problem. However, if you do not need, no one will stuff you with higher mathematics. You want - solve simple arithmetic problems. Another thing is that in the end it can also afford to pay: all education after school is paid, and this is serious money.
The school in the USA, like ours, is divided into three stages: the elementary school is up to the 5 class, the middle one is the 6-8 classes and the senior one is the 9-12 classes. And these are not just different floors, but different institutions.
So, before the 8 class try not to expel anyone, and after the 9 fly out easy. This means that higher education does not shine for you.
In order to go to university, many go after school to college: here is a system like the one we had during the Soviet era - after college you can enroll in an institution of higher education right on the 2 course. But college is also paid.
Who can not - he does not pay
The school is, in principle, free, but still there are some mandatory fees: for textbooks, materials, and events. On average - for 200-300 dollars a year per child. However, if the family is below a certain level of affluence, there are many benefits. There is a grandiose state support of those who start from a financial point of view - they have just arrived, they are trying to work, but for the time being, they are not earning money for one reason or another. There is a whole system to prevent people from falling into poverty.
Our children play wind instruments and go to the city orchestra to study - we were given such a discount that it was almost free.
If desired, any education is available. There are many extra classes at school: sports, music, dancing, theater — a whole thick booklet with dozens of circles. Everything is free and at a high level. For example, recently we watched a musical that was staged in a school theater — it was a high-quality show, with costumes, set design, and complex decorations. Very professional adults clearly worked with him on the children.
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