Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Classlists & First Meeting With The Teacher

On Friday, it wasn't just Cassie that had an important day to get her school schedule, Benjamin and Isabella were very excited to go to their school in the afternoon. Not to meet the teacher yet, but we went to see the class lists that were posted outside the school. This so all the new students would have a clue what teacher and what class room they would be in on Monday morning! Kindergarten doesn't start until Tuesday after Labor Day, but we also now got the teacher's name and what classroom the kids will go to. We had requested to keep them together, a lot of people seem to think that twins should be separated in different classes, but we don't think so.

If you have identical twins, or maybe even if they are the same sex, then maybe I can understand why people would want to separate them, as they would maybe depend too much on each other, only play with eachother, others would have a hard time keeping them apart and all, but with a boy/girl twin combination, I see it as much easier for everyone to keep them together. They will have their own friends and interest and will have no problem to be an individual in the classroom. For me/us as parents, it will be much easier. One class teacher to visit, one classroom to help out in, one classroom to go to for special events, just like this Monday when all kids had their first meeting with the teacher. I wouldn't have been able to do that on my own with two kids in different classrooms. My husband can't take off for all school events, and this way it will be much easier for me to volunteer and take part in their class. It will also be much easier with homework and field trips, as they will have the same and the same dates.

On Monday afternoon, it was Kindergarten Orientation, where we got to meet the teacher and get into the classroom for the first time. The kids were so excited and had brought their school supplies in their backpacks. There is a lot of supplies, and it is all shared in the classroom. 

Ready outside the classroom waiting for the teacher to open the door!

They only had 17 kids in the class so far, but only about 1/2 of the class was there, as A-L in the alphabet was there in the morning and now only the later half of the alphabet was here, to make it less crowded for everyone. The kids soon found their seats with their name tags, and they were excited to see who they would sit with. The class might fill up a few more kids, as there is still PCS season (permanent change of duty station) for the military. They still have so many kids, there are I believe 7 different Kindergarten classes at this point! But I'm so happy that they are not overfilled with 25 or more kids in each class!

They found their seats!

The teacher went through some information on the white board, going through all kind of things, rules and what kind of homework they would have, when and how to turn it in etc. Supplies, folders, binders and information was explained, to make it as easy for the kids as possible to understand what they can expect! 

I didn't want to take pictures where other kids were in the pictures at this point, but all the little tables and chairs were in the back of the classroom, and the big carpet in the front, with little stations all around. Reading corner, listening corner, blocks and dress up and all kind of things for crafts were to be seen at this point.

The orientation didn't take very long, we did sign up for individual meetings for later this week, as they want to take some tests with the kids to see what level they all are on. They used to do these tests in home visits, but I'm glad that they now do them in the school, makes much more sense to me to have them in the school to make the kids even more familiar with the class room and the teacher before they start. We have our individual meetings tomorrow Thursday for both kids. Will tell you more about what they had to do after that.

Little lollipops for the kids with cute little messages!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

School Orientation

Again, a lot has been going on since last entry, and the number one reason to why it's been quiet here, is that the whole family got sick. We were all down in some kind of flu one after the other, with high fever and aching bodies. The kids were pretty quick to recover, but I was really out if it for about 4 days, typically two of those days Chris was on lock down at work due to the typhoon that we had passing by...!. Then he came back from work when he was cleared to leave, and was feeling sick too. Ended up having fever for days, and he was even home from work for two days with 102 in fever, which has never happened before..!

So when I wasn't taking care of the sick kids, and running the household on a very low energy level when I was sick, I was trying to stay in bed and on the couch. So, the last two weeks of summer vacation wasn't the best of the summer, but luckily it was before school starts! Everyone is feeling better, only some coughing still going on between my husband and myself..

Last Friday, it was time for Cassie to get her personal schedule in the gym at her school, so that she would know what classes she would have and to meet and greet the teachers. As every year, there are different teachers for each year and each subject. All the 8th Grade classes are in pretty much the same corridors in school, and while Chris took the twins to set up all three kid's lunch accounts at an other office on the same base where Cassie's school is, Cassie and I handled the school stuff and the meet and greet.

Cassie had selected a few subjects in the end of last year, and was happy to get pretty much all of the ones that she wanted. The subjects that she was able to choose were:
- AVID (preparation class for High School and Collage, she has had this one since she was able to get it in 5th? Grade. Great class!
- Algebra. A higher level math class which also gives High School Credits.
- Japanese. Also a class that is high level, which also gives High School Credits.
- Art.
- Computer Programming. This was her last choice on the list, and after checking with the office, we put in a request that she wants to take Photography instead. My interest has rubbed off!

She will also have Language Arts, Integrated Science and US History. Every day, they also end the day with a class called Seminar. This is to me a great option, as there the students can request to who's class room they will go. If they have an upcoming test in one subject, this is where they might want to take the chance to ask more questions, if they have a problem with math or need extra guidance, this is where they can catch up with help with homework and practice!! If the student has been absent, the teacher can also request a student to come to their classroom to take a missed test or assignment.

One thing is for sure - it will be a busy year with lots of work! They will also have two major big projects. One like she is familiar with for Science for a Science Fair and one in US History. And as we all know from previous years, these projects are not a walk in the park at these levels...
Cassie also showed me the 8th Grade hallway on the 2.nd floor. This is also where she'll have one of these lockers with locker combination. No keys here.

Of course she also ran into some friends, and they were quick to compare schedules and see if they had any classes together! As we don't have any home teachers, and no direct teacher communication, everything goes through email and online school websites. There is a lot to catch up on and check, but rather a lot of communication than none, at least that's what I think as a parent that likes to stay involved!

Monday, August 24, 2015

A Hidden Paradise

After our stop at Hedo Point, we decided to drive back around the island, following the East coast south, as we drove the West Coast up north. Such a beautiful drive, and this turtle stop was so impressive, this was concrete as a roof over a picnic area. It was a lot of bushes and high grass around it, so no kids were allowed to step out as I was scared to see any snakes. No snakes and a picture later, we continued. We had packed our beach bag in the morning, thinking if opportunity is there, we would stop somewhere at a nice beach. Well, we didn't have to wait very long, as there were gorgeous views all over!

We saw this beach from afar, or I should say we were driving closer to the water and there were beaches everywhere, but not easy access and with narrow roads, you can't just park at the street either. So we continued driving looking for a way to park nearby, to stop there. It was a private house by the side of the road that had this as it's backyard!! What a wonderful place to live! A very old local man stepped out, didn't speak a word of English and Chris asked if it was alright for us to park there and go down to the beach. The man asked for 1000Yen, and we paid. Not too much when one consider that we got this wonderful beach to ourselves for about 2 hours, before we continued our road trip. If we could have understood each other, we probably could have paid much less, considering that we weren't going to park at his property all day, but no need for discussions.

I should have taken a picture of the house, it was to the very left in the picture where the little green hill is seen, and grass was mowed. It wasn't nice by any means, most houses here aren't, but the view!!! My goodness, who wouldn't want to live here?? 

Ben and Chris went treasure hunting and exploring, while I helped Isabella change into her swimsuit. Cassie was too occupied taking her own pictures and choose to not get into the water.

The water looks almost brown, but it is actually just so clear, that it's the sand that you see. We had overcast most of the time we were there, but I'm sure that in direct sunlight, it would shimmer in the turquoise color that we see here so often. Out behind the cliffs, there were huge waves slamming in, and they got weaker and came rolling into the beach too. But like it is with a lot of beaches here, you can walk until you can't walk any further, as it's so much sand. Not knowing at all what lurks under water, I put water shoes on for the kids, as I don't want them to step on any poisonous see urchins. It was warm in the water! Really warm!!

I heard on the radio here recently, that it's about 33 degrees Celsius in the ocean waters by Okinawa at this time of the year, and that's one of the reasons why the Typhoons grow stronger out in the ocean, feeding off on the warm surface water. We have two Typhoons lurking around to the East of us right now, so we will see if the first one hit us or pass tomorrow or Monday..

Someone has gotten a good suntan this summer, look at those white feet!

Love these rocks!

I'm not even standing in the very end of one side of the beach, and it continues around the bend up to the very right side of this picture and even further. So long and so empty. There are so many of these beaches, with nobody on them, you can totally find your own little spot, and not having to get into the crowds. You just have to be aware of the things inside the waters though, and where there is no net, there could be box jelly fish, venomous with a painful sting!! So far, we haven't seen any!

Cassie even got pictures of us!!

We enjoyed our time at the beach, but soon got back on the road, as we still had some time to go before we were home. We came home just by dinner time, so it was perfect to get the kids in the bath and have dinner and call it a night after a very eventful day!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Hedo Point

After arriving at Hedo Point, the northernmost point on Okinawa, we took our time sightseeing. Checking out the wonderful view and the big waves that came crushing in where the South East China Sea and the Pacific Ocean were combining. It was beautiful, very hot and humid, but still a good breeze and at some moments, very windy!

The Monument in Commemoration of the Reversion of Okinawa to Japan was built in 1976 as a reminder of the realized Okinawan dream to return the island to Japan in 1972 from America and gain its own sovereignty.

Big waves!

The swirling waters were shifting in all kind of colors, here all turquoise and light blue..

The kids thought it was pretty fun to look at the waves and we put some coins in so that they could use the big spyglass.

Island vegetation!

Another monument not to miss at the Hedo Point, is the “Kariyushi”, a big white bird in honor of Friendship between Kunigami Village and Yoronjima. It is a local legendary animal with a head of a bird and a body of a fish.

 Stunning views of the Pacific Ocean facing the East cliff side of Hedo Point.

We had lunch and some enjoyed a very needed ice cream break while I continued to take some pictures of the stunning views.

After snapping a few extra pictures, we continued our road trip to head down on the East coast of Okinawa.