Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Thanks so much to everyone for all the emails and comments wishing me a speedy recovery.
I guess all those good vibes are working their magic, as I do seem to be getting better.
Slowly.
Today I managed to clean the house a bit and even did a load of laundry. And at my house, laundry is a real hurdle- believe me. The washer is down in the cellar and the cellar can only be reached by going out of the house, walking around to the front yard and then descending the icy cement steps. As you can imagine, the laundry facilities seem kind of distant and inconvenient when it's snowing and you're loaded down with a big basket of clothes. And if you're sick , the washer may as well be located in central Nepal.

Besides the excitement of clean laundry, there's not too much going on here...
Valentine is studying for her "Brevet Blanc" next week. For those of you who don't know the intricacies of the French educational system, the Brevet is a huge exam that kids take at the end of 9th grade. It is a written exam that tests them on everything they should know to this point in their education. And it's on the basis of this that the kids are mercilessly sorted out: High scorers will go on to "Lycée", where they will study to eventually pass their "Bac" test and then go on to university.
The ones who don't do well on the Brevet will be divided into two groups: Kids that have a history of good grades, but who just didn't do well on the test will REPEAT 9th grdae and try to take the test again next year. The remainder ( kids with poor grades and bad marks on the Brevet) will either quit school, do an apprenticeship or attend some kind of professional school...

And so it is that a French youngster's future gets determined before he or she is even 15 years old. Based on ONE test.
And you thought the SAT/ACTs were scary....

Right now Valentine is reviewing her class notes for an hour every night, preparing for the practise Brevet (Brevet Blanc) that will be given at her school next week. Most of the good private schools offer this option, so that their students will be well-prepared for the real Brevet at the end of the year.

After the Brevet Blanc, it will be vacation time again.
Yes, you read that right. The French schools will be on holiday again already! It's time for the traditional two-week long ski break.
And this year, we're actually going to be skiing! Even me, if I've gotten over this rotten cold/flu...

3 comments:

La Framéricaine said...

Two steps forward, one step back. The anthem of the return from Fluland. Take good care of yourself and don't lose your returning energy to too many chores too early. They will still be there when you are stronger. Tea, rest, and books.

Bonne santé!

babzee said...

It's like looking in a transatlantic mirror, only your view also has my ailing husband in it.

Thanks heavens I don't have to go outside to to laundry (anymore), but I am consigned to an unfinished basement.

oreneta said...

I hate these tests, the Catalans do something similar for university, but at 15...the hormonal little rotters will be done in, some of them...not really fair. Good luck to her.