One of our big prayer requests this fall was for Elisabeth and Max’s temporary transition to US schools for the fall semester and then back to Slovakia in January. So far everything seems to be going great–even better than we’d hoped. They’ve both adjusted to their respective schools, plus they’ve gotten some great music and sport opportunities. The question that remains is whether or not they’ll be able to keep up with their Slovak subjects.
Elisabeth Has the Bigger Challenge
Elisabeth is going to have an interesting transition as she goes from Slovakia to the States and back to Slovakia again.
Elisabeth is in 9th grade which is elementary school in Slovakia and high school in the States. That puts her in the bizarre situation of making the adjustment to being a freshman at Deerfield High School and then going back to Narnia Elementary School to finish the year. While adjusting to a new community, she’s also adjusting to the dynamic of a much larger school. At Deerfield, there are more than 400 freshman. It’s strange for her to sit in one class with students she doesn’t know and then go to another class with a completely different set of classmates.
After one month it seems that Elisabeth is doing very well. There’s a little more structure here and the higher expectations put on her by teachers and classmates actually help her to focus better on school.
Max has had it relatively easy. For one thing he has a little more easy going personality. He also has only 29 classmates, many of whom he remembers from first grade. Not only that, but Max doesn’t start at Bannockburn Middle School until 10:15! They’ve excused him from three classes because he needs to keep up on Slovak Language, German, and the Slovak History and Geography curriculum. He does complain a little about the math. It seems that the material they’re covering at Bannockburn assumes some skills they hadn’t covered back in Slovakia. I think the challenge is good for him and he plenty to keep him busy before he bikes off to school at 9:45.
Elisabeth, on the other hand, has more of a challenge on yet another front. When we get back to Slovakia she’ll have to jump right in to the process of applying to high schools. The process works something like selecting a college in the States. She’ll have to apply to different schools, take entrance exams and make a big decision about her future. The key here is the entrance exams. It’s even more important that Elisabeth work independently on her Slovak Language, German and History so she can do well on those exams. We’d really appreciate your prayers for her this whole academic year.
Both Elisabeth and Max are very involved in music and so another task has been to find teachers for the next few months. Max is excited about his teacher. He’s a great guitarist that travels and plays internationally and he works really well with Max.
Elisabeth is getting her share of musical opportunities. She’s in a special freshman advisory class that is also a girls’ choir. We’ve found a great violin teacher for her. Christine is teaching Elisabeth new genres like folk and jazz and she plans to teach her some of the fundamentals for improvisation.
Another opportunity is more unexpected. Elisabeth is practicing with the Trinity Community Philharmonic Orchestra. If she does well enough at practice, she’ll be able to play at three concerts in November and December. She’s nervous about practicing with college students and adults, but she’s getting used to the idea and her teacher says the music is well within her ability.
Over all, we came to the States knowing that this research opportunity was an unexpected blessing for me, but we’re discovering that the kids are also receiving some extra blessings as well. Thanks for your prayers and please do keep praying for the transition back to Slovakia–especially for Elisabeth.