Tuesday, August 17, 2010

開學篇 (第二篇: 初中篇) Back to School, Part Two, Middle School

My 10 year-old daughter will enter middle school this fall. She is so looking forward to going to her new school. She does not want to miss any part of what middle school has to offer. If you ask her what she is most looking forward to in middle school. She will say LOCKERS. Go figure. I guess having her own locker at school makes her feel grown up. I remembered the locker I had in high school--it was like my home away from home. It was filled with shoes, clothes, PE stuff, books, papers, etc... It took 2-3 shopping bags to empty out my locker on the last day of school.

One of those consistent nightmares I would have in my youth was to forget my locker combinations. Back then, I had to buy my own combination lock to put on my locker. The smart thing would be to write down my lock combinations somewhere. But the nightmare would go a step further--I would forget where I had written down the lock combinations. It had never occurred to me to just tell my mom what my locker combinations are and she could have helped me remember.

That was then, this is now. I don't think my daughter will have the same kind of nightmares I had when I was in middle school. The lock to her locker is built-in the locker. Her school keeps each locker's lock combinations in the office. If a student forgets his/her combinations, all he/she needs to do is to go to the office and ask about it.

Speaking of Middle School. In California, elementary schools begin in kindergarten and end in grade 5. Middle Schools include grade 6 through 8. High schools are grade 9 through Grade 12. My sister who still lives in Vancouver tells me that British Columbia no longer has Junior High Schools. My Canadian nieces will only have to attend Elementary School (kindergarten to Grade 7) and High School (Grade 8 to Grade 12). Junior High Schools (or Middle Schools) no longer exist in Vancouver.

Way back in June, before the 5th grade Culmination (a small-scale elementary school "graduation"), all 5th grade parents received information about what we would need to prepare and buy for our new 6th graders. One of the biggest item we need to purchase is a three-inch zipper binder which will contain all the notes from the 6 classes a 6th grader will need to take in Middle School. One day in July, I took my daughter to Target, Staples, and Office Depot to look for one. Some were too small (1" or 2" zipper binder) or too big. Most were flimsily made. I did not want to pay over $20 for a poorly-made zipper binder that may only last a month. We didn't end up buying anything from the stores. We decided to go home and look for a suitable binder on-line. To my surprise, most of the reviews of the zipper binders on Amazon talked about how these binders were not sturdy enough to last a whole semester.

Two weeks ago, at Costco, I found the exact zipper binder that my daughter and I have been looking for. Costco did not have this product in July. The greatest part about it was the price--$12.99!!! Not sure how sturdy this zipper binder is, so I bought 2 just in case one doesn't last a whole semester. Right next to the zipper binders were these Casio Scientific calculators. These scientific calculators were selling for $12.99 each. It was the last item on my daughter's 6th grade school supplies list that I have yet to buy for her. Initially, I was not sure how good a scientific calculator I need to get for her (at what price level?!) But $12.99, I wouldn't feel too bad if she lost it at school. Basically, she's all set for 6th grade.

我那十歲的女兒暑假過後,就要上初中了。 在加州,小學是從大班上到五年級。 初中是六年級到八年級, 而高中是九年級到十二年級。所以在美國是有十三年的義務教育。 有的家長選擇讓小孩晚讀一年的話,還可以上二年的大班(等於是十四年的義務教育)。

上初中對我女兒來講是件令她很興奮也很期待的大事。 如果問她對上初中最響往的事是什麼, 她會說 “在學校有自己的鐵櫃櫥 (locker) ”。 好像有自己的學校 locker 就代表自己長大了! 想當年我讀高中時也把我比較重要的家當放在學校的 locker 裏。 誰會笨到把自己的日記放在家裏?!?! 我媽不讓我穿的高跟鞋以及不准我用的化妝品也都是放在我學校的 locker 裏。 學期結束時,我還得在家裏找個地方藏這些私密的東西。 誰會想得到一個小小 locker 對少女的成長過程會有如此的影響力!

女兒的新學校已經在學校的官網 po了下學期學生要用的文具用品。 最重要的一樣東西是一個有拉鍊的三寸活頁夾。 我帶女兒去了三、四家文具用品店都沒有找到適當的活頁夾。 不是太小就是看起來不是很堅固。 有些還要二十幾塊。我覺得太貴了。 小孩子用的東西不應該那麼貴。 反正離開學還要一個多月,我就告訴女兒我們再等等看,搞不好再一陣子我們要買的東西就會減價。

八月初,她在 Children's Place
看到一個漂亮(耐看可是好像不太耐用) 1" 大的活頁夾,只要 $7.99。 我二話不說先把它買下來想說女兒一開學也還不需要用上三寸活頁夾。 結果後來再去Costco時, 竟然看到女兒正需要的三寸活頁夾, 才 $12.99。 我一口氣買了兩個 (怕不耐用)。女兒選了銀色及籃色的活頁夾,高興得不得了 (one step closer to Middle School)! Costco 也蠻應景的, 八月份也開始賣 back-to-school 的文具用品。 我還順便買了個科學用的計算機給女兒, Casio 牌的才$12.99。 反正科學用的計算機也是在她學校的文具用品清單上, 所以早晚也是得買。Costco 賣的產品絕對比別的地方賣得便宜, 所以不買以後一定會後悔。 女兒好喜歡她的銀色活頁夾,看樣子有空我得去把她在 Children's Place 買的 1" 活頁夾拿去還。

再兩星期就要開學了。 今年暑假過得還真快!


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