Back to School – Portuguese Style

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“So….what’s the difference” you ask?  “School is school, no matter where you go….right?”

Well, in part, yes.  But in many ways, no.


First, a few ‘back to school’ photos of my babies…..

Brooklyn, this morning before her first full day of school.  She was up, dressed and ready to go before any of us were out of bed.  She is going to Jr. high this year and will be riding the city bus to get there.  She was waiting on the front steps for a few friends to pass by the house on the way to the bus stop when I snapped this picture.  She was a huge ball of nerves.
Trinity, on her first day of school.  She wasn’t very happy about going and wouldn’t cooperate with the photographer.  She began the first grade last Friday, but is having a little difficulty shaking this continuous ‘tummy ache’ that appears each morning. She, too, is a big ball of nerves. 
Liberty, on the first morning of school.  She began the 4th grade last Friday and is doing exceptionally well.  She has the same teacher she’s had the last two years and she has fallen into the school routine without problems.  School couldn’t start soon enough for her!  No worries from my middle child.
Faith, on the first morning of school.  She also began the 4th grade and is enjoying the comfort of having the same teacher she’s had the last two years.  (She and Lib are in the same class and we all adore Professora Fátima!)  She’s my strong child.  Both physically and mentally.  She can handle just about anything thrown at her…and she does it all while laughing!
All three of my elementary school aged girls.  (Finally a little grin from Trinity.)
Ok..moving right along to the boy….THE boy.  He wasn’t thrilled about a photo shoot before school.  He kept saying, “I don’t want to go to school.”
And the look on his face proved it….
He finally quit trying to be so tough, but refused to let his smile show.
….still trying to hide his grin….
“Okay Mom…this is the best I can do!…now do I still have to go to school?”



Okay…back to the differences…

Here are a few examples….


School schedule for everyone but Brooklyn:

9:00 – 12:00 – Class – I drop them off a few minutes before 9.


12:00 – 1:30 – Lunch at home.  I pick them up and we come back home to eat.  They relax a little after lunch cause three hours of school is tough on their young bodies….*notice my sarcasm* and then I take them back about 1:25.  There is a small lunch room at their school and they have the option of remaining there to eat….but..well…soup and rotten bananas are not real high on the list of favorite foods around here.  And taking your lunch is not an option.  My guess is about 25 % of the kids go home for lunch or to a grandparents house to eat.

1:30 – 3:30 – Class – I pick them up at  3:30.  Now most of the kids, I’d say about 95% of them stay at the school until at least 5:30.  During those last two hours of school they have all the extra curricular activities.  We noticed after the first year of school that it seemed to be two hours of glorified babysitting.  Since it wasn’t mandatory to remain at school until 5:30, we chose to bring them home after the ‘real’ work was done.  There is also an option for the parents to pay for “after school care” and the kids remain at school until 7:00 each evening…and most of these kids that use this type of care were dropped off for school much earlier that 9:00 because of parents work schedules.

We also have to buy all of the books that the kids need.  They don’t reuse textbooks.  Oh…and the school isn’t climate controlled.  They burn up in the heat and freeze in the winter.  I think sometimes teachers bring portable heaters, but they don’t use them very often, for strange reasons.  At least to me the reasons are strange.


So……here you have an example of what a country elementary school is like in northern Portugal.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04257374047455590078 Jen

    So what do you do during the day with all your kids in school!? In SA the kids can also remain at school until about 5. Definitely glorified babysitting. That is interesting that they come home for lunch. I bet they like that break in their school day.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04662751045378148853 Cathy

    Wow, it really is a lot different, isn’t it? But the first day school pictures look the same. Your kids are so cute whether they are happy, sad, scared or whatever. Adorable!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04630288151385157311 Jill

    I can’t believe your kids are getting so tall! What wonderful pictures. I always think of your photography skills when I go to take pictures of my kids–because I don’t do it well at all, and I envy your talent!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06141278589206458687 ~Karen~

    Great photos! It sounds like your kids’ school day is pretty busy. Do they get much homework?

    Please visit my blog – I just added a new post. http://building68.blogspot.com/

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10170754432538839962 Becka

    Its so odd to me how kids from same family are so different,,
    cant get over how big they all are, love you guys,
    ps school is way different from here,

  • http://www.thedomesticfringe.wordpress.com the domestic fringe

    Great pictures of the kids! The differences are interesting. I guess you really need to bundle-up in the winter. Praying they have a great year!

    -FringeGirl

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01225068481753271666 Jennifer

    Cute back to school pics. Your little boy is so funny!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00448779296171184733 Mom

    And life goes on… I miss them sooooooo much…
    Oh and I miss you too.. 🙂
    Love Mom

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00859488167015452608 Tori

    Wow, your girls have really grown looking at them standing alone.
    Time sure flys.
    I’m sure they’re happy for a new year and mama too.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10540064662050920859 Personalized Sketches and Sentiments

    Goodness! They all look sooo big! I love that “THE boy” showed his smile in the end :o) haha tooo cute!
    & Wow! That is an amazing school day schedule…I mean for those that are there before 9am until 7pm!!!!

    Blessings & Aloha!
    I finally made it to my 100th post. If you have time and are interested, I have a few giveaways of the art that I do.

  • Anonymous

    Would love to know where Brooklyn got her dress. Love it!
    Wow, school is different there from what we are used to. School here in Panama is different as well. The children is the lower grades only go half days (until noon or one) and the older grades get top choose whether they will attend in the morning, eight until around three or from about ten in the morning ’till five.
    Very cute pics!
    Ruth in Panama

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