Summer vacation is truly coming to end - and much more rapidly than I would like it. The girls are starting to dig out their French dictionaries and cahiers (workbooks or notebooks) and getting their school stuff organized. I still need to do a bit of work with both Anna and Victoria on their reading and handwriting, but otherwise, we've reached most of our home schooling goals for the summer. And the girls are all excited about school - it has been raining a lot the last 1.5 weeks, which means they've been stuck in the house or on the porch to play... or helping Mama with work around the house. I'm not sure if they are more excited about seeing their friends, getting out of the house or getting away from work!
Another sure sign that school is about to start is the return to Niamey of the kids' Nigerien school friends. During the "long vacation," as they call it, most families will return to their ancestral village to visit with family, often staying for several weeks. Saturday morning, Zeina, Nadia's best friend and classmate since the maternelle, called to see if she could meet us at the pool for the afternoon. Everyone was excited to see her and the girls had a wonderful time playing together, eating french fries and catching up.
This year will be a challenging year for Nadia. We are thinking that she will combine her last two years of French school into one - grades CM1 and CM2 - so that she can take her exams next summer, instead of trying to take them after having been at home in the States for a year. We aren't sure what that will look like: if the principal will want to move her up a class or if he will have her work with a tutor outside of school hours to help her prepare, but it will be a busy academic season for her. On top of that, she learned that her friend Zeina will not be returning to Alliance this year; her family has chosen for her to go to a school closer to their home. So Nadia will not only have a challenging year academically, but - at least at the beginning - a bit of a sad time as she starts back without Zeina in her class. Fortunately, our friendly Nadia always has lots of friends, so we know she'll do just fine!