Thursday, November 18, 2010

Highschool in The Netherlands

I rarley talk about my life here and what it's like. I've done posts about why I came and I have talked about the differences from time to time..but never really indepth. I don't know why I don't. I guess I don't find it all that interesting unless I am going somewhere the Christmas Markets!! wich I am heading to soon,so expect a post on that :)

Anyway I thought I would post about the school system here since it is so different from the U.S.. My son who is 12 is heading to highschool next year. He would of gone this year but because of the language thing, we were all in agreement that we would allow the boys an extra year to really get the language down. The highschool system reminds me of college. Right now he is taking tests wich sound very much like an SAT in order to find out wich highschool is best for him..Unlike in the U.S. where you go to a specific school based on your they can go anywhere they want. It's the same throughout their entire school years. After he takes his second test in February,we will then go in and talk about the test and figure out wich school best suites him. Now within that school are also different levels. There are kids who will be in the lower,middle, and upper learning levels...and within those levels you are also learning certain skills.

So lets say you want to be a Veterinarian. Yesterday my son went to a school that had 3 different areas. One had an entire section of animals for the students who wanted to become a vet. There was an entire Horticulture section where you can learn how to become a gardener,designer,or open up your own florest. They each made a floral arrangment and brought it home. My son brought me the rose in the photo. There was also a section to learn the building trade. Each week they will be touring a different school that offers certain careers. I realise at 12 it's young to be thinking about what you want to do but thats where the test scores come in. Based on the scores they kind of let you know what your kid might be happy in..Thats not to say it's always correct and that you have to listen to the's just a guide.

I've asked my son to keep in mind what he might be interested in and I guess we will learn more when the tests come in and even though the test might say one thing..he may want something else for himself or change his mind later on..wich he totally can..What I love though, is that they are giving them a chance to work towards something. I think growing up had I been able to go to a highschool that offered photography,cooking,or veterinarian skills I would of been a bit more happy to go.

Also the whole prom,football,cheerleading thing does not exsist here. You go to school,get your work done and anything else you want to do is done after school and on your own time. The whole mentality of the kids here is so different. They are way more grown up in alot of areas that I never was at their age..and I struggle with some of it sometimes. In 4 years my son will be legally allowed to drink. He can buy beer,wine coolers,enter a bar, but they are not allowed the hard liquor until they are 18. The driving age is not until 18 so he has a few years to make a complete ass of himself while riding a bike..and most every dutch person I come across has a million funny stories of being drunk on a bike. I have many things to come to terms with in the next few years but I am excited to see him head towards the next stage in his life and find out what he will make of himself in the future :)


May said...

I too have been wanting to do a post on the school system here!! It is just about crazy. My son too is in the deciding year,grade 4 (Over here they go to the high school at the age of 10) and hence is under a lot of pressure. I keep telling him that we aren't here for ever, but thanks to peer pressure, he is not taking it easy at all. I find it such a pity for the german kids, cause they have absolutely no life at all!! And age 10? They have a hard time deciding clothes, forget deciding their field??

Lost in Translation said...

IN Germany if you are caught on a bike drunk you get points against your license and can have your license revoked or be banned from getting one.

I hate our school system, once the kids hit a certain grade they have to choose a path. If they are not smart enough they get sent to a certain school. Only if they complete Gymansium can they go the college.

So Toni did realschule, finished at 16. Now if he wanted to go to college, he would have to do a special program for adults to complete high school first.

At 12 yreas old kids are told to decide or if they are smart enough to study. At 16 they are legally out of the school system, unless college prep and have to decide what career they want and do a 3 year training in it.

If you do not have this you have no future. And of course anyone who actually studies will get the job before you.

I cannot work in the same jobs I did stateside. 10 years experience does not matter because I am not considered certified in that field.Even the casheirs at the grocers have completed a 3 year education for that job, and you cannot just switch jobs like the US.

Tonis first job was as a constructions sales man. When the company went belly up, he had to go back and do another 3 years to learn computers. He is certified in both. The government only pays twice after that you have to pay privatly, or if unemployable live on welfare.

The system is ridiculous at best. To much pressure put on kids and too little options for adults. We have 20% unemployment in some areas, but we dare not let that computer boy work as a cashier. Obnoxious.

Toni would very much love to further his education in his field, but he is not to hot on the idea of going back to high school at the age of 30 then having to complete a normal collegiate work load.

Many kids screw up their futures because at 12 and 16 no kids knows what they want. Hell at 21 I had no clue. :P

Sonya said...

I dont feel the pressure to make him find a career and he doesn't feel that either. I know there is problems with all systems of course..both here and back home..but for now I like the fact that he has choices and can see whats out there.

They have special schools here for certain kids who are not able to go to regular ones. I have a relative that goes there actually..even he learns a skill so to me thats a big positive.

We'll see though after he takes his second test and we talk about the results :)

Rebecca said...

"he has a few years to make a complete ass of himself while riding a bike"

That is awesome that the kid can legally drink before driving and that driving is held off a little longer.

Also, thanks for expanding my knowledge.

Nicole said...

How interesting! Thanks you for sharing. My son is 12 as well and in the sixth grade, so No high school for him until 2013.

theTsaritsa said...

It's not true that in the US that you got to a school based on where you live. In most major cities students have a wide variety of schools to choose from, if the school's accept the student's test scores and overall portfolio. I went to a magnet school, a college prep public school, and thank god I didn't have to go to my local high-school, drop-out high.

Sonya said...

Actually it is true..Where I went to school you had to go based on where you lived and where your neighborhood was in conjuction with the surrounding schools..if I wanted to go to a specific school other than the one that was in my area I had to lie and use another address. So maybe where you lived it didn't work like that but where I lived it was like that :)

Lisa and Bern said...

Hi Sonya! I just found your blog and boy am I happy about that. We just moved to the Netherlands 3 months ago and are trying to get adjusted. We settled in the north by his family. I'm American and my hubby is, you guessed it, Dutch. We have 3 children who are currenlty navigating the school system. I guess I'm commenting on this post because of your line about your son still has several years to make an ass of himself on his bike. My oldest son is 11 and has fallen off his bike more in the last 3 months than he has in the last 7 years. It made me laugh and I really needed that as homesickness has definitely set in here :) Thanks for making this blog and including such great info. I have so many questions about where to buy ingredients here. Everytime I walk through the grocery store I am confused and usually give up and go home! I can't wait to keep looking around and finding out more about our home country!
Tot Ziens!

Sonya said...

Hi Lisa!! So glad you found mee :) I know all to well about the homesick comes and goes and you learn to deal with it as it comes along. If you need any help at all with ingredients shoot me an e-mail and I will gladly help out!

Welcome welcome!