2 weeks in at Billabong


So now we are two weeks in and we have a bit of routine. Until yesterday my daughter was loving it. I had some reservations but it was working. She almost fell out of the bus and the bus timings were crazy but it still worked.

I was taking the "daily photo" we are doing and she started falling out. The bhai on the bus caught her AS the driver was driving. This isn't an approved "school bus" as it isn't kid sized and it doesn't have grills.

Our morning routine

525 am: I wake up. Do my morning stuff
535 am: Start boiling water for my instant coffee.
540 am: Make sandwich for V’s lunch. Pack her snack and leave out for Reshma (our maid) to add in fresh chapati.
550 am: Prepare the kiddos’ breakfast (oatmeal or pancakes usually)
600 am: Reshma wakes up and starts my husband’s dabba and the chapati.
605 am: wake up V and carry her to the table so she can have breakfast.
610 am: put out V’s clothes and run into the shower.
620 am: make sure everything is in V’s bag and pack her lunch bag.
625 am: second alarm. V finishes getting ready.
630 am: head down to wait for the bus
645 am: back home. Drink my (instant) coffee and relax for a minute.  Eat V’s left overs. Make sure there is cold milk (most milk is boiled here).
705 am: wake up R.
710 am: try #2.
715 am: negotiate with R so he will agree to go to school. Convince him to eat.
720 am: chase R around so he can get dressed.
735 am: remind husband of time. (MWF I go with him for drop off and we leave around 740 so he can get to yoga)
… then we either leave or I send my husband out with R and I head out…


the point of this post is actually that we have a routine but we are running into the expected issues.

1) My daughter no longer wants to go to school on Wednesdays. On Wednesday she studied Hindi,  which is her designated 3rd language. Being a third language, she is to learn basic words, etc. However she mixes up Marathi and Hindi. Here is an example of what was sent home this week.

Note the English names and then it written in Hindi. However as an international school they aren't teaching the Hindi words in an "english" script. So the assumption is that the parents speak and read Hindi.

Now this past weekend she was super excited and colored and drew all these pictures.

My daughter excitedly made this drawing and asked us to help her name them.

Well the teacher apparently didn’t like that she didn’t know all the names and threatened her if she didn’t know them next week.

2) Threatening a 1st grader?

Who does that? There is no other home guide so we aren’t sure how to help her… and being a third language,  and 1st grade at what is claiming to be an international school… couldn’t they use an international approach to teaching? 

Our second issue is over handwriting. I will admit my handwriting isn’t the best and most of us probably use phones and computers enough that we don’t write often. .. but it doesn’t make it less important. But now we face public shaming and bullying.

3) Homework monitors

Homework monitors get to check to see if people did their home work. Mind you, we chose this school because they didn’t focus on homework and were child centered. But out with the old and in with the new. Apparently by hiring “top” administration from Singhania they are focusing on discipline rather than teaching.

Last year there were 2 teachers per class through grade 4. Now there is only 1. Because of that teachers are doing double loads versus last year.

So the teachers have other kids check the homework that they didn’t have in the past.

Homework that is assigned and written in note books.


Yep… that is the day’s work. Short hand and kids who may not have the best handwriting. 
So other kids tease V because of her handwriting. Until this year she was doing cursive.

Example of her cursive from last year (kg)

So kids have homework assigned that parents have to wade through with hand writing “in process” and abbreviations that we have to try to figure out.

Then the kids who are assigned as monitors tease the kids whose handwriting isn’t upto par. 


I have figured out that nb=notebook. .. but no idea what is in the notebook! And then hwsh is homework sheet.

And then the test she had that was listed no where.

But the teacher wants her to write more neatly. But the teacher can’t write that fully for a child who is LEARNING to read.


4) What tests?

And now she also says there is a test in Marathi but she doesn’t know what and the syllabus doesn’t say anything either.


The letters / Devangari script she knows.  But this doesn’t match up with what she did in her note book.


So will she have to add these “vowel” sounds to something or just rewrite them?

Basically… I am utterly confused. We still do not have the yearly calendar. And things still are not adding up to what we paid for and WHY we chose this school.

So tomorrow after visiting the doctor to go over my labs I will go and sit and ask politely for some explanation… or maybe not so politely.

Wish me luck!

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  1. This sounds so confusing for all !! And not very “international ” :/ what board r they suppose to be following? Also third language should not include writing just verbal and reading usually… Your poor child she is going to hate school :(

  2. OMG I am so sorry this is happening! That sounds so confusing to you and your daughter. Poor thing, its just 1st grade why are they making it so complicated and strict! Teach a kid to love learning and they can learn anything! They are teaching them to hate school and be afraid! Im sorry

  3. Goodess I know that I’m confused just reading it. It sounds like she is getting exposed to a lot of new information but maybe it isn’t very organized? Not sure but good luck getting it figured out!

  4. This sounds incredibly stressful and intense! I really hope that things work out resulting in a positive school experience!

  5. Gosh! U are going through a lot.
    Never have I come across such honest views on schools.Nobody says things so clearly. I have been trying to get honest reviews abt school from parents of different schools and this one is the most honest.

    I feel with a bit of pushing and prodding ,u can try to get an exemption from studying this or studying indian languages at a much lower level than the rest of the class.

    I shifted my school across states in grade 3 and i had to learn a new script.what made it worse was that the language i learnt in grade 1 was similar to the one in grade 2 .some alphabets which were pronounced totally differently in the new language had the same representation.my 8 year old brain was thoroughly confused.to make matters worse i studied the grade 1 book so other kids teased me a lot.
    Reading ur article made me remember those days.

    If u are looking for a new school,please look out for structure and organization expertise.Schools that are well structured in processes often deliver well on promises in india.

    i really love the way u write

    1. Thank you for writing. We just are closing the first term and overall we are happy. Most schools seem to have struggles and unless you pay 5 lakh a year there seem to be inconsistencies. Of course even at 5 lakh parents have complaints too! A good teacher is important and a right fit for the child.


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