Italian School Schedules and Calendars

Rossella is in her first year at Liceo Artistico (art high school), and we’re all struggling to adjust to her new pace of education. We didn’t know that Artistico requires more hours in the classroom than probably any other school: 4 days @ 5 hours plus 2 days @ 7 hours equals 34 hours a week, with only brief recess breaks, even on the two days that they have a lunch period. This time is divided into 40 periods of 50 minutes each.

19 periods are spent on standard academic subjects: biology, literature, religion, algebra, physics, grammar, English, history, anthology, and narrative (not sure I see the difference between these two and literature, but it seems to add up to several different kinds of reading each week). Then there are 19 periods of art: technical drawing, “plastic arts” (sculpture), art history, and pictorial arts. Finally, two periods of physical education. All that, and they still have homework most days.

School six days a week, ugh. Not only does Ross have to get up on Saturdays: so do I, to ensure that she does, though this is probably easier for me than for her. I’m the only morning person in this family, though occasionally even I like to have the option to sleep in. And most Sundays we’ll be getting up early as well, so Ross can ride. Groan.

School on Saturdays is traditional in Italy, but many schools in Milan have moved away from it, I suspect because many Milanese like to escape the city on weekends, fleeing to their second homes at the beach, on one of the lakes, or in the mountains (hence traffic is hideous going out of the city Friday night and back in Sunday night). Lecco retains the Saturday tradition, so it’s a good thing we are not in the habit of going away on weekends. On the other hand, who needs to? Lake Como is one of the places the Milanese escape to!

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