The younger Frenchling had double the fun. Four years ago she decided that she wanted an education that was more international - something similar to her school in Tokyo - and she was motivated enough to do the research herself. What she found was the Lycée de Sèvres.
Sèvres - Sections Internationales is a state-supported (public) French school on the outskirts of Paris that offers not just one but two bi-lingual programs (German and English) from elementary school through high school. The students follow the regular French curriculum in French (indispensable for passing the French Bac) but then have other classes in the second language in order to prepare for a wide range of other certifications recognized by the German, UK, US, and other university systems. What an elegant solution for bi-lingual education and since this is a public school, it's affordable for a middle-class family here.
But just as she spent four years with extra classes and a very long school day (8 AM to 5 PM), this meant that she had extra exams too. There were 16 of them over two weeks in French and English. At one point she was so tired and stressed out that she told me that she was having second thought about having done this program.
She survived just fine and when it was over her father whisked her off to Japan (her graduation present) for a week sightseeing in Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka. I stayed behind (I'm still not 100%) and had the task of picking up her scores yesterday.
The atmosphere at the school when I arrived was almost exactly what it was two years ago at the elder Frenchling's high school. A lot of very tense kids. As each student received his or her results, there was great joy on the part of some and deep despair for others. There was one young man who kept looking at his scores and saying, "Mais qu'est qui se passe?" (What's going on here?) Other kids were leaping into the air screaming "Oui!" and hugging their fellow students with joy.
I was as stressed as the kids but I'm a nearly 50 year old "Madame", very conscious of her dignity, and so I took the folder and went to another room to turn in her books and have a look. Under the eye of one of the administrators I opened the file and started reading.
There were two conditions for the younger Frenchling to get her admission to the University of Montreal Physics program confirmed: pass the Bac (total score over 10) and get at least 11 in Mathematics and Physics. As I read the scores I started smiling. She ACED math and physics - she got 16/20 in both subjects and her overall Bac results earned her a "Mention Bien." I threw up my hands and yelled at the top of my lungs in English, "My daughter is going to be a Physicist!"
So the younger Frenchling will be joining her sister in Montreal (the elder Frenchling is at McGill doing Honours Psychology) this fall. I am so proud of both my daughters. My dreams as a parent have been realized - I have children who are much much smarter than I am.