Monday, April 26, 2010

Pictures from Felicity's Birthday Party

Ok, I'm not such a great birthday party photographer. I admit it. I'm not that much for throwing fancy parties, either. But there was cake, there were friends, there were presents, and there was rejoicing.
Some photographic evidence:

Kwamai was on task with a short video:

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

And Felicity Goes to Art Class

Today I actually had the experience of having both children in classes! While Kwamai was investigating school, Felicity attended her first homeschool art class at the local Center of Music and Art.

Last week we happened to stop by there to drop of a poster to advertise a benefit concert I'm organizing. I had never actually been inside before, and both Kwamai and Felicity were very excited by the place. Kwamai wants to take drum lessons, and Felicity was awed by all the art supplies. The Center offers a class for children ages 5-12 twice a month, and as Felicity is less than a week from 5, it seemed fitting for her to try it out. There was only one other girl who came to the class today (as it is a session-by-session class, so people can attend when they wish), and she happened to be 12. So the teacher was able to work with each of them at their respective levels. Felicity learned to draw people and make people out of clay, and she also drew and colored some lovely flowers. They use high quality art supplies, which is probably the most fun of anything. Felicity said she can't wait for the next one because she's excited to discover everything there is to learn. I think she has also discovered her new favorite place to shop.

Kwamai's First Day of School

Kwamai spent today visiting a 3rd grade class at the local Catholic school (Bishop John King Mussio Elementary). He asked me a few weeks ago about the possibility of him going to school, and I suggested that he try it out for a day, sort of taking a test drive. He went through phases of being excited about it and then wanting to forget about it. But then with the passing of time, he simply took it as a serious experiment in which to participate today.

He sprang right out of bed at 7 this morning, and was remarkably polite to me as he got ready, ate breakfast, and tried to figure out what to do before we left at 8am. We arrived just in time for morning prayer in the cafeteria, where the Principal met us and was rather surprised by how (as she put it later) about 3/4 of the kids greeted Kwamai by name!

I got at least a partial report on the way home. Over all, he said he enjoyed the day but likes homeschooling better. He said the best things were that he traded his potato chips for Doritos at lunch time, and that he made friends extremely fast. But he said also that with our style of education at home, "you just find the answer, not the problem." I think that translates thus: he values learning in a natural setting, where finding the answers to questions makes sense in a real-life context. School, on the other hand, seemed to propose a lot of abstract, fictitious reasons, like textbook questions, to find answers that held no apparent meaning.

It seems he enjoyed the experience, and wasn't surprised by much of anything. But he's not itching to make a permanent switch. It was also sweet to see that he really missed Felicity. Upon returning home, he asked "Felicity, will you play with me? Yes, or yes?" I don't know that I've ever heard him explicitly ask her to play with him like this before.

As I watched all the kids file out after morning prayer, I couldn't help but notice how young they all looked. That particular school only goes up through 5th grade, so I suppose Kwamai is right in the middle age range.

The Principal asked me if I was nervous for him all day. Pfft, I said, heck no. I was just really interested in hearing everything he would think about it.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Easter Egg Hunt

Kwamai just carried out a neighborhood Easter egg hunt that he organized. And believe me, he organized it all quite apart from my involvement (and even knowledge, and schedule-approval at first!). It all worked out, though, sort of. There were about a dozen kids from 3-10 who gathered at the school yard behind our house (the school has been closed for a couple of years). Kwamai and Felicity hid the eggs, and the other kids found them. There was some dissent especially among the older ones who didn't like having to share with the smaller ones, especially that smaller crying girl, Felicity. One of his friends was quick to point out Kwamai's organizational flaws: not enough eggs, having to share with the little ones, everyone let loose at one time. Kwamai was a bit put out by the complaints at first. But then the kids from one of the families all marched back and started thanking me for the Easter egg hunt. I told them they'd need to thank Kwamai since it was all his doing. So, they did. I think that made Kwamai feel a bit better.

I was really rather impressed with Kwamai's initiative, leadership, and the direction he gave the group even though of course there were a few bumps. I hope he also took to heart the lesson of having disgruntled kids on his hands, because somehow I can sympathize with how that feels!