Wednesday, April 14, 2010

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.

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