it’s coming along, and soon it’ll be coming together

Béla’s sweater.

We’re pretty happy with all our new curricula, except maybe the science workbooks. They are “grade”-appropriate, but topic wise they are all over the place, and no lesson builds on any other. Very Teaching To The Test.

We’ve had this — and two other volumes like it (Physics, and something else)– for years.

Maybe there’s something about this that we can add to the Spectrum Science book — which I think they will just tear through, without much interest (there are no labs or projects, it is rather disappointing… that’s not how we think about science) and think of a way to add this book in as well, for them to work on together. Maybe this is where the “Unessay” comes in for them.

It’s always about fine-tuning and making changes that make things better. School should never be a punishment, or just a grind. Nothing in life needs to be. Particularly things you could end up loving, or already love.

Here’s another example of something we seem to have come to a temporary step forward about: Claudia’s African dancing.

Boy, has she misses Kulu Mele. That group, those people — who are like a second family to her — that movement, that music — it was always so theraputic for her. And to not have it for almost a year has been so hard for her. It really shows — it was such a good outlet for her. And it’s been missing.

A member of Kulu Mele runs an African Dance class on Zoom once a week, but after trying it, Claudia has not wanted to be part of it. I was disappointed at first, but honestly, I can see why it would feel so unlike “the real thing” that it could feel worse than not doing it at all.

I do not want to take away or make negative something that she loves. She knows a lot more about what makes it good for her than I do. I can’t second-guess that.

Although I won’t be able to pay for it too many times, I talked to one of the Kulu Mele dancers who offered to set up a non-live, video tutorial for Claudia every so often; with a full dance routine, and a cultural lesson on the dance itself. (Again, not something I will be able to afford many times, but with so little I can do to help with the economy, I am happy to pay a dancer in a troupe that has changed my child’s life so much.)

Claudia got her first lesson this week, and today was up, and dancing. And learning. Here’s the music she’s dancing to — I can’t share the lesson, it’s a private link obviously.

Living through the country’s largest public health disaster is hard on everyone. (Surprise!) I don’t want my kids feeling punished for not enjoying, or wanting to participate in, very distant and uncomfortable substitutes for the things they love most in the world. Today, knowing she was working privately and no one was watching, she felt more comfortable.

If this gets her closer to the Zoom class, that’s great. If she just likes this well enough until we are in the clear with the virus… then we will do as many as we can manage. I can arrange it when I know we can afford it.

But she was learning a new dance. For the first time in ten months.

It’ll have more staying power, I think, than the new science workbooks (or maybe I am just being too hard on them). But no matter what, we look for new solutions and ways to improve. I think about the lessons I was forced to take as a kid. So many people have stories about how their feelings were pushed aside, for their “betterment”. Violin. Tennis. It really shows how very little we have moved ahead in learning how to parent. No one can teach us better than our children.

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