Monday, May 17, 2010

Homeschooling, Cumbaya, and Carolina

Carolina Park

Maya has told me over and over again that she wants to be homeschooled when we return to Baltimore, so when she woke up with a cough and cold today, we decided not to go to school and to try it out. I was sure that it would be a disaster, but she was surprisingly cooperative, and worked in 20 minute blocks of time throughout the morning. We started with Spanish reading, next was English grammar, moved on to map interpretation, and math and English reading comprehension. She played with her computer and watched movies during her breaks, and practiced her violin as well. I had expected the day not to work at all, and then it would be easy to tell her that I was entirely incapable of teaching her anything, but instead, she is convinced that homeschooling is the best possible option. I have been worrying about where she ought to go to school once in Baltimore. She has thrived in the school environment at Colegio Alberto Einstein. She is doing so much better with her Spanish, and the school's approach is a very creative and encouraging. Returning to 'directed' learning in her school in Baltimore may be impossible.

Eric took over once I traveled by bus to Cumbaya to meet my friend Maria for lunch. Quito was sunny and gorgeous today, but it was sweltering in the next valley over. Summers are hot and windy in Quito; the hot is happening now, but it is not windy yet. I love traveling over to Cumbaya; I feel calmer and safer there. Everything feels more organized and less frenzied. I am not sure if that is an accurate description of Cumbaya, simply my impression.

Maya and I walked across Carolina Park in the afternoon to get to orchestra, and I took the time to explore the northern part of the park on my way back. A children's section with slides and teeter totters and climbing gyms covered a large part of the northwest area, and located to the northeast were some enclosed and well kept basketball and tennis courts with umpire chairs. Trees and grass covered the rest of the space, and suddenly the peace and serenity of the park is invaded by Naciones Unidas and Shyris and traffic and people and hotels and the huge shopping mall called Quicentro. I remember being so scared of the park when I first lived here, having been told how dangerous it was, and to stay away. Now I have wandered through each corner of the park, and although I would never walk through it between 5:30 PM and 9 AM, it is friendly and inviting all day long. I wish I had known that for the many months that I have lived here, but better late than never!

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