Oct 24, 2008

Happy 10th Birthday our sweetest Samantha! We love you "to the moon and back", and are so proud of how you have grown. We will always cherish the gorgeous fall day that you entered our world. We love your passion, your zest for learning, your musical talents, and your love and compassion for babies and animals. We love you always and forever, Mom, Daddy, & Makaela

Oct 22, 2008

After all of the rain last week, the sun finally made its appearance Saturday afternoon. We soaked up as much sun as possible walking, biking, and swimming. The rain is back today, and apparently will last through Friday which means another beautiful weekend is most likely in store!

For the national Brazilian holiday "Children's Day," John Deere put on a neat program at the John Deere park with lots of activities and "rides" (you can see pictures of some of these on the girls' blog). To kick off the event, they had a pedalathon from Factory 2 to the park.

The watermelon truck is back!!! He sits on the side of the road daily selling the sweetest, juiciest watermelons we've ever had. If I had my way, that would be all I would eat.

Oct 15, 2008

Rain. This week we've had one rainstorm after another. It makes the mornings exciting. From our school room, we watch the mango trees swaying back and forth, and with every sway they seem to stretch their branches closer and closer to our window--almost hitting it, but not quite. Our shutters make loud wolf like howls as the wind whips through them. It really is quite exciting, sometimes too exciting. Ever since our storm last spring (October), we all feel a little apprehensive when the windows begin to howl again.
Yesterday, Makaela made her third attempt to attend Cristo Rei elementary school. The plan was that I would stay in the library for the entire four hours just in case Makaela needed me. This plan was way to exciting for me. I was armed with books that I have been dying to devour. As we entered the class room, I started chatting with some of the other mothers and their kids. I introduced Makaela, and I thought all was going just great until I realized my precious little girl was crying, and now clutching to my waist. Ugh. Such heart break for me. Crying in public is something she just doesn't do. I think sometimes the whole Portuguese, Brazil thing just gets to a person. Sometimes hearing me talk in Portuguese makes her sad (as well as everyone else who has to endure me!!!) (When I talk in Portuguese Makaela says that I don't seem to be her mommy). Well, we didn't want to quit before we had even started so, I joined her class. We sang for the first twenty minutes out in the playground--walking in circles, holding hands...it was great! I wish I had had my camera. After singing time, we went back to her classroom. I know her teacher from previous activities, and she is a sweetheart. She was very receptive to me staying in the classroom and she put Makaela's desk in the front row closest to her own desk. I sat in the back corner with all of my unread books, and thoroughly enjoyed watching my little girl interacting, reading, doing math, and making friends in her Portuguese world. Makaela told me that this was her best day ever and can't wait to go back as it is "so much fun having you in the room with me!" So, for now every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon I will be attending Cristo Rei also. I'll have plenty of years to read in the future--for now it's Kaela and I in the second grade.

Oct 4, 2008

On Thursday, I looked into having the girls take some afternoon classes at a local school in town. The afternoon classes that we had been taking in town , have been canceled for various reasons. So, in order to get more exposure to Portuguese, we opted to enroll them in some classes at the small Christian school a few blocks from us where several of their friends are already attending. The girls were very excited to start. So, they attended classes the very same day that I inquired about our options. To make a long story short, Samantha had a great time--a nice teacher, sweet girls, and 2 hours of P.E. class--what could be better? :) Makaela on the other hand, had a miserable time--unfriendly teacher, four hours of sitting in "boring" over sized classes with little to no teacher interaction, and dealing with clicky girls who wanted to keep her in their "group." She disliked every part of it. We are going to try a different class this coming Tuesday and see how that goes for her. It's the class that she originally wanted to be in, but due to her reading ability, they put her in a more advanced class. However, she is not attending this school for academic reasons in the least, so we are going to bump her down to the kindergarten class where she can do more fun things like painting, story time, etc...she's crazy excited about this idea, as one of her "best" friends from here is in that class. We'll see how it goes.

The entire experience of the girls being at an "outdoor school" as we call it has been interesting. I have received many unsolicited, ignorant comments regarding how "great" it is that the girls are now attending a "school" where they can be "socialized" and "experience the real world." I respect the fact that these folks are speaking out of ignorance (as homeschooling is obsolete--not to mention illegal in Brazil). I am deeply thankful, that I have had the good fortune to be born into a country where I can choose how to raise my own children, a country where the government cannot take my children into custody because I have chosen to make sacrifices from my own career possibilities, and give my children what I deem to be a superior education at home. Here in Brazil, two boys who have been homeschooled in Sao Paulo are in the midst of a vicious lawsuit in which the country has threatened to take custody of the children for no other reason than for homeschooling. The children are well educated, and bilingual. The revoking of the parental rights is purely political. The belief that one person who has limited vested interest in a class can teach 25 students better than 1 teacher (a parent with vested interest) can teach 2 children does not seem sensible. That is why after all, private classes are sought after, right? The students who I teach at the local English School, pay a premium price to have a private class with me. Why do they pay more for one on one? Why does this concept not pass over into elementary school? Anyway, it is absurd that we punish the conscientious parents, and reward those with the herd mentality who make little to no purposeful parenting decisions. Parents should be allowed to be the parents--not the state. I personally support all school options--we need every sector. I am grateful for the wonderful public schools we have, the private schools options, and the hundreds of homeschooling curricula a parent can choose from. I am grateful that I can put to use all three of those options depending on the need of my children. I have had such awesome support regarding my homeschooling decisions back in the States--support from my family; from my friends who send their kids to public schools, private schools, or who homeschool; friends who are teachers in every sector; neighbors, etc...but, here it has been one attack after another due to the intense need to conform. I am truly thankful for America, and the freedom we still have--the freedom to be who we choose to be.