Friday is the last day of school here so I thought I'd tell you about the unique school experience my kids have had here in Small Town.
Guapo and I came to Small Town for two days before we actually moved here to check out housing and schools. I will have you know I spent the better part of those two days crying in a room at the Holiday Inn.
At the time, Margarita (now 8 yrs) was finishing up her kindergarten year at an excellent international school in Caracas, Venezuela. There is no international school in Small Town and the Mexican schools that we visited were just not acceptable. But, we had to come, so we picked the lesser of the evils for her last three months of kinder.
During that time, she brought home lots of homework: my favorites were memorizing multiplication tables (she had just turned 6 for Pete's sake), and cursive writing. She dealt with it like a champ, but as a mom, it was difficult to watch. This lifestyle is hard enough, but when you feel like you are hurting your kids, it can be almost unbearable.
(When Julio attended Pre-K at a Mexican school last year he brought home math problems like, “24-16=?” If he missed school, I would be reprimanded by the teacher that he was holding the whole class back. Grrrrr. And when a kid hit another kid, the hit-ee was instructed to hit the hitter. Great, just what I want my kids to learn.)
Enter Ms. R, an American teacher who was here working exclusively for an international company. Long story short, several companies, including Guapo's, teamed up with her and for the last two years she has been my children’s teacher (Margarita for two years and Julio for the past year).
During that time, the school has ranged from 8 to 12 students. They follow the Calvert homeschooling program. Class is held in a house that with the help of Ms. R, has been made to look like a school inside. Here is Margarita's classroom:
Ms. R does everything in her power to make the kids' experience as "normal" as possible.
They take field trips. Here they are visiting the Small Town Zoo:
They have cultural events. Here's a shot from "Colombia Day" where they were learning about typical Colombian dance:
So, thank you Ms. R, for being such a blessing to me and to my children the last 2 years! We will miss you!
If Ms. R hadn’t been in Small Town, we could not have stayed here. I can't say enough good about her. She, along with another wonderful woman from Columbia, juggle 4 grades everyday, from kinder to 5th grade. She’s the kind of teacher who requires obedience in her classroom, but does so in such a loving way that kids want to behave. She has been a second mom to all of her students.
So, thanks to Ms. R, what I thought would be the worst part of Small Town has instead turned out to be the very best part. My kids have received loving, individual attention that I don’t think they could have received anywhere else. The schooling situation here would not work for everyone, but it has for us. In March, my kids had entrance exams at several schools in Big City Mexico and everyone commented how far ahead they are. It pains me to take my kids away from this amazing woman and her little school.