Bragging Rights

This post is going to be all about our two kids.  It’s my prerogative as a parent to brag a bit and I feel like I haven’t done enough of it lately.  These two young people I’m helping to prepare for the world impress me daily and fill me with such joy and hope for the future.  We’ve been given some pretty crazy drastic news recently, and yet the kids are resilient and hopeful.  It’s really the simple beautiful things that make Zoe and Avi wonderful people.

Zoe has done incredible attending Spanish school this year.  Her final report card blew me away. She got super high scores in Math and Science, but also improved so very much in Lengua (Spanish language, grammar, literature) bringing up her failing 2 to a satisfactory 5 (think a passing D), which I considered such an amazing fete! This is full immersion, folks.  I couldn’t get that high of a grade in 3rd grade Spanish.  She also had the highest score in her class for math.  She is constantly correcting my pronunciation and chatting with friends.  And, unlike 3 Spanish local kids in her class, was recommended to progress to Primeria 4….its not a given that you go to the next grade, they leave kids behind in Spain.

In addition to that, she has really blossomed as a writer (in English).  At home I have made her do ‘homeschool’ classes after school to maintain her level of English proficiency; it’s toned down a lot from when we homeschooled full time, but still enough work to pull through a grade 3 standardized test with flying colors.  She writes for fun, even!  Reports on bears and galaxies, her own comic strip called ‘Nutmeg’, and a weekly newspaper about family goings-on.  It’s incredible.

She is also busy with violin lessons and her own pet projects around the house.  She is forever designing a new non-polluting project, she is really into renewables right now and loves following the Solar Impulse blog, or maybe she is busy planting in her garden and creating setups with the playmobil.  She is creating performances, shows, and shops in the house all the time.  In addition, Zoe is so very often doing or creating things for others…crafts and cards especially!

One week she approached me with the idea of putting on a play; we researched local organizations but couldn’t find any catering to kids (I have since found one for next year) so she designed her own.  She really wanted to do Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night!  We found a 1/2 hour rewrite online which she heavily modified to take out the modern references and ‘crass’ humor (her words).  Then she recruited 8 kids from school and held rehearsals in our attic.  She and I painted backdrops and she organized costumes.  I helped a bit with ‘crowd control’ during dress rehearsal and was a ‘line feeder’ to the littler kids, but this was Zoe’s production!  On a Saturday afternoon, the show was held to a large audience of family and friends in a theatre she set up in our attic.  It was a success!  Again, I’m forever impressed by her abilities to lead and think of unique things.

She values her alone time and I’m never concerned about her using it wisely. This year already she has finished reading the Harry Potter series of books; she and I had a marathon of the movies and heavily critiqued them together.  It was a blast off!  Now she is enjoying the Percy Jackson books and loving that we went to Greece in the spring and refreshed all our Greek goddess knowledge.  She also has a new favorite in Geronimo Stilton…in Spanish, no less!

Avi has also done amazing things this year.  I homeschooled him with the goal of getting a solid reading foundation in English before he head off to Spanish school for a couple years.  He has done so well!  He is solidly reading the “Little Books” and now enjoying the process where it had been drudgery 6 months ago.  In math he has also excelled, so much so that he even finished the first half of the 1st grade program I use for homeschool.  He loved our special projects the best, of course.  We worked through science kits, art projects, trips to the park, and gardening.  More than anything, I’ve enjoyed just being around him and having quality time this school year. It went too fast!

Together, he and I have read through almost all of the Magic Tree House books this year and he has actively filled his tree house passport with stamps from their website.

He is such a snuggle bug and lover.  A tender hearted kid whose emotions come strongly; happy ones and sad. He is quick with a hug but also quick to whine and we work daily on focusing on the good to keep it more in the ‘hug’ zone.  He is very quick to make a craft for someone else or think about who else would enjoy joining us on a trip to the park.

He did so well this year at swim lessons that he is now a veritable fish – diving and flipping off the pool edge even and heading out into the ocean on the boogie board.  He also did a group Musica class after school which was wonderful; he made friends and really enjoyed himself.  Music comes so naturally to him, even his teacher was impressed with his natural violin and piano skills.  He loved his teacher, Gloria!

Avi is a social bug and has enjoyed the many kids and friends we have over to play.  He so often needs to be with someone and enjoys helping me out around the house, especially his garden and cooking.  He is still so very into trains and vehicles, but has latched onto lego building recently; he loves following plans and directions and is always our ‘mapper’ when out on a trip.

Since this a brag blog I won’t detail the struggles, but they are here too.  Now that summer is upon us we’ve had more sibling fights, and recent stresses have put us all on edge but mostly we’ve had fun together at the beaches or mountains or just here in the backyard!



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