Sunday, April 19, 2015

Back home, conference prep, and the kids' first literary attempts!

We're home! The rest of our time in Maputo was wonderful, we really had a good time connecting with old and new friends. There was a businessman from the Ukraine visiting at the same time as us who connected with Jon and gave him a lot of great advice. He also gave us a generous donation before we left! The kids loved playing outside more, playing in the rain, climbing trees, playing on the playground, jumping on a trampoline, playing in the sand, and doing lots, and lots, and lots of games!

The van we got is SUPER nice and comfortable, and made bringing Jariel's car seat worth it (we've been lugging it around since August but unable to use it). The ride home was long, but the kids were pretty good. We stopped for the night at a little hotel on the way, which helped break up the 17-hour drive. We were stopped at police checkpoints at least 9 times (lost count), most of them just asked us a few questions and waved us on, but one of them was harassing us for not having any car insurance yet. We explained that we JUST bought the car and were told we had 30 days to get insurance, but he was pretty adamant about giving us a 10,000 met fine anyway (about $300). At these checkpoints they actually have a little desks just sitting under a tree on the side of the road, and the officer went back to his desk to write us the ticket and I prayed like crazy that God would change the man's mind, that even if it was a legitimate law that he would have mercy. He came back to the car and said never mind! He gave back Jon's driver's license and let us go without charging a dime! There was much rejoicing :-).

Now we're back to the chaotic house, as it's still torn up for painting everything. The guy we had hired to do it hasn't been very reliable, so we might just ask him to stop coming and finish the rest ourselves. We usually like to hire people to help provide jobs and free us up to do other things, but even after several talks about good business practice this guy hasn't been great. So I'm hoping to have this done soon!

I'm also quite busy with our church's women's conference coming up next week. I'm on the planning committee, will help with cleaning and logistics, and will be speaking at 3 breakout sessions on parental involvement in kids' education. I won't be advocating homeschooling exactly, just giving a nudge to get them to do more educational activities especially with kids under 5. I've been doing research on brain development, and that is the most crucial time to build strong connections and kids are capable of learning more then than any other time of life, yet that's when kids here get most ignored. Hoping to help give some ideas to change that! I'm going to try to get Kyran and Jariel to help me with my presentation, showing off some of their abilities and demonstrating to the mothers there what is possible with early education. Hope they don't get too much stage fright! I've offered them ice cream afterward if they do a good job :-).

In my brain development research, I came across some studies that suggest it's far more important to encourage creativity in the early years than to impart facts. There's plenty of time later for learning about the parts of a cell or the date of the Battle of Waterloo, but the younger brain forms more connections through exercising imagination. So I'm going to take our homeschooling in a little different direction and emphasize creating things! Today while we were painting with watercolors, Kyran started telling me stories he made up, and I decided to write them down and share them with you. As some background information, we've been reading the original A. A. Milne "Winnie the Pooh" books, and I found the 1970's Pooh movie that I remember watching as a kid, and K & J have loved both the books and the film. Having recently finished both "Winnie the Pooh" and "The House at Pooh Corner", we've moved on to "Doctor Dolittle", which we started in Maputo and are almost done with now. (I must say I'm impressed with Jariel's attentiveness to chapter books with minimal pictures! I definitely didn't start Kyran on them this young, but she's been loving them!). Just thought that might help provide some background for their stories, which I transcribed from their dictation (as best I could) as follows: 

Kyran (age 5):
Pooh and Piglet in the Rocket
by Kyran Reinagel
Now the hippo was very, VERY big and it covered the earth! Pooh and Piglet didn’t like the hippo because it was so huge. So they got in the rocket and went out of the earth. Christopher Robin and all of the others got in another rocket and went out of the earth. They liked the hippo, they just wanted to see what earth was like outside the earth.

Piglet fell out of the rocket three or four times. Pooh pulled him up. The third or fourth time, Pooh said to Piglet, “You’ll just fall and fall, and never land on the ground!” So Piglet wanted to get back in the rocket, and Pooh pulled up the string and they turned around and went back to earth. The hippo, the very, VERY huge hippo, was gone!

That’s the end.

The End.

Pooh and Piglet Swinging from a Rope
by Kyran Reinagel 
Pooh and Piglet, one day, climbed up a wall in this house up to those shelves. And they had a rope, and stringed it to the light. The same as piglet falling out of the rocket, and Pooh pulling Piglet back up. And they got across the rope to the light. Pooh went back to the shelves and yelled to Piglet, but Piglet wasn’t at the light! He was underneath the rope trying to get to Pooh! But Pooh went back to the light. They switched and switched, but could not find each other. And finally they both went back to the light, and Pooh said to Piglet, “How are we going to get down from this light we are on?”

And Piglet said, “We could use the rope! And just let it down and we could climb down.”

And Pooh said, “I think that’s a very good idea, Piglet!” So Pooh and Piglet held the end that was tied to the light and Piglet went down first, because he was small.

Pooh, coming down, said, “Watch out, Piglet, or I’ll fall on you!” But Piglet didn’t see Pooh! And Pooh climbed up back to the light. And Piglet looked at the rope. Pooh was not on the rope! He threw the rope back to the shelves and swung back to the shelves.

And Piglet said, “Pooh! Why are you back up there to the shelves?”

“Well, Piglet, it’s like this. You were in my way of climbing down, so I just climbed back up and swung the rope over to the shelves and climbed, climbed the rope.”

“Back to the light!”

And Pooh said, “Piglet, I’m going to climb down the wall backwards, and hold the rope in my pocket.” So Pooh climbed down backwards the wall, but he didn’t have any pockets! He just had to hold the rope on his arm and got to Piglet.

The End.   

Jariel (age 2½):
Choo Choo Train
by Jariel Reinagel
In my story there was a toon and a very shark monster, and it was a Monster Idal. That’s what it was called. And it was a rainbow, it was another monster, it was called “Rainbow”, because it was a rainbow.

And there was another toon that was another monster, and it was big BIG!
I was telling another story to Bubba, and it was another monster, but it was BIG. And the monster was dark, and the bear was dark, and everything was dark. And the lights were off.

And I had another story I made up to Bubba, and it was another monster that was a toon, and it was dark again, everything was dark again. They just played with Piglet, Owl, and Christopher Robin in the dark. They used a flashlight.

And I had another story that I made up to Kyran. It was about crayons, and balloons, and dice, and paint, and paint, and paint. There was a lot of paint at that house. The house was called “Ring the Gack”.

I have another one I made up, and it was about a monster AGAIN! The monster was in that house. They were friendly monsters, and they danced. And they had snacks first. The monster looked funny on the mattress. On the way biggy little bunk. And there was a rainbow that I saw, and it was fun, and it was tuna, and it was a blanket. It was a blanket that was like mine, and it was a pillow. Um, and there was another house I made up to Kyran, and it was another monster in it, and it was a toon monster, but not the same monster, and it was named Tuna. I mean Da. And there was another rainbow. And three rainbows, and four rainbows! And this many (holds up 4 fingers). And a lot of monsters and a lot of stories! And a lot of blankets! And there was a doctor called Doctor Dolittle. In the story I was climbing up the tree, no one helped me down, I just stayed there. Bubba didn’t help me down, I just stayed there forever. Bubba was just watching a movie, I climbed up the tree, there was a little staircase and a butterfly and a penguin and a water bottle and something like a light switch. That’s how my story was. And I was done with the story of Doctor Dolittle. And he did not talk to me, he was talking to you and Daddy, and Janie. Lots of the people were lost in church, but we found them. We left them in the church, but then we found them. That’s my story! And it was found. Not there, but we found him here. There was a blanket that was found by me, and I found it, but Bubba and my brother and Janie and Daddy and Mommy did not find the peoples too! Just one person, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten! There was one person missing of the peoples. The kitty will bite.

And there was something with a bird called “Ring the Gack”, and my kitty was called “Ring the Gack”, and there was another kitty called “Ring the Gack”. Um, and he was wild tiled. That was my kitty’s name, Wild Tiled. And the kitties came with me, my kitty but not Bubba’s kitty. I have a lot of kitties. I went to a lot of places, and they gave me a snack. A really big snack.

There are more stories! And something was lost, and Christopher Robin was lost. He just found me, but in the end he jumped up and down a LOT. And up there he fell, and he fell, and he fell until he was down to the river, and he said, “Ow, ow, ow, ow, ow, ow!” And he didn’t stop saying, “Ow!” And he just kept saying “Ow!” And he did it too. And there was dice in there, there was one, two, three! 

(end of Jariel's stories)
So I'm not exactly sure where all the monsters came from, or what a "toon" is, but "Ring the Gack" is definitely from "One Fish, Two Fish" by Dr. Seuss. She came up with the title after writing the story. Not exactly sure how it fits :-).

No comments:

Post a Comment