Just wondering

I’m just wondering…

What will it be like – to have my only child enter the big, wide world of public school? A first grader. A big kid in the eyes of a kindergartener, yet the little kid on campus.

I’m wondering, what will it be like for him to play on the giant playground? I close my eyes and see him running, jumping, and playing games with new-found friends. I imagine him in science class, PE , math, social studies, art, music. I’m wondering what it will be like for him to have his own desk, his own pencil box, his own books, responsibilty, school work…

I’m wondering what will it be like for him, to learn it all in a language he does not yet understand?

I’m wondering what will it be like for our family those first few days… weeks… months. Will he love it? Hate it? Beg to go? Beg to stay home?

I am wondering how I will handle all this change. 

Can I be brave enough to let go, but still hold on tight?

Just wondering…

Twist of Fate

For us, it all started with a sign on the side of the road.

Spanish Immersion Public School

I inquire for more information and attend a public meeting to get the details. A few of us gather in an upstairs meeting room at the local public library: small school, one-way Spanish immersion, Singapore math. There was no location, no staff, no approval from the district to open. Never mind those details, I’m hooked. We submit our enrollment application. I am inspired by the passion and energy of the group.

Fast forward 12 months. Our school has a 5-member board of directors, a contract with the school district, a home, a principal, an administrator, four teachers, and a group of very dedicated volunteers.

The roadside sign wasn’t up long, a few days at most. I think to myself, what if I hadn’t pulled my car over that day to write down the name of the school ? There have been so many challenges to getting the school up and running: charter negotiations, lease negotiations, insurance negotiations, employment contracts, grant applications, non-profit status applications, enrollment logistics, public outreach. The list is long and exhausting.

Our team is inspiring. The energy is contagious. Families are connecting and building relationships, starting a community. The school will open in September after years of determination, sweat equity, joy, and tears. And here we are, down to the last few weeks before opening day. There will be celebrations.

And for us, we would not know about this great place, if it wasn’t for that sign on the side of the road.

Top Ten Tips for Raising Bilingual Children

I am hunting for online resources for language immersion support. That’s a big reason behind the creation of this blog. I just haven’t found much, especially someone detailing the day-to-day experiences of immersion school.

I have found few blog sites and websites that have been helpful. A recent post on Multilingualmania.com was certainly worth sharing:

Top Ten Tips for Raising Bilingual Children: http://multilingualmania.com/top-ten-tips-for-raising-bilingual-children/

And I’m all about scoring a bargain. A few Sesame Street episodes in Spanish are available for FREE on iTunes. Search “Aprende con Sesamo” and you’ll find about 4 hours of programming. Searching for Plaza Sesamo will get you other episodes at about a dollar each.

Today might involve a trip to our local library for Spanish music. Or maybe I just need to create a new station in Pandora! Now there is another great idea.

Excelente!

Magnetic Poetry

Our latest tool in Spanish language learning

 

Our latest find, at a toystore in Seaside, for language learning. I bet this will be great for English and Spanish. 

Today’s Spanish camp was a trip downtown via public transportation, to the Chinese gardens, and lunch at Pioneer Square. I asked, “What was your favorite part? Was it the bus? The train ride? The garden?” 

“EVERYTHING!” Ah yes. Usually there is a definitive answer from this kid. The enthusiasm was genuine. 

Next week, he wants to bring one of his new Dr. Seuss books (in Spanish) to share with everyone. 

Early evening crankiness continues after Spanish day. So far, this passes after dinner. I know it’s part ‘out of his comfort zone’ all day and part exhaustion. And after dinner, he’s still interested enough to flip through some Spanish language books on his own. I take that as a good sign.

Julio

It’s July 1. We have 11 weeks until school starts. The weather today feels like spring. Rain and mist, soggy grass, muddy shoes, and long sleeves. It does not feel like summer break has started; how can we be counting down for fall? We need sun kissed cheeks, dirty feet, and band-aid patched knees at the end our our days before it’s time to think about September.

I’m not ready. Not yet.

I ordered school uniforms this week. Polo shirts and navy and khaki pants. I couldn’t pass up a big sale and save some money on the inevitable expense. When it all arrives, reality will sink in all the more:

I’m a mother to a first grader.

You blink and they grow on you. Sleep in their own bed. Pick out their own clothes. Lose teeth. And go to first grade.

Our second Thursday of Spanish summer camp was another success. Today featured a garden theme with planting seeds in a garden, Spanish worksheets, face painting, and bike rides. This morning he asked me to leave as soon as we arrived. He was again exhausted and ready to leave as soon as I returned. There was more participation from him this week and more interaction using our newly adopted second language. We celebrated with a trip to the bookstore for a pocket dictionary for me, and a favorite book for him, but in Spanish.

Now we both need to learn to read it.