Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Heat Waves, History and Homeschool

The Portuguese Summer Heat has set in. Projected temperatures are frightening when considering we have a few fans and nothing more to keep us cool. Even the little kiddy pool out back with it's mysteriously developed hole offers no hope of reprieve from the heat. One of the advantages to such heat is that when I hang out a load of wash, by the time I'm done with the last article of clothing, the first one I hung out is nearly dry! Which means I can get lots of clothes done in record time. I just sweat like a dog while doing it!

4th of July was fairly uneventful here. We didn't even see a firework, or smell the delicious aroma of grilled hamburgers and BBQ. But we did enjoy watermelon....

..and we tossed around the football.

This morning, in between going out to hang out laundry and blogging, I'm being a very mean mother. Summer school is in full force.

When we discuss what we do in the summer with our friends here, I am always met with frowns and disbelief. Other parents cannot believe I 'make' my kids do school work in the summer! After all, 'children are not machines', we've been told.

However, much to my shame and embarrassment, my 11 year old could not accurately tell how many stars were on the American flag when asked by a Portuguese man at church on Sunday. This man knew the correct answer and she did not. He also knew what the 13 stripes represented...and again...she did not.

Now, to her credit, she can correctly conjugate just about any Portuguese verb thrown at her and she fills me in on the history behind each of the 2,000 Portuguese holidays when I wonder why the stores are closed again for the third time in a week. This was one of the concerns when we prayed about whether to allow them to attend a Portuguese school, or continue to homeschool. The decision was made to go to school and to supplement during the summer with American history, English and any other necessary American teachings that they lacked. They actually enjoy it....other parents don't believe me though.

We've been told by another American missionary family who raised their children here and sent them to the schools that one day one of their children (teenager) came to them and asked, "Dad... now is Denver a city or a state?"

Don't laugh...hearing something like this hurts a parents heart. It's one of the struggles families raising children in a foreign country experience. This family shared this story with us as a way to encourage us. They told us to not be surprised when something like this happens cause it will happen. Well...I had my day on Sunday when Brooklyn could not tell or even guess how many stars were on the American flag....on our day of Independence no less......

So...with this all said...we keep on....We teach when we see opportunities. We encourage when they get frustrated. We smile and laugh when we don't know what else to do.......

So goes the Life of a Missionary Wife.


Jill said...

When we were homeschooling on the mission field, I worried a great deal about my children missing out on some of their American heritage. We worked hard to teach the kids not only their surroundings in Uganda, but also the facts about the country of their birth. Good for you in making sure they get ALL of their education!

Mom said...

We/they forget quickly. Like I have said before. My fear is they will not come "HOME". Yet to them home is Portugal. It broke my heart when Liberty told me she didnt remember my house. They remember every day life things.
Please dont let them forget where Mimi and Pawpaw live.

Nina in Portugal said...

Mom, that's why my pictures are so important to me. It helps them remember....it helps me remember too!

Jen said...

I totally understand different 4th of July's! Ours usually are! And I understand kids not knowing certain USA facts. I've recently discovered this about our oldest. This time in the states is a good time to teach all that he's not learning in SA!

Marytoo said...

I grew up as an expat in South America and Europe.

My father was adamant that we would be American. He said that if we were to know only one language it would be English, and he required us to speak it at home.

I remember going to the American Embassy for fireworks and things on the 4th of July. I spent my 7th grade year in America, and it was like a big field trip. All the holidays and weekends were spent visiting historical sites. :-)

Gayle said...

Nina, Enjoyed your pictures! I can understand how children that live in another country can forget but what I can't understand is how many children and Adults in America that don't know this info. It is sad:(

Becka said...

Hey Honey,
Looks like you help them to remember the 4th of july, I think thats wonderful,,,

Dont let anyone tell you that its mean to do school ,I know you & I know you let them have that off time too,you can never learn enough,

you so skinny!! thats so not fair, we are playing the biggest loser at church ,mine doing good for now,its so much fun on a diet when you have someone to do it with & when you have a chance to win some money,lol

Love you girl.

Personalized Sketches and Sentiments said...

Wonderful photos! I am in awe at what your children are learning and how quickly they are settled in their Portuguese home. What a great idea to go over their American history and other topics during their summer. I agree with Becca that a person can never learn enough...and I am sure that you are making these lessons and their learning time a wonderful and fun experience.

Blessings & Aloha!
Stay cool!!! It is hot, hot, hot here in Savannah too :o) And although we do have air conditioning...our air was out for about 5 days! I also have an "uber" long post and in it a blog award (aka blog hug) for you and for Brooklyn...I hope you dont mind me mentioning you both...but I understand if you would rather me not. I need to head out the door for work, but will check when I get back home tonight to see what you think. I'm sorry that I only now thought to ask you instead of prior to posting...if you dont mind me mentioning Brooklyn's blog.

The Hat Chick said...

Oh my gosh....if he had asked 10 people in Times Square the same question I bet only 5 of them would have known the answer! You are not mean to continue schooling during the summer. I am trying to keep my peeps reading and doing math drills to avoid "brain drain".