Living, Learning & Loving La Vida Nueva

Saturday, June 17, 2017

One Down, Lots to Go!

Yesterday Kyle completed his kindergarten year!  We are so proud of all the skills he has learned this year.  It hasn’t all been smooth sailing, but overall we’ve had tons of fun!

Last day of school

First day of school

Started at the table, ended by the fire because it is cold!

We started each school day by praying for an African Unreached People Group.  AIM has created cards, much like playing cards, which represent African UPG’s and give a small description for each.  Then we did a daily devotion, practiced a weekly memory verse, and read a Bible story.  Throughout this school year, Kyle learned 25 Bible verses and we completed one and a half children’s Bible story books.

We then did math, practiced handwriting, and did reading.  We finished math with about 15 lessons remaining in his book.  They were all review anyway, and I am content having done 145 lessons.  He completed almost the entire Reading Made Easy book which I anticipated taking us two years to complete.  He really has this reading thing down.  He also completed one and a half of his “early readers”.  I started the year with one goal: teach the boy to read.  I believe I accomplished my goal!  After reading, he would copy two or three sentences from the story in Reading Made Easy.  

Sometimes Kyle stays up too late Sunday Night Sleepovering with Dad and Monday morning is a drag.

I had hoped to do a lot of reading aloud and it just didn’t happen.  We did read aloud a number of children’s chapter books and we managed to read through a book and a half of the Uncle Arthur’s stories.  I hope to find more really good read alouds for next school year.  We started quite a few which were recommended, but the vocabulary was way more advanced than I thought he was understanding and he seemed totally uninterested.  The ones we did find which were on his comprehension level, he loved. 

Copy work from early in the year

We baked plenty of cookies, colored plenty of pictures, and took plenty of walks.  We played plenty of games!  Over all, I am very pleased with how his first year went.  I have some work to do, getting my girls to play quietly without interrupting us.  But I believe we can find a decent routine after a couple months' break.

So proud of my boy!  In celebration of all his work, we had a little party with a few neighbor boys last night and, of course, baked a cookie cake to share!


Thursday, June 1, 2017

Coffee with a Friend

Ellee turned four last week.  I am totally crazy about this girl.  She is so feisty.  She keeps me on my toes and stretches me far and wide.  But she loves generously.  She doesn’t ever withhold a compliment or word of affection if it pops into her little head.  She really is sugar and spice and I love her for it.  I hope she always keeps her spunk.

There are a million and one things I could share about her.  But I really was struck last night by how accepting and kind she is to anyone.  I went to get her from a neighbors’ house and found her sitting at their kitchen table, sipping coffee and munching chewy Basotho bread.  She was talking the ear off our neighbor’s shepherd.  It is winter, so the shepherd is back in Mokhotlong to be out of the harsh environment of the rural mountains.  During the summer, he lives alone way, way out in a small hut.  However, it is safer for him to spend winter here, because he has more access to heat sources and doesn’t run the risk of freezing to death if it snows.  During the winter, the shepherd goes off in the morning with the herd and doesn’t return until sundown.  When he gets the sheep and goats back into their corral for the night, he goes to the house kitchen for supper, which he typically eats alone.  He eats a massive portion, as he hasn’t eaten all day, and he isn’t shy about shoveling it in for that very reason.  After supper, he goes down to his own small house beside the corral and sleeps, only to do it all again tomorrow.  He does this routine every single day without exception.  He doesn’t speak a bit of English but that didn’t deter Ellee.  She was just jabbering away about how hungry he must be because he’d been gone all day.  And something about the sheep and goats and I don’t know what else.  I couldn’t help but smile at how opposite it looked, little Ellee with her french braided blonde hair, pink jeans and light up Minnie Mouse shoes in the chair beside a man who couldn’t be less like her.  The shepherd, although friendly, is very rugged.  He dresses in very traditional shepherd garb.  His clothes are well worn, his beard is scruffy, his thick blanket and heavy rubber boots quickly indicate that he spends his days quite isolated while he watches the herds graze on the hillside.  I would honestly expect Ellee to be a bit skittish around him.  Obviously I am wrong about her.  She left with me saying how he is her friend and she would finish her coffee tomorrow with him.  She didn’t want him to eat alone.  I don’t pretend to know or understand all the cultural morĂ©s here.  But I’ve heard and seen enough over my years here to know that shepherds are not generally accepted as friends by non-shepherds.  They do their jobs, but they are quite a separate part of society in most cases.  Not to Ellee though.  She hasn’t lived long enough to pick up on those social boundaries and I am glad.  

I hope she never allows her friendliness to be contained by social groups.  I hope she will always befriend the outcasts or those who are viewed as different or less important.  I hope she never cares if someone is black or white, rich or poor, educated or not.  I hope she always pulls up a chair and talks about life with another gentle, friendly soul.  I hope she never quits enjoying coffee with a friend.  I hope she never changes.
(Table Mountain, Cape Town RSA)