For this winter break we have managed to get the kids registered for several things so that they aren’t bouncing off the walls. Last week they did a couple of days of ping-pong, a play center, and some scouts. This week is about half-structured: kids do ping-pong in the morning and classes at a sports center in the afternoon, and we’re also swapping writing/computer programming with another family. Next week is a full week of camp and then the week after that will be mostly empty.
The kids are making great leaps in some areas. I started a Kumon English workbook with the twins this week and they seem to be getting it. We have done phonics and flashcards and a lot of us reading to them, but this is the first time I’m having them work through nouns, verbs, adjectives, and pronouns. I hope that they could be reading by grade 2.
With Sam I visited the European School/English section today. Sam really liked it. It feels more tightly knit/family-like than the larger American school and also a bit more cosmopolitan than the missionary school. That said, (1) it’s pricey and (2) admissions is competitive. We also have the challenge that we sometimes go back-and-forth between the US and Taiwan, and most urban Taipei schools will make us re-apply anytime we leave. As Americans, we’re also not on the priority list. It was interesting to see what they were doing. Sam has done a lot of what they were doing either on his own or at Lih-Jen. They have a “Dahl Day,” do some programming with scratch, have a “long write” assignment each week, and do arts/music. Some of the difference was also cultural. A teacher came out and greeted us, people seemed very friendly, and Sam in fact saw several friends from Scouts or church.
For fun, I recently bought a Taiwanese C pocket trumpet, a Carolbrass brand. I haven’t played trumpet regularly since high school. I’m already set to play some in church, and today Sam and I found a little brass instruments store in Shihlin. I was impressed that Sam knew the Chinese word for “mouthpiece,” probably from recorder/harmonica at Lih-Jen. He’s also interested in moving over to brass.I bought him a mouthpiece and we found a mute also.