Great Leaps Forward and also More of the Same

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.

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