Tue, Sep 7, 2010

General, International, Vocational


The nonprofit, volunteer-driven afternoon English/literacy program we have joined serves kids from K-6. Classes are broken out into one-hour lessons based on age group.

Because the boys are beginners in Spanish, and because the instructors use both languages to teach and to explain things, it is a sort of bilingual education for all.

This is a coastal town, and the development of foreign tourism means that it is very likely these kids will need English for their professional futures.

This is also a town with a public school that is so filled beyond capacity that some kids, like “L” from Nicaragua, are turned away.

“L” (not his real name) is a great kid.  Very outgoing, very sociable, and sometimes mischievous.  He’s the unschooled counterpart to my two unschoolers—only I cannot speak to the input he receives at home to further his numeracy and literacy.

“L” rides his bike in the mornings, or stays home, while other village kids receive public education.  The afternoon ESL/literacy program is the one time where he joins other kids in an academic setting.  And he is not the only child in Costa Rica for whom the system has no space.

Getting to know and spend time alongside “L” has been fantastic for my sons.  He’s a kid like them, charismatic like them.  Like them, he will work someday.  Maybe have a family.  He is being denied a fundamental child’s right, according to the U.N.—that of an adequate public education.

Ironic:  My kids have been opted out of their own public education in order to gain a personal awareness of “L” and others like him who cannot opt to be part of a classroom.

I am sad for “L.”  It’s one thing to tailor a personalized homeschooling and roadschooling experience full of travel and alternative studies.  It’s completely another to grow up in a village with limited resources and be one of the kids who can’t be admitted because the building is packed to the rafters.

It’s this Nicaraguan boy’s reality.

Yet among my family, this reality seems only to sadden me, the adult; my sons think “L” is cool and awesome, not wanting for anything.  They don’t fully realize his impoverished situation like I do.  They laugh at his mischief.  They envy his soccer moves.

“L” is a popular boy and is well liked, even if some of the girls have to chide him for cutting up during our lessons.

Speaking of girls…there is a crush factory at the moment.  And my son, well, he cares more about things like Lego.  There’s a noticeable increase in tween female attendance in the afternoon classes, as well as in girl-giggles and the drawing of hearts.

2 Responses to “Classmates”

  1. Tania Says:

    Esos ojotes van a causar bastante enamoradas!


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