Thursday, April 2, 2009

French Lessons, Guitar Lessons, Fun in the Big City

We finally made contact with the Macks and it was good to see them. The kids are doing well and her oldest is off to Ivy League college, a nod to homeschoolers everywhere. Congrats to her and TM, nice job, but most deserved of a dedicated set of parents. Then again, there was little doubt that things would work out. Some big changes on the horizon for the entire family.

Spent a nice day in Hanover yesterday, and there was a good chance it wasn't even going to happen. Just a quick note-we haven't heard from C in awhile and were wondering if everything was okay, but that's our neurotic voice talking. We shall see.

Anyway, the Howe was offering an after school French class and I thought it would be nice to expose the kids to some real immersion in the language, so I signed up our oldest, figuring that I could just hang out with N while the class was in session. When we got there, however, the teacher, Madame G, saw Nicholas and invited him along for the ride. I could tell that he was not at first into it by the fact that he was sinking his nails into my arm and wouldn't let go, but to her credit, Madame G was not going to give in. She really encourage him to join in, even though the class was supposed to be for first and second graders, and he gradually warmed up. I stuck around to make sure he was okay, which I was later told annoyed him to no end. He ended up having a blast, and it was once again something the kids didn't want to do, but did, and enjoyed immensely. Just goes to show you, sometimes you just gotta try it before you decide.

We'd love to continue along in the same vein, but the Ray School French program no longer exists, though Madame G still teaches, so maybe the thing to do it contact her directly. She made the experience really fun and exciting for the kids. Denise said she knew of another French tutor and would find out more for me. Thanks.

Guitar lessons were earlier in the week, and that's been going along slowly but surely. Again, the kids really like the lessons, and I think it's because it's with other kids and it's taught by a kid. Makes it more fun and rewarding. They have shown a lot more interest in the instrument, as well, and though we are a long ways off from playing cord transitions, they are learning to strum and tune the guitar, which is huge. Just a quick note-the teacher's dad commented that N seemed to have an ear for tone, which made me beam with pride.

The key is for us to practice, at the very least, tuning, but better yet, playing cords. It's funny because all this time I had been tuning their guitars (and mine) incorrectly. They are using a method that employs open-G tuning, of which I had no clue. I tuned our guitars regularly, and it just didn't sound right. I had to call my friend K in San Fran to explain it to me, and then it all made sense. Essentially you can play a G cord by strumming the open strings, and then you modify how you play the other notes. It's cool, though we'll have to relearn the cords when open-G is no longer in season. It's just good to have them interested and playing.

We're supposed to see G and I'll talk to him more about firewood possibilities. Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to Dariusz Daras for the pic.


The Book Chook said...

Languages and mimicking generally are such a love of mine. I am so glad to hear the kids are interested. And what a great excuse for a holiday in Montreal!

phredude said...

Susan, you said it. They are much more responsive and able to new languages at this age, and yes, what a great excuse to travel north. Not that we needed one. Thanks for stopping by.