Now that DD has finally started in a school in Lima (DUN-DUN-DUUUN!!!), I can close the phase of the home educator with the most grateful amen ever uttered on this continent. Although it had only been a week since the kids in London were back to school, my anxiety (and jealousy) was multiplied by the possibility of our ‘summer holiday’ extending until the next term… or beyond. That in addition to entertaining and trying to keep calm and blah blah blah, I’d have to start pay serious attention to some curriculum – don’t even know of which country – so she’d not fall behind. In the four weeks we’d done the Museo de Ciencia y Tecnología (the day I got robbed); the mini city for kids Divercity, ChocoMuseo; climbed Peru’s biggest indoor climbing wall (three times); gone surfing, cycling and visited most playgrounds with little to do or see, apart from around twenty five homeless cats, half of which appeared to be pregnant. We’d even been to the exhibition of contemporary chair design, as you do. We’d done it all apart from paragliding.
Lima is not necessarily a great city for kids. They don’t do amazing or even pretty basic attractions, like libraries. They seem to value primitive anthropological concepts such as friends and family and spending time together.
We obviously don’t. Thanks to all the years spent in nursery and school, DD seemed to have got this idea that at 8 am she and I would sit on the carpet, and I’d call the register and reveal a white board with a list of twenty-seven fun and developmental structured activities planned for our day together. When spotting her mum’s failure to plan was heading towards planning to fail she started injecting our day with some direction:
What are we doing today? An art gallery? What’s a gallery? I don’t want to go to a gallery. Is there a cafe there? How long are we going to be in the gallery? Can we go to the cafe after? Can I have what I choose? What if they don’t have what I want? What are we doing after the cafe? After we’ve eaten? Draw a picture? A picture of what? And what are we doing after that? What are we having for lunch? What are we doing after lunch? What are YOU going to do after lunch? … and after you’ve been to the loo? Can I watch Frozen? What are we doing now? And if it rains?
IT NEVER RAINS IN LIMA!
Yeah, but what are we doing today, if it rains?
I tried to think what my home schooling friend in London would have done. She organised the ‘Forest Club’ in a true Finnish ‘we-fought-the-Russians’ spirit in Hampstead Heath. There are no forests in Lima, but there are the rocky beaches. I’m sure my friend would have said something like: “Let’s go down on the beach and paint!”
We sat together, back to back, with our paints and brushes. I mixed greys and blues. It’s Lima, it’s the winter. It’s always overcast, it’s always grey, polluted and it never rains. School hunt sucks and I need a job. She was reaching for the purple, pink, yellow and orange with her paint brush. I was going to remind her the point of this planned curricular exercise was to observe and reflect on our environment – not paint rainbows or hearts – but thought better of it. She was engaging in an activity, at least, and wasn’t asking what we were going to do next –
(Now, dear readers, here comes my Buzzfeed link bait moment: “I always knew me and my 6-year-old saw things differently, but then I saw this and OMG THIS IS WHAT HAPPENED!”)