Saturday, October 13, 2007

Circus School, and Academic School...

Tali really came into his own this week, in many ways. At circus school he managed more than ever before and, though he didn't want me to leave the room, he did let me sit off to the side, most of the time. And at school, well... you'll have to read on for the full details...

This photo, for the record, is our ferry trip in. We've begun a habit of doing some drawing or workbooks (Tal is inspired by his math workbook these days, and Rhiannon by her journal and/or printing workbook) when the mood strikes us, or when on the ferry with nobody to talk to and nothing better to do.

Trapeze, Feathers, and Silks
He's getting quite good at this. This was his third trapeze experience, and the first time he stood up on it. He got the hang of standing up pumping quite quickly!

He's wearing a harness, and spotted by the teacher (holding the harness' rope, in case he falls), but while on the trapeze he's actually holding his own, standing up, balancing, sitting, etc, all on a swinging trapeze, with his own strength and balance.

And today's juggling excercise was: Balancing Peacock Feathers! Taliesin totally enjoyed himself with this, and carried on for quite a long time -- nearly so long that he missed the one chance to do his favourite activity:

Climbing, balancing, and "doing tricks" in silks is actually MUCH more difficult than it looks. Imagine sitting in a stretchy piece of nylon, many many feet in the air, held up only by your own strength and balance... and flipping around elegantly. Even just to stand in the "box pose" (demonstrated here by our circus performer) requires great leg-strength to push the cloth out against your own body weighing it down... all without tipping out. Then try to get your body straight and horizontal in there, like a plank... again without falling. Tal did that too, with help from his instructor. Phewf - Mama was impressed. This is not something I think I would personally excel at, but clearly, Taliesin is in (blue) heaven.

What to do, what to do... Dance!! I just simply couldn't afford to put them both in circus school, and it was Tal's passion, not Rhiannon's, so Rhiannon is finding herself having to hang around for 1.5 hours every week while Taliesin learns circus skills. We've drawn pictures, played with some of the unused circus equipment, and I find it quite boring to be penned up in the gym with nothing to do, and having to entertain Rhiannon... but not Rhiannon! When you have some free time, dance! And dance she does -- with abandon. :--)

No Comment on School...
I can't tell you much about what happened at Tal's school, this week; I wasn't there!
He decided he'd be fine on his own, and... off we went!

There he goes.

Huh. That is a long way away, suddenly.

All that hoping that he would be able to do it on his own, and now here I am, wishing I could have been there to see what he did, that day. I missed him.

I checked in on him at lunch time, and he let me go again... I picked him up after school. And the next day went the same way. It actually took great resolve from me not to say, "how about I stay for the afternoon?" The words "I'll go home and pick you up after class" were rather awkward, and going out the door felt empty in my gut.

And Some Comments on School...
Although Tali's happy at school, and we seem to be making great progress with his growing independence, I do wonder if this is the situation we want. He isn't playing with anyone, and seems to spend most of the time learning to read, write, and work with numbers. He's learning fast, and feels great about his academic achievements, but that isn't really what I was hoping he'd get out of the school. They spend very little time, it seems to me, actually playing group cooperative games. Hmmm... At the moment I don't know where else to get that experience; it isn't really happening at circus school either, and didn't happen at ballet. I don't want to have to organize all of these things myself, but I'm starting to think I might have to.

These are just thoughts, for now. We'll see what transpires. I haven't pointedly talked to the teachers about this, either, though I have mentioned my thoughts on it. I think a serious meeting will be next. Then I can use that opportunity to bring up my concerns over the supposed "standardized testing" I've heard about.

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