There was a party at my house last Saturday night. It was a pretty big party and one I notified the neighbors about so they would be prepared for the traffic, people, noise and a yard full of lights. But this wasn’t my party. I wasn’t the host. I was essentially the venue.
My great-nephew Kristopher (see My Graduate) is graduating from high school and his parents threw his party at my house. They made the plans, bought the supplies and food and spent the time stringing up a mile of lights around my house. Tables and chairs filled the back yard and food/beverage tables were set up on the back porch deck. A jumping castle that could hold adults was set up in the front yard (fondly called the football field) was a dead giveaway there was something happening here to passing vehicles.
I was the venue. It was also my gift. I have this big place that Kristopher, along with his siblings, grew up coming here. It was an interesting dynamic for me not being the host. I am a pretty good party planner and most people enjoy a party at my place. But this was about Kristopher and his parents. Indeed, there was family I am related to and mutual friends in attendance, but I found a balance helping my niece with the steady refilling of food dishes and running interference when something needed attention so she could spend time with her guests.
A day later and the only signs of a party are the full garbage cans ready for Wednesday’s collection and the occasional glow necklace or bracelet in the grass. My home is at peace now, gathering energy for the next party, my own or otherwise. I’m open.
My great-nephew is graduating from high school. This is a young man who struggled in school when he was younger. In fact I home schooled him for his third grade year because the school he was attending had no resources to tutor him. So I quit work and spent the year bringing his math skills up to the appropriate level. This was a child who could read at a fourth grade level but couldn’t add.
I was not going to let him fail and I was the one who could help him. After researching into what his math block might be I found that as we are starting to learn our brains break the concept of numbers into the visual-the number we see and the conceptual-what that number is in quantity. For example the number 3 is visual. The number III is conceptual. But they are equivalent. He had a disconnect between these. In his mind 1+3 and 3+1 required separate calculations. They were independent of each other. This was a young person who required the old-fashioned memorization process.
Once this process was put into place using math flash cards he started making progress. By the time our year was complete he could add, subtract and had started to learn multiplication. He could tell time and make change.
The most amazing thing was I could reward his hard work with history and literature. This little fella loved history. We learned about all fifty states by the history of each state.
I also helped him become a student. I tried to impress on him that the teacher was there for all of the students but it was difficult for a teacher to work individually with their students and he needed to make sure the teacher knew when he needed help. We worked out the way for him to ask for help and what to expect in a public school classroom of 25-30 students. He did well one-on-one but was shy in expressing himself in the classroom.
He is graduating from high school and my heart is happy.