Summer learning goals partially met
By Ka'ohua Lucas
Do you remember how several months ago I wrote about my ambitious plan for my children's summer learning?
For those of you who may not have read that column, the agreement was that I would allow my keiki to participate in a summer fun program under this condition: They would have to read every day and keep a daily journal.
My intent was to bring inspiration to their reading and writing by providing them with experiences where we live, Kalihi Uka.
Through hikes and visits to specific areas in the valley, I would weave in reading and writing.
All good teachers know that often a solid plan may go awry. In my case, it did somewhat.
But I viewed it as a learning opportunity for the entire 'ohana.
We started the summer reading and writing program with a mo'olelo, or story, about the area.
"OK, boys, let's read the story about Kilohana," I said.
"Mom, we already read that," my 11-year-old sighed.
"I know, but I want to refresh your memory."
"Great!" he snorted.
I had my eldest son read to my younger one the story of Papa and WÉkea and their stay in Kilohana the highest peak in the valley.
They each made a pencil sketch of the story to be used later as a model for their mural.
Over the next few weeks, we explored the back of our valley.
Areas that I had hoped to discover, such as the ho'oulu'ai or shrine to increase food dedicated to Haumea, we never found.
However, deep in the valley we discovered a very special spot a swimming hole devoid of people.
That was a highlight of the children's summer and inspired them to draw and write about that experience.
We made an attempt to read every night. But interruptions were inevitable.
"Mom, there's this really good program on television no violence whatsoever."
"Really? What's the name of the show?" I asked.
"I'm not sure, but I know you're really going to like it! We've seen it before."
And so our summer evenings were not always spent with a book.
One of the greatest learning experiences for my boys was their trip to the Big Island.
I bought each of them a disposable camera and asked them to document each hike we undertook. The photographs were developed, but we never had a chance to place them in an album.
I can envision some of the captions.
"Here's a picture of Mom before we began our hike. Doesn't she look fresh?"
"Here's a picture of Mom and Dad trying to hide from the sun under the 'ohi'a tree."
"Here's a picture of Mom after hiking six miles. She's yelling at me to take a picture of someone else."
On a scale of 1 to 10, I'd give myself a 6 in terms of helping my children reach those summertime reading and writing goals.
The boys' journals may not describe Kalihi Uka in its entirety, and the older son may not have read the entire collection of the "Chronicles of Narnia."
But if you asked those two to tell you the mo'olelo behind Keahiakahoe, or to name all of the ahupua'a within the Ko'olaupoko area, or to play the nose flutes they made this summer, they could.
And I remind myself to keep in mind the wisdom of our kupuna:
'A'ohe pau ka 'ike i ka halau ho'okahi: One can learn from many sources (and many experiences).
Ka'ohua Lucas has an 18-year-old daughter and two sons, 11 and 7. She holds a master's degree in education curriculum and instruction, and works as an educational consultant on Hawaiian curriculum.
Lucas and fellow Hawai'i parent Lynne Wikoff take turns writing the Family Matters column. If you have comments, questions or suggestions for future topics, write: Family Matters, 'Ohana Section, The Honolulu Advertiser, P.O. Box 3110, Honolulu, HI 96802; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or fax 535-8170.