Sunday, December 6, 2015

American kid aces Australian history

When we first got here, we had no wi-fi for a few weeks and the kids weren't in school yet, so they had some spare time. Leo read a long travel book about Australia called In a Sunburned Country, by Bill Bryson. It's wonderfully entertaining and in addition to giving highlights of the wonderful things to see in Australia, it contains a good deal of the history and heritage of Australia. Leo has a mind like a steel trap, so all that history poured into his brain.

Just a couple of week after reading it, the youth at church had a Jeopardy game night. One of the categories was Australian History. Guess who aced it? It was fun for him, but pretty mind-blowing to all the other kids in attendance. "How did YOU know that!? I don't even know that!!"

Knowledge is power and you just never know when it will come in handy.

Leo eventually got enrolled in school and continued to impress everyone there with his work ethic and knowledge base. His teachers really liked him. He wrote thoughtful essays and turned his work in on time. Actually turning it in at all would be a strong contrast to a lot of the students.

Last week was the last week of classes before summer break here. They had an end-of-year assembly and gave awards. Guess who did very well?

This guy.

He was chosen as the sole recipient for awards in two categories for his grade level. And check it out! One of the categories is HISTORY! He really enjoyed that class. He says it covered Australia in World War I, including the negative sides of the U.S. involvement. They also discussed the Australian Aboriginal rights and freedoms movement, and Australian pop culture through the ages. I'm so pleased he really got to immerse himself in a completely new world and perspective. The other class was Business and Finance. He chose that class to help prepare him for all the great ideas he has for his future.

Here they follow career paths very early and it limits the variety of classes a student is allowed to take, but Leo is returning to American schools so he still wants that well-rounded education. He's been very thoughtful about choosing classes that will be helpful to his goals and prepare him for college. And then, he has to push for those choices against the existing system that is designed to channel him into just one career path. I'm glad it's important to him!

I asked him what he thought caused his teachers to choose him for those awards. He said he just did the work and made an effort to do it well. I think they also just like him.

Today we had to go into the school to make some class changes for next year (which starts in February). Leo headed off to get some signatures for a while and I waited in the office. The school principal was walking through and said to me, "Very nice boy, that son of yours. You must be very proud." Well, yeah. I am. He also said he was very pleased to have been able to present those awards to him.

Way to go, Leo!

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