Monday, April 26, 2010

Grace's French word challenge

Since we started homeschooling, Grace has done all kinds of amazing projects. We have studied ancient art, we have read mythology and great fiction, and we have slogged along methodically through the peaks and valleys of fifth grade math. We have also studied human rights together, focusing specifically on the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Grace also has been gradually pulling ahead of me in terms of her spoken and written French. Her secret? Natural talent for languages, plus the dogged determination to work on learning new things every single day.

Out of two of her main interests -- French and human rights, she knit together her own project. When the major earthquake hit Haiti, she wanted to do something to help. I told her about Partners In Health, an organization started by activist physician Dr. Paul Farmer and sustained by donors, volunteers, and an ever-widening web of ordinary people who wish to support their ability to do the extraordinary.

She decided to launch a 400-Word-a-Thon in support of Partners In Health. She said she would learn 400 brand-new French words to encourage her friends and family to donate to this remarkable organization. She has been working on collecting and learning those words ever since.

Here's what she wrote about the project on her own blog:

While I was studying for a research project on children's rights I was forced into the lives of children whose lives never should've turned out the way they did. There are children in the world who are forced to be married under the age of thirteen, children who are isolated from their families and forced to go to war, children without healthcare, children forced to skip school and work in factories, children dying of preventable causes, and many other horrible things.

It was only shortly afterwards when I heard about the earthquake in Haiti. When I learned that Haiti was already one of the poorest countries in the world, you can probably understand how sad I was for the children growing up there. And that's when I realized that not only children are suffering from abuse and lack of safety and healthcare, but people of every age, kind, and civilization. By this point I was overpowered by sadness and I knew I had to do something about it.

So I decided to do a French-Word-a-thon. I didn't want to do another read-a-thon because people do them so often that every school has one at least once a year. I wanted to do something different that no-one else would think of and that was really hard to do because then people would be really excited about it and would want to pledge more money for Haiti.

And I hope that at least a few of you can find love in your heart for all those dying parents and their uneducated, sick or injured children who need them to continue living and loving them.

Today, four days early, she finally vanquished the enormous stack of flash cards.

She and I hope that you will learn more about Partners in Health (and donate, yourself) by clicking here.

Our special thanks to the following, who have already pledged or donated: Nona, Grandma and Grandpa, Auntie Gaela, Katie, Jackie, Kate T, Kate W, Maria, Lucia, Anna-Maria and Dermot, Aups Jessica, Paris Jessica, Hilary, Peter, Hawthorne, Aunt Mary, Aunt Bonnie, Zaro, Toni and Bud, Wendy, Hillary, Hilary, Terence, Auntie Eileen, Mary, Alain, and Buck

1 comment:

  1. So proud of you Grace! This weekend the kids and I are going to spend some time on the PIH website and make good on our pledge. Thanks for bringing this organization to our attention. We are REALLY impressed by your great work learning French and admire your generosity, the depth of your caring, and your ability to inspire others to get involved with this cause. Hugs to you from all of us!