We at VanDamme Academy love hearing stories about things the students do or say at home that reflects their VanDamme Academy education. I recently asked parents to share some stories from home. Here are a few highlights:

Calvin (5):

I was talking to Calvin about the upcoming trip to Schoolhouse Rock, and I told him how much I enjoyed the songs as a child. I started singing “Conjunction Junction for him: “Out of the frying pan and into the fire. He cut loose the sandbags but the balloon wouldn’t go any higher. Let’s go up to the mountains or down to the sea. Always say ‘thank you’ or at least say ‘please.'” Then Calvin said, “Pan, fire, bag, balloon, mountain and sea are nouns.”

Mrs. O’Brien’s poetry discussions and literature readings have had an impact on Calvin. He’s begun to describe things metaphorically. Yesterday he told his little sister she has a smile of sparkly snowflakes. He told me my eyes are made of fairy dust, ocean water and chocolate milk. (They’re green with flecks of brown and a rim of blue.) Later that evening he was thinking of Mrs. Beach and her black hair. He said, “Mama, Mrs. Beach’s hair is made of night-time sky and pretty, pretty stars.”

Last week we were sitting down to dinner and Calvin said, out of the blue, “Daddy, would you rather eat leather or die?” (I hope my cooking didn’t put that idea in his head.) After some prompting from us, he told us he learned from Mrs. Beach that Columbus and the sailors on his ship ran out of food and had to eat leather to survive. He made a little game out of thinking of other things that might have some nutritional value and could pass as food if he were stuck on a ship in the middle of the ocean. “Would you rather eat sawdust or die? Would you rather eat leaves or die?”

Jonathan (7):

Allie, Johnny’s younger sister, received a copy of the Disney film Pocahontas. She was telling him about the movie when he said to her: “That’s not the real story at all.” He then proceeded to tell her his entire history lesson on the subject. When I asked him if it bothered him that the movie wasn’t the real story, he said, “No, movies aren’t real.”

Lana (8):

Yesterday, on the way to a birthday party, we passed La Paz Rd., and Lana declared, “La Paz is the capital of Bolivia!” (A fact learned in Mr. Mizrahi’s geography class.) Later that day, she feared Greta was being too rough on their dog Gracie, and said, “Be careful not to hyperextend her paw.” (A term learned in Mr. Krieger’s science class.) Over the summer, when I was at the gym with the girls and Lana heard someone say his son didn’t “do too good in school,” Lana waited until he was gone and whispered to me, “Don’t worry, Mom. I corrected his grammar in my mind.”

Darcy (4):

Darcy was telling me that she missed her family in Virginia and wanted to move back. I told her I understood how she felt and that it would be so nice to be near her aunt and grandma. I then said that if we did go back it would mean that Darcy wouldn’t have her friends Lana and Greta nearby, wouldn’t be in Mrs. Beach’s class, wouldn’t have her classmates, etc. Darcy said, “I have an idea. We can do what they did in olden times and start a colony.”

Bianca (8):

At home one evening, Bianca was plotting schemes to steal balls from the boys at recess in their benevolent, ongoing boy-girl rivalry. She read her plans to me in the car on the way to school. I was instantly struck and thrilled by her scheme: it was in outline form! I thought to myself, “My child has an orderly mind! She THINKS in outlines!” This is unquestionable the result of the structured note- taking and writing she does at VanDamme Academy.

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Lisa VanDamme

Lisa VanDamme obtained her BA in philosophy from the University of Texas (Austin) in 1995. While pursuing graduate studies in education at Pennsylvania State University, she was invited to California to develop a curriculum for a gifted child who was not being challenged in traditional schools. She found that her program worked equally well for students of all levels of ability, and has had success educating students from 4th-8th grade for the past six years. VanDamme Academy is the product of her six years of devotion to developing and teaching this inspiring and systematic curriculum.

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