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Up on stage

Over the past few months I've mentioned several times the homeschooling group we joined that meets weekly in a rented space in Ann Arbor. There are about fifty families in the group, each with different styles of learning and teaching, different ethnic and cultural backgrounds, different religious or political or what-have-you view points, and different numbers, ages, and genders of children. As a general rule I lean toward the introverted so committing to weekly group meetings with so many children has at times been an effort, maybe even a burden. Still, the group comes with fantastic benefits, and time and again has proven its worth. Aside from wild play and free exchange of ideas, we've loved the parties (homeschooling does not have to mean that your child will never exchange Valentines with others), and the this term we took advantage of the classes offered as well.

For the past eight weeks Calvin has been taking a theater class taught by one of the members of Wild Swan (especially fun for Calvin since he'd seen her perform on stage in one of their productions). The class worked on a short stage adaptation of Rick Riordan's The Lightning Thief. It's a book we haven't read, and probably still won't, but Calvin had a great time with the whole process: day 1 auditions, days 2-6 rehearsals, and day 8 performance.

Calvin was the youngest participant with a speaking character, and he did worked hard to memorize his eight lines and to deliver them loudly and with with clear diction. He became fond of the word diction, in fact. They talked about choreography, they planned stage entrances and exits, they practiced line delivery and expression of emotion.

Performance day was today. The audience was made up of fellow homeschoolers, other members of the group, and in some cases extra parents (including Jon), and the play went smoothly, the most difficult part being keeping the youngest quiet in the wings. They were just so excited. At the last minute I found myself on stage reading the parts of Zeus and Mr. Brunner because one of the kids was home sick. There was one other stand-in as well, but other than the two of us wandering around on stage with scripts, the rest of the kids did a great job with memorization and had a great time up on the stage. The kids in the audience had a great time, too.

The next term starts next Friday and when Calvin found out that theater would again be offered, this time putting on an adaptation of The Wizard of Oz, he immediately signed on.

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