Ardas & His PE Class

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Ardas, who is home schooled, takes a PE class with other home schoolers.

As soon as I got to Memphis, I heard stories about Ardas’ PE class. Stories about the students and about his coach, stories about the little baby who is cute as a button but extremely shy, and stories about the mother named Comfort who greets all the children with a high five.

I am glad I found out about this class because it gives Ardas the chance to interact with other children, his mother told me while driving, and, she continue, he isn’t around children at home and very few attend church. So, he is really ecstatic when he has class.

That night when I put together an itinerary of things to do in Memphis, I included, spend a  school day with Ardas. I wanted to see what it was like for children to be home schooled. It sounded like a lot of work for a parent. But, it also sounded like a sacrifice I wouldn’t mind making (if I had children).

I spent the entire school day with Ardas on Tuesday. I got to his house before he was up. While the school bus was outside making it’s rounds, Ardas was still sleeping.  I spoke with his mom for a while and noticed that Ardas got up alone. He had a light breakfast and while his mother and I spoke, he got ready.  There was no fussing about not wanting to get out of the bed or getting dress. He dressed and fed himself. He also did his lessons alone and seemed interested in the content. He was laughing out  loud while reading Freddy the Detective, a book well above his reading level.  He did extra lessons on the computer (which I found out was catered to them from sites like k12.com , connections academy and timberdoole.com ) and even had an opportunity to play before he left for gym.

The only question I remember his mother asking him was if he prayed.

When we got to the gym, he literally ran out of the car into class. He was huffing and puffing when he caught up with the other students. The parents sat on the side while their children was taught by their coach, who is also a parent of homeschoolers.

Even though they all were different in age, they all were interacting very well. I must stop here and say that to have kids willing play with children who aren’t in their age bracket isn’t always easy. Especially, when dealing with the middle schoolers. Perhaps one would say that their parents being in the room made the difference, but I don’t think so. The setting was extremely welcoming. I have never saw/ felt this type of atmosphere in the schools I’ve worked at in New York. No matter how many anti bullying workshops teachers go to and assemblies children attend there is still a sort of  ‘fear of being openly kind to others’ in the air. However, not here. I could tell everyone was genuine.

After the class, there was another small group session where the children sat around and spoke about healthy eating. The room was small, so parents were forced to speak to one another. I met the coach, Omar Ruvalcaba and his lovely wife, Saleama. Very sweet and serious people. People who you would trust your children around. If their program was in New York, I would suggest it to every parent I work with.  And for a cherry on the top, I also met the shy baby, who that day surprised Ardas by initiating play.

To learn more about their program visit their website at https://gamemphis.org/.

 

Sunday Diner

After church on Sunday, we ate out at Texas de Brazil. I was the only one eating the sweet plantains…until little Ardas tried them and agreed with me that it was something to devour.

Huey’s

When I got to Memphis, the first stop (after settling in) was a popular restaurant founded in Memphis in 1970, Huey’s. Not knowing the history, I ordered a Tea and Salad. This is how the conversation went between the Memphians (including the waiter) and I.

Ashley and Sister Dannise: You are going to want to order a burger

Ardas: And fries

Me: I just want salad…and water.

Waiter: Welcome to Huey’s! What will you like to have?

Me: What salad’s do you suggest?

Waiter: Well, I haven’t had any but they say that the –

Me: I will take the Spinach Salad and a glass of water.

Waiter: Is that all you want?

Me: How much Salad do I get?

Waiter: A lot but, you don’t want to try a burger?

Everyone at the table is now quite. I can sense little Ardas shaking his head.

Me: Okay, I’ll get a burger! What kind should I get?

Waiter: Well, we have the world famous Huey’s burger, the smokey melt burger, the west cost burger, the sunshine burger-

Me: What is the sunshine burger?

Waiter:  It’s served with cheddar cheese, grilled mushrooms, and topped with an over-medium fried egg and crispy bacon

Me: That sounds good. I’ll take it.

Waiter: you want your yoke running or a scrambled egg?

Ashley: Choose scrambled, the running yoke gets messy.

Me: scrambled.

The burger was enjoyable but I did not eat all of it…this was the conversation that happened when I didn’t finish it:

Ashley: Me and my mom are very frugal… so finish it or save it.

Me: I’ll save it.

By the time we got home, I forgot about the less than half of burger sitting on the dashboard and it stayed in the car for two nights! It eventually went in the trash…but now that Huey’s is a thousand miles away, I wouldn’t mind having another burger.