Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Yale Splash was this weekend.  It is a program where middle school and high school students can attend classes of their choice taught by Yale Students.  There are similar programs at colleges and universities throughout the country. 

This was a great opportunity for Grace.  For most middle school students the novelty of selecting classes and finding their way around a school has worn off.  For a homeschooled child, this is very new and exciting.  Schedules were distributed and after a brief explanation of the layout of Harkness Hall, she was left on her own to navigate her way through her morning.  

Her course selection included: Wilderness Survival, Mathematical Origami, The Science of Ice Cream, The Chemistry of Explosions, The Life of Einstein.  The classes ranged from lecture, to hands-on experimentation.  She enjoyed them all, but she shared with me two of her frustrations -- disruptive classmates and the inability to get up and stretch when needed!  

By lunchtime she was ready to take a a break.  It was a long morning.  We left our house at 8:00am, classes began at 9:00am and lunch was not until 1:00pm.  Since Lilah had a 2:00 art class a few streets away, she and Greg met Grace and I at Yale.  Fortunately my niece, who is a student at Yale, was able to take a break from midterm studying and join us for lunch.  I am so grateful to her for taking us to the cafeteria so the girls could get an authentic college experience.

Walking into the cafeteria gives you feeling like you are at Hogwarts, walking into the great hall.  Heavy wooden tables line the room and lighting floods in through large windows.  Chandeliers hang from vaulted ceilings.  Pumpkins and gourds line the fireplace and tucked into the corner is a Steinway Grand Piano.  The food is a mix between traditional college food like waffles, bacon and eggs, and home fries but to my pleasure it also offered some healthy choices like salad, flat bread with artichoke and sun dried tomato, hummus, and homemade soup.  There was soda but also soy milk.  It was a lunch we will not soon forget.  

The highlight of Grace’s day, if not her whole year came when she realized she could play the piano!  I assumed it was for performances only but when a student sat down and began to play Grace’s fingers began to twitch.  It was getting close to the time we had to head back for class but we waited to see if this student would finish.  She did and Grace took her turn at the bench.  What a gift my niece gave her by sharing her time and her campus with us.   I don’t think she knows what it meant to Grace.  Yes, she loved her classes and she loved learning new things, but her favorite part of the day was playing the Steinway.
*The sound quality of this video is not great but I wanted to preserve the moment.

When Grace went back to class, I went back to my work.  I brought my computer and my print out of my eBook with the edits my father made for me.  I had the luxury of 4 uninterrupted hours to work.  I worked at one of my favorite coffee shops.....

 and I worked at the Yale Library.  This is where I would come every time I needed peace, tranquility and a space to work.  My niece told me that during the day, this part of the library is open to the public.  I was shocked.  I assumed it would be restricted to Yale Students.  This means I can come here again!  

This was a very good day for all of us!


Karen said...

Jess what an amazing opportunity. Honestly, this is unbelievable to me. The pictures are beautiful and Grace looks so happy. The video blew me away. I can not believe she is playing a piano at Yale. Beautiful playing by the way. This just made me so happy to read.

Jessica said...

I was really proud of her. It was a long day filled with learning and new experiences. I think the memory of sitting at that piano in such a grand hall will stay with her a very long time.

Homeschool said...

What a great memory and a wonderful experience. I am so happy for you all. Grace was in her element and she is playing so beautifully. Please congratulate her for me.

Mary Prather said...

I should say so -- a great opportunity for sure!

I'm so proud of you working on your eBook... if you ever need someone to read it for you I'm available!!! :-)

Jessica said...

Through the link above I found that a university in NYC has a spring splash focused on math and science. Grace is very excited to participate but you have to be in 9th grade. Next year I will call and see if we can get an exception.

It was a great day. She was glad Claire could join her for a little bit of it.

Jessica said...

What I found interesting was how important the break from the book was for me. I needed the time away from it to look at my Dad's notes and really understand what he was saying. This made me think of how we want kids to write; first draft, edit, publish all one after another. If I did that, I would have missed some key edits. As a result I had a fresh set of eyes, as if I was the reader and not the author, and I was able to cut many parts that were not necessary and add in many things that were.

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