This year in our homeschool co-op, I have been teaching an American Girls class to 3rd and 4th graders, and another AG class for 5th and 6th graders. Right now, we are reading about the American Girl, Rebecca. She is a young Jewish girl growing up in New York City in the early 1900's. Today, we read about how she and her two sisters were making doilies and other linens for their trousseau, a wedding chest.
So I decided that, for today's class, we would try our hands at crochet, just like Rebecca did. My first class went very well. I had only five girls. One of those girls was Britches, and she already knows how to crochet and was actually helping me teach the other girls. Also, I had a sweet adult visitor, Ann, in my class who, years ago, had done quite a bit of crochet. So, between the three of us who knew how to crochet, we were quite able to help the other four girls learn how to make a few basic stitches and even make a crochet daisy.
BUT, my second hour class was a different story. In that class, I have two helpers, but one is tied up most of the time with her little baby. So I only had one helper who was able to assist in teaching crochet, and she didn't even know how to make a single stitch!! Plus, I had NINE girls, all 3rd and 4th graders, in that class, and they usually take a little more time learning how to do something simply because of their age and ability.
I warned the girls ahead of time that I had a project that would be a little challenging, but I knew they could do it. After passing out crochet needles and letting the girls pick their favorite color of yarn, I did my best to teach the two basic stitches - a slip knot and a chain stitch. Sounds easy, right? Not even close!
Out of those nine girls, I had two that had been shown how to crochet by their grandmothers, so they had at least a basic understanding of what I was trying to teach. But the other seven girls had problems from the get-go. I spent the entire class time making my way around the table giving each girl some individual attention and trying to help them understand how to make those two basic stitches. Most of the girls finally understood, and they had a nice, long chain going by the time class was over. But one sweet little girl was having so much trouble and she was completely frustrated.
By the end of the class time, this little girl still could not understand how to even get started, and she was so upset, she was in tears - literally! I do NOT do tears, and I felt terrible that this sweet girl was so upset. She is one of the youngest girls in that class, a 3rd grader, and she often needs a little extra help, but she has never started crying!
There was, however, another sweet girl in that class. Her name is Jennifer. Jennifer is one of the girls who had already been shown how to crochet from her grandmother. Once I showed her how to do the stitches, she quickly remembered and picked it up very easily. She had a long chain going. When Jennifer saw this girl crying, and when she realized it was because she just couldn't understand how to get her chain started, Jennifer told her, "Don't worry about it. I'll show you how at lunch." I hugged the teary-eyed girl and told her, "See, Jennifer is going to help you again at lunch. With a little practice, you'll get the hang of it." That made her feel MUCH better, and she left the class in a little bit better mood.
I told Jennifer before she left that I thought that was a very sweet thing she had told the girl, offering to help her at lunch. Jennifer told me, "Yeah, it's not really that hard. You just have to understand how to get it started. I'll show her."
Well, to be perfectly honest, Jennifer is a young girl, and I really figured that she would forget all about it by lunchtime. But as I sat on my picnic blanket fixing lunches for all my kiddos, Jennifer came up to me and said, "Hey Ms. Nicole, don't worry about her anymore. I showed her how to crochet and she's got it now." WOW! I was so proud of Jennifer for going out of her way to help someone else. She didn't have to do that, but she took part of her lunch to go and help someone else, someone younger than her, someone who was upset.
I thought about Jennifer and her kindness toward this sweet girl all day today. She really did make my day by watching her care for someone else! And I just wanted to brag on her a bit, so that everyone else would know about what she did.