The switch to a new school was a long time coming, but a difficult decision to make. Girl two was thriving. The grass is always greener. What if. But Boy two’s situation demanded that we find alternatives.
I could do it for the others as well, but here are boy two’s first days.
Day one (visiting day): Hi Mom. Can I stay at this school?
At dinner time, unprovoked (the rest of us were chewing): I learned about molecules today.
We tried to be nonchalant. (Later we discussed. When was the last time he came home and said he learned something? We couldn’t remember.) So what do you know about molecules? asked my husband. How do they work?
A clear explanation of molecules in three states of matter followed. We stopped eating and stared.
The boy who does not like morning was out of bed, dressed and ready to go. That day he learned about electrons and began a unit on electricity. He sparkled telling us that there would be a project at the end. One year someone had made their own burglar alarm.
At pick up, I could see his cheeks twitching with the smile he was holding in. Staring straight ahead with failed attempts at normal, he held a guitar. He climbed in the car and his grin won. It had been music day. He was required to study an instrument. The teacher said she had an extra guitar and would he like to learn it. He worked excitedly on music theory, then strummed his guitar for the evening.
How was school?
Same as usual. Which for this school means great. It was a really good day.
Hi Mom. We started learning a poem today, but I think I’ve got it, except one part, want to hear it?
A recitation of Frost’s, “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening,” followed.
What’s that book?
It’s a book on penmanship. I asked the teacher if I could bring it home to work on it. The other kids know all their lower case letters. Some people call it cursive. At my school, we just call it writing. Want to see what I’ve done so far?
Boy two likes school now. He may even be a morning person, we can’t tell. Girl one is more peaceful than we have ever seen her. She also brings home her work with new pride and intent. Girl two remains in love with all creation.
We are optimistic, but honeymoons happen. There are no perfect schools. Time will tell if we’ve stumbled into where they belong for good, or even if the goodness we found can hold its own enough to keep the doors open.
Education either provokes wonder or it lulls it to sleep. Fifteen minutes from our home, in the middle of some farmers fields, is a tiny school who prefers its students awake. To this little school, I say, thank you for the wonder.