The big day is drawing nearer… the day when my baby starts kindergarten!
I have been praying about Isla’s education since she was born, and it is a constant worry to me. I am just trusting that the Lord has it all figured out, but I have a few big fears, especially if we continue to move as much as we have. My primary fear is that her (and her sisters’) education will be spotty and incomplete. My second biggest fear is that we will not be able to provide her with educational options that challenge her. And finally I have a fear that we will be forced to pursue secular options. This isn’t a great fear as she’s younger, but as she gets older, I would prefer for her to attend a school where God and His word are revered. I firmly believe as the author of life and creator of the world we live in, no subject can be thoroughly explored with acknowledging God and the part He plays in it.
When Isla was born, a friend sent me Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning (I wrote about it here) and I knew from that moment on that in my dream world, Isla would have a classical education with a Christian worldview.
The public schools in Midland are terrible, and so the private school options are fairly robust. It reminds me of New Orleans in this regard. We have found the most wonderful school here in Midland and I am so overjoyed!!! Isla was accepted this past week, and I keep telling Nick that I have never been so content anywhere that we have lived because a major fear of mine has been alleviated completely. This school is going to be tough to beat wherever we move!!!
Here are some things that I love about it:
- It’s Christian. It was founded by several believing families from different denominations in Midland, one of whom also helped found our church. I am so thankful that Isla will hear the word of God and about Him everyday with teachers who are not afraid to pray with her.
- It’s classical. If Isla stays at this school through high school, she will move into the rhetoric phase of the trivium. I could say more about what I love about the trivium, so I’ll keep it to my favorite phase. Classes are not held in the classic lecture style where students listen while a lecturer speaks. Instead they rely on the Socratic method where a student has to participate to pass! There is a lot of discussion and debate in each classroom. For graduation, each student must write a thesis paper and defend it before a board. Pretty cool.
- The final clincher that helped me know it was perfect is that it is a university model school through the 6th grade. Isla will have two home days on Monday and Wednesday where I teach her based on curriculum and materials handed out by her teacher. Then on Tuesdays and Thursdays and for a half day Friday, she will be in classes like a regular school. I love this! I love that she will have a chance to learn from someone who cares for her and her little heart and mind as much as me, but that I will get to be involved as well. I hate the thought of her being away from me for so many hours at the age of FIVE. My personal opinion is that the push to move kids into school earlier and earlier and for longer hours is INSANE. From 7th through 12th, it becomes a regular school (with block scheduling – holla!) that students attend full time.
- The school REQUIRES heavy parental involvement. Parents and teachers SHOULD be working together to educate a child, and at this school we are welcomed to be as involved as we would like to be. We have to do service hours at the school every months. This helps keep the tuition rates low as well. I’m hoping I can volunteer in the library.
- There is not even one little bit of elitism at this school! That was a big concern of mine in choosing the private school options. Should a Christian school be cliquish and only filled with rich kids? Um no. I wanted the school to encourage children to model love and a Christian heart towards others. From what I have seen and heard of the school, everyone is taught to remember that they are one body. There is even a neat mentorship program in the Upper school where the older kids mentor the younger ones.
Anyway, the more I hear, the more I love. Nick is also very excited after learning more about the school at our parent interview.
I have never been as relieved as I was when we received our acceptance letter. There are a lot of parents who are turned off by the home days, and so there are usually spots available in every grade. Every one told me not to worry, there was no waiting list, just to try to get it in a little early if we wanted Isla to attend T/Th. This is Midland, and so I didn’t trust them one little bit. I submitted our application on January 1st, the first day that you could turn it in. Thank the Lord I did because for the first year ever, both the T/Th and M/W days were completely full and there was a waitlist. T/Th only had two spots available because so many kindergartners were either repeating or had siblings and had precedence. Thankfully we have a T/Th spot! This will work perfectly with Gemma’s mother’s day out schedule. Everyone, including Gemma and Zoya will be able to nap! And mama said amen.
Isla is so excited that I will be teaching her two days a week! I asked her if she would like that and she said “Yes, I would just love that!” She is also excited about her “electives” that she will be taking on Fridays. She has the choice of ballet, Spanish, art and music. I was hoping she would pick ballet, but she chose Spanish and art. I’m a little bummed, but it really should be her decision and she has been very firm that those are what she wants to do.
Anyway, I’m jumping for joy and praising God over here. I really think this might be the reason He brought us to Midland. Midland has really grown on me as we’ve lived here and established a community, and this made everything just click. I am in a very contented place. With Nick’s job, we could move as early as this fall, so I am also at peace with that too, but if we stay in Midland, I will be very pleased.
(And also Isla will learn cursive because some people have been worried about that.)