Here we are again, the start of another school year, and our family’s journey continues. As a reminder, my husband and I have been truly blessed with three amazing and completely different kids (22, 14, 13). Our oldest graduated with honors from a highly ranked public school and State University, our middle daughter begins her third year at a local charter school and our son is attending a small private Christian-based school. Thankfully our school agers are thriving in their environments, which was not the case just two short years ago. There is a quote from Sir Ken Robinson that states, “all children start their school careers with sparkling imaginations, fertile minds and a willingness to take risks with what they think." How fast this can change for a child.
Two years ago, looked much different then today. One child was struggling quietly to fit in, to understand the value of the work and was bored. One child was struggling outwardly, everything about school was hard educationally, so bring on the fun. Thankfully we noticed, discussed with them and their teachers, did our research, included them in the process and made the needed changes.
The journey through parenthood is not easy. Each phase brings new challenges, but having been through most of the phases, the school years have proven the most difficult. As parents, our job is to love our children, keep them safe, while raising them to be kind contributing members of society. This role is not for the faint of heart; so many influences, so many decisions, so much second guessing.
The art of curiosity and hunger for knowledge are important skills to finding your value and creating success. The educational institute can unwittingly unleash or hinder these skills. Finding the best fit for a child takes energy, awareness, information and sometimes sacrifice. My husband and I cherish knowing that we had the opportunity to be able to make the best decisions for our kids’ education. Just like each of our children are different, so are their needs for learning. The schools we have chosen celebrate these differences and create a safe environment, and partner with us to raise the whole child.
We don’t pretend everything is now rainbows and lollipops because our kids are settled in great schools. My husband and I both work full-time jobs and mine involves a lot of travel. We still have our daily struggles, having to transport two kids to/from two different schools in two different towns every day. Not to mention the driving to/from after school activities and creating time in the schedule to stay connected to their friends in the neighborhood. As well as finding those moments for our own downtime, family dinners, weekend getaways, laundry, cooking, cleaning, checking homework and staying connected. But, life is now calmer, full of joy & gratitude that the kids are enjoying the process of learning, seeing the power of their creativity and differences and celebrating their failures which leads to success.
I will close this piece much like the last; I highly recommend that as parents you continue to stay involved. If you are seeing warning signs that your child is not thriving in their school, invest the time to find out why. Can the current school make a change to accommodate? Should you move schools? Is a charter school the right environment? What about a private school? We are all very fortunate to live in a state that allows parents to make these choices. Use all tools available to you including your intuition. You have the power to change the world one child at a time.