Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The First Semester

"You are the light of the world.  A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.  Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven." -Matthew 5:14-16

I started praying about my firstborn son's education when he was about 18-months old.  It was at that age that I observed he was a self-motivated, eager learner.  While getting ready to go somewhere, he would point to the letters and numbers on our license plates and recite them, or signal us to tell him what they were.  He did the same thing while at the grocery store with the different food prices.  Over time, it became more and more obvious to me and those around me:  I had a very advanced child.

This day in May of 2015 was a dream come true for our son!
We visited Dinosaur World in Glen Rose, Texas.
As a former classroom teacher, I continued working with him at home, letting him take the lead in whatever he was interested in.  When he was a young toddler, that was letters, shapes, colors and numbers.  When he turned three, just after his Thomas the Train fascination, we moved on to dinosaurs.  This was one of my favorite topics, as I was learning right alongside him!  As a child, I was only familiar with the main species portrayed in The Land Before Time:  Triceratops, Apatosaurus, Tyrannosaurus Rex, etc.  Working with him exposed me to so many more!  Currently, as a four-year old, we are learning about the presidents.  Once again, I am learning, too!

It became evident during his third year of life that he needed regular mental and social stimulation outside of me.  We participated in regular playdates, and are blessed to be surrounded by grandparents and other family members that also contribute to his life.  My husband and I began discussing and exploring different schooling options for him.  To learn about why and how we chose a public school program, please read my entry, The First Day of School.

Our boy enjoys picking fresh green beans from our garden.
Now that we have a whole semester under our belts, I have had time to reflect on my boy's experience as a whole.  He loves school.  He walks out the door every morning with a spring in his step and a big smile on his face.  When I pick him up each day, he is excited to see his sister and me and come home.  When I ask him what his favorite part of the morning was, his typical response is, "Playing on the playground."

Most recently, his class studied a unit on farming, and he brought home a cup with dirt and beans planted inside.  Each morning, right after the sun comes up, he runs outside and yells, "Good morning, plant!"  He has had it for about five days and it has not sprouted yet.  He remains hopeful.

I had some reservations, initially, when sending him to school.  I was confident we had made the right choice, but shared the normal questions and fears most parents have:  Should we send him to school now? (He's only 3.) What if something bad happens on his campus?  This school isn't in the best nor the worst neighborhood, but should we choose a better one?  Our son has blonde hair, blue eyes, and light skin, so definitely he sticks out in a sea of children with darker features—will he be picked on?

These questions were all valid, but my husband and I chose not to make our decision based out of fear.  While his first school year thus far has not been without its transitions and minor hiccups, none of what I feared has come to fruition.  The administrators, staff and teachers that I know and have met are warm, welcoming and caring.  Most of them know him by name.  Because I served in public school education for seven years, I know some of the best and hardest working teachers work at these lower income schools.  In Brownsville, all the schools are classified as such, a few more than others.

Our son has had such wonderful experiences that he would not have been exposed to had I kept him at home another year.  He has grown tremendously in ways I would not have anticipated.  We have had the privilege of meeting the families of some of his classmates at parties and other events; they have blessed us with their kindness, humility and hospitality.  My firstborn speaks highly of his classmates and teachers.

Children wait to perform in the Christmas program at my son's
school this past December.  It was his first time in such a
 performance, and he did great!
Last year, when I was speaking to another mother who is not a fan of public schooling, she expressed concern over not feeling like her children would be safe in such an environment.  I completely understood and respected where she was coming from, though I do not hold the same opinion.  During our conversation, I referenced Matthew 5:14-16 (the verse posted at the top of this entry), and explained that the verse encouraged me to be part of our community, along with the rest of my family.  She kindly responded with, "Yes, but in that verse, Jesus was not talking to children.  He was talking to adults."  She was absolutely right about that.  However, I am raising children that will one day be adults, and I hope that they will choose to be lights to others.


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  2. Thank you for sharing how everything is going. I truly believe the best will happen for your child when you take the time to really know them and do what is best, not just do it because that is what you did when younger or what everyone else is doing. Your family is a great example of really knowing what the outcome is of raising adults that will influence our world in the future.

  3. I've just started thinking about my boy's education and wondering what is best and when it should start. Thanks for posting about your experience. It gives me a lot more to think about!

    1. Hi, Holly! It brings me so much joy to see a comment from you on my actual blog- thank you! Glad your wheels continue to turn. Most importantly, keep praying- that answer will be made obvious. For us, it was right under our noses! ;)