Tuesday, August 28, 2007

New Plaid

We're a week into the new school year now. It has been a slow, laborious adjustment. Compared to Life in Fitzville's "pull the bandaid off quickly" method, we've chosen the "peel it off slowly and painfully, yanking out each little hair as you go" option. To be honest, we've been tugging at this bandage since sometime last Spring. What began as the hushed tones of a private, parental conversation has ended with a very visible, public result. This year, when school resumed, only The Boy returned to our parish school. B and H started third grade at my in-law's parish school, a few blocks down the road.

By late Spring, it was becoming clear to us that perhaps our current educational situation wasn't meeting all of our children's needs. As a parent, I don't think there is anything more sought after than seeing your child succeed; by which I emphatically don't mean watching them earn a big paycheck, drive a fancy car or move into a mansion. Our dreams for our children are more about morals and character and less about fame and fortune. To feel about themselves as God does, as His precious sons and daughters, and not to believe their worth is measured in standardized tests and progress reports. I'm talking about seeing them become the person that God, in all His glory, has designed them to be; which can be a very tricky situation when one of your children dove into the English language pool almost a decade later than her peers.

So, feeling torn, but deeply convicted in providing the very best for our children, we investigated our schooling options:

  • Staying put. Not messing with the status quo. Leaving well enough alone. And any other number of euphemisms that meant we weren't ready to put our money where our mouths were (or our mouths where our money was-tuition wise, that is) and look at the real possibility that our current school was not the best fit for all of our children.
  • Homeschooling. With my education and teaching background, this seemed like a viable option, until I had a little heart-to-heart with myself. I know many incredible homeschooling families. We are not one of them. My husband breathed a sigh of relief when this alternative was crossed off the list.
  • Public school or a different private school. These two made the short list. We visited and researched our local private school and two nearby, different Catholic grade schools.
I could bore you with the details of the various tours we took and the pros and cons of sheltered English Language Learning classes versus a plan for total immersion with limited support. In the end, God just used this experience to reinforce His steadfastness. As we entered our local public school, the front desk secretary listened to our current struggle and remarked, "Well, then, you must know our principal's secretary." And lo and behold, if the woman who materialized from behind a desk wasn't the previous secretary from our parish school. Carefully, she talked me through the procedures for enrollment and testing.

I listened attentively as my heart realized that enrollment in this school would remove the pictures of Jesus and His Blessed Mother from our kids' classrooms. It would erase the written words of Scripture and the spoken words of prayer that graced the halls and lips of a Catholic Christian school. As she finished talking, I turned to her and desperately said, "Yes. But it's going to be so different." This wise woman then took my hand, smiled at me and said, "You know, God brought you to each other from opposite ends of the earth and He's not going to leave you hanging on a simple school decision. Whatever happens, it's going to be okay." I nodded, unable to choke any words that might have been on my tongue out of my mouth, and left.

Her words played over and over in my mind through much of the Summer as our school quest continued; and then, last Wednesday, as the girl's hopped out of the truck for their first day at the new school, I smiled. God led us to a place for our girls that fits their needs right now. That's what happened, and it's going to be okay.


Becky said...

So adorable. Your girls are truly sister-friends. I love seeing pictures of them together.

Anonymous said...

Sorry this has been such a struggle for you, Jane. I didn't realize. I'm glad that you prayed and listened for the answer and I am sure that everything will work out the way that God wants it to.
Are the little girls going to school this year too?
I am cracking up at big Marso's reaction to you not homeschooling. I do think that if anyone could homeschool like a pro it would be you, but I completely understand your decision not to do it.
Can't wait to see more school photos. Don't forget to post one of my boy!

Anonymous said...

What a decision to make! All you can do is follow your heart and know that God is guiding you. The girls are happy, smart and seem to adjust well to new circumstances...just look at B!
I truely miss seeing your Ark a few times a week!

patjrsmom said...

Thanks for your comments. How lucky am I to have such supportive and caring friends?! Very.

Life in Fitzville said...

Late coming in here, but really... school decisions are the hardest.

And I wanted to comment on those pictures... it's amazing how much both girls have grown up in just a year!