Friday, September 12, 2014
let's chat about these cutie-patooties for a moment, shall we?
jeremy and i decided to transfer the boys to a new school. it was a quick decision, an abrupt change, and one of the best things we've done in a long while.
the first day of school was monday, august 18th. three days prior, at the school's teacher meet & greet i developed a couple concerns about graham's kindergarten class. specifically, the number of students was high (to me) and his teacher seemed a bit overwhelmed. i was really pleased with harrison's teacher, his class size and his classmates; he had quite a few good friends in class with him. even so, these small worries about graham's class were enough to make me chat with a teacher/friend who just happened to mention a new charter school that "i could check out if i end up feeling like the kindergarten class isn't a good fit for graham".
well of course i checked it out that very afternoon.
and i liked what i saw.
on the boy's first day of school i called the principal of the new charter school and asked to schedule a meeting with her. on their second day of school i did some research about classical education, sent some messages and texts to people who chose that type of education for their children, and called my mom (a career educator) to get her thoughts. on their third day of school i met with the principal, loved her, took a tour of the school, began to fill out transfer paperwork and sat down with jeremy to make an official decision. on their fourth day of school i began the process of un-enrolling and re-enrolling them. that night we told the boys they would start attending a new school the following week and tomorrow (friday) was their last day at their current school.
graham was fine with this decision, he'd only had four days of kindergarten at this point and he wasn't attached. harrison cried. mostly, i think, because he was going to miss his first grade teacher, ms. johnson, and the comfort she provided him. it was a super hard conversation to have with harrison, especially because he was hiding under his bed and covering his ears. ha! i had to climb under the bed with him and gently explain that his daddy and i understood how hard it was but we were doing what we thought was the very best thing for him and, ultimately, he had to trust us.
and, ultimately, he did.
so on what would have been the sixth day of school my boys started their first day of school in a brand new, sight-unseen environment. new building, new uniforms, new school supplies, new teacher, new classroom, new friends, new everything.
and they have both done SO WELL with the change.
with special regard to harrison, here are the improvements i'm noticing in him that are a direct effect of switching his school:
- he tells me SO MUCH MORE about his day! i've heard more from him (about what he's learning and about how his day went) in the past couple weeks than i did all last year. this is a huge difference! i asked him why and all he said was "my old school was boring". i took that to mean that he feels more engaged at this new school...but there might be another reason too...
- his body (we call it his "engine") isn't crazy busy after school anymore! last year when harrison would get home from school he would completely crash, totally exhausted from the day. the only thing he'd want to do was watch cartoons. i would let him for 30 minutes or so but as soon as the tv turned off he would go crazy. running around the house, loud voice, unruly, disobedient, defiant, throwing pillows, crashing into things... it didn't matter if i got him outside to play or if i tried sensory-stimulating activities or if i tried sensory-calming activities...his engine was out of control. and don't even get me started talking about how incredibly difficult it was to get him to do his homework - such a battle that i often lost!
the long school day is very hard on him.
BUT, at our new school, they believe in movement. they believe, and research shows, that movement helps stimulate the brain for better learning. and you know i agree with them wholeheartedly, which is why we so quickly decided this was the best place for our boys to learn. harrison now has p.e. every single day, he has music every single day, he has recess AND he has a curriculum that allows for movement within the classroom throughout the school day.
now when he gets home he still wants to watch cartoons for 30 minutes or so but turning the tv off is no longer an issue. it's no longer war to get homework done. he actually holds down a conversation during dinner. he hasn't thrown anything or been unruly or defiant. sometimes he still seems a bit "busy" to me, but it's not out-of-control busy. and on top of all that he has been able to verbalize how he feels about things that happen at school. this is amazing to me! my son has gone from being a zombie during the ride home from school to being an engaged little boy and for that i am so very thankful.
with special regard to graham, he is a champ. his teacher uses an app that allows me to see how graham is doing at school each day. he has had 100% positive comments so far. his teacher sent me a text this week telling me what a joy graham is, how he is such a good role model for his classmates and how she uses him as an example all the time. he is thriving and for that i am so very thankful.
we could not be more thrilled with the positive results we've seen since switching to addenbrooke classical academy. we are so excited to be apart of a school that supports the whole student and has established an environment in which they thrive.