School Days

So we were lucky enough to get Max into a new school. He did well at his old school, but the old school had it’s share of problems. There seemed to be a lot of teachers leaving each year. Which is never a good sign, and Rachel and I always felt like communication was lacking a bit and that academically, they weren’t really doing anything extra. They were basically just doing the bare minimum. So there were times when Max seemed bored and disinterested.

We visited the school last winter and we were intrigued by the “International Baccalaureate” program that they offered. It’s one of only three schools in the area that offer the program. We had submitted the application for the new school back in March or April and we received a letter saying we were on a waiting list. We sort of assumed that waiting list meant we weren’t going to get in. Then out of the blue a few weeks ago we got a call at the house asking us if we were still interested, and that there may be a spot available for Max. We said yes, and a few days letter, we got the call saying that Max was in!

When we told Max he would be going to a new school, he was upset at first. He had 3 friends at his old school that he had become very close to. Fortunately he was able to get together with his friend Eddie from school a few times over the summer. So I think he’ll remain friends with Eddie even though they go to different schools now. Plus Eddie only lives a few blocks away. We had sent notes home to Max’s 3 friends at school with our phone numbers and e-mail addresses and said to call/e-mail is if they wanted to get together for a playdate over the summer. Eddie was the only one to call.

So Max was nervous about being the new kid in school. And understandbly so. He was very comfortable at his old school, so I’m sure the thought of going someplace unfamiliar and not knowing anyone was scary. We attended the open house on the Friday before classes started, and we were very excited to discover that Max was one of 9 students in his class, who were new to the school. So over 1/3 of the class were new. It made Max feel better and made us feel better, knowing he wasn’t the only one attending the school for the first time.

So far, he is doing well at the new school. The first day he was hesitant to go. He said he would rather go to the dentist than go to school. But after his first day, when I asked how he liked it, he ranked his day a 7 out of 10. The 2nd day, he was still a bit hesitant, but didn’t protest too much. By this morning (the 4th day), he actually seemed excited to go to school. This brought a big smile to my face, and was a huge relief to me.

As parents, we always try to do what is best for our kids. Sometimes, we have to take chances in order to make that happen. Some things pan out, and others fall flat. Rachel and I are both big believers in education. Max has a natural curiosity and we felt like at home, we try to feed that curiosity, but at his old school, that curiosity was not being fueled. One of the key points about the new school is that they encourage students to follow their curiosity, and to be critical thinkers. I think in this day and age, kids are often just taught enough to pass a state test to make the school look good. There is also more attention given to math and science, and kids are encouraged to explore independently and to work in teams. I think these are all critical skills that every child needs to practice and work on. Students are also required to do a certain amount of community service. Things like collecting coats for the homeless, collecting canned goods for the hungry, and cleaning up the community. Raising kids who are giving, and sensitive to the needs of those around them is also something we find very important. 1st day of 2nd grade

I hope in the coming weeks and months, Max becomes more and more comfortable, and that school becomes a place he loves to go. I really do think that this new school is a great fit for him. I think the fact that they actually do hands on exercises, instead of just reading from a book, it will be much more enjoyable for Max. He has always taken more of an interest, when he can see how something works, and/or how it applies to the world around him. It seems like the methodology used at his new school is a perfect fit for his learning style.

While I am initially pleased and relieved that he seems to like his teacher and classmates, I still have some worries. Since he is new, I’m hoping that his skills and knowledge base aren’t behind those of his classmates. And I hope he can keep up with the workload, while playing baseball this fall. He’s usually quick to adapt, so I’m relatively confident he will feel at home and be up to speed before long.

We took a bit of a chance by moving him, but I think in the end, it will pay off.

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