This post is definitely late in coming - sorry about that.
It has been a few years since our family has experienced the official "back to school" event. After 3 years of homeschooling while living outside of the U.S. we were all a little excited, nervous, apprehensive and I know I was hoping with all my might that it would go smoothly.
The boys attended a Montessori charter school here in Denver previous to our move and after keeping in contact with the school the plan was to return. It relieved my anxiety to know that they would be returning to an environment that they would be comfortable and familiar with. It was also important that their teachers understand what they had been experiencing the last 3 years.
Continuing with the way our life flows after I registered both boys at their old school we got a phone call that Dillon had a spot at another charter Montessori school that we had applied too. This school has an amazing Farm School program for grades 7, 8 and 9 (This requires a post all of its own) and his friends from his old school had transferred there as well. After discussions with the boys we all agreed that Dillon and Ronan would attend different schools. We also found out Ronan would have Dillon's 4th grade teacher Ms. Lynda - it was a perfect fit and we really could not have asked for anything more.
Some have wondered or questioned why we did not put the boys back into school wherever Michael was completing his elective clinical rotations (4th year of med school). I had always felt strongly that the year the boys returned to the school system that it needed to be at a school or schools that I trusted - or I knew would have the best interest of the boys in mind. It also needed to be a school or schools that had curriculums and methods of teaching that we believed in. I am a firm believer that not all children learn in the same way and that educators and parents alike need to be open to the possibility that there is more than one way to learn. This could not be more obvious then with our 2 boys - the oldest could sit in a desk in a traditional school and probably do just fine (although I do not think it would be to his fullest potential) and the youngest is a strong verbal learner and needs the freedom to learn in different ways (or methods). It was also important that they were both in environments that valued the experiences they had been through over the last 3 years. To realize that the experiences from traveling around the world and living in different cultures could never be replicated in the classroom and would lead to life skills that would benefit them through to adulthood. This is not to say that reading, writing, and math are not important but there are more ways of learning them then in a desk doing worksheets. Education is not about memorizing material for a standardized test. It is about learning life skills, learning how to learn, discovering who you are, exploring the world and people around you, and becoming an upstanding citizen of good character.
Needless to say our "back to school" experience has been wonderful. Ronan is enjoying his classroom that has 3 pets, the freedom to choose his work during work cycle, reconnecting with old friends and teachers and of course four square on the playground. Dillon just returned from a 3 day camping trip with his advisement group and will be starting his occupation next week. He discovered today he will be working in Aquaponics his first semester. This will include earth science, irrigation systems for the farm at the school, and building new fish tanks for the fish whose waste is used for nutrients in the farms gardens.
Although we would love to have Michael with us all the time (and we miss him so much) for 4th year it is a compromise we are all ok with and just like the last 3 years we know it will go by faster then we realize.
Although it has been a windy road with ups and downs the boys have ended up exactly where they need to be and could not be in better school environments.
We look forward to a year full of growing, changing, and learning.
Thank you to all those educators who believe in the world of learning and see each child as a complete and whole being.
The Supermoon in Puerto Morelos, Mexico June 2013