Friday, August 29, 2014

Heigh-ho, heigh-ho, it's off to school we go

Oh, you know, it's just me...blogging after 9 months off. Man, I could have gestated a human being in that length of time!

For the record, I didn't. But a lot sure has changed.

I took on a very part-time job at my church, directing the elementary ministry. I decided to leave real estate behind to focus on that. Then that job turned into a part-time-but-closer-to-full-time-including-office-hours (hey, with nine months off from blogging, my ability to be concise is rusty) job as a children's pastor.  And this week...the kids went back to public school.

I'm glad I always told people that I was open to reevaluating homeschooling, since it ended up (unexpectedly!) being only a two-year venture for us. For various reasons, it was time for a change.

But I was nervous. Chickie has been dealing with something that one in eight kids struggles with...anxiety. (If I remembered where I'd read that statistic, I'd cite it!) I felt it was time for her to gain some confidence by spreading her wings at school. But I knew that she would need a teacher who could be gentle and understanding with her. I prayed and prayed--and so did Chickie--that she would get a great teacher.

A week and a half before school started, the kids and I went to New Family Orientation. We walked down the third grade hallway, and Chickie saw a sign outside one of the doors. It was hand-painted with the teacher's name, and it had popcorn painted on it too. We peeked in the window and saw a cute classroom. "That's the teacher I want," she said.

A week after that, we were back for Open House, the night when the kids would meet their teachers. We found the lists--and Chickie had gotten the teacher she wanted. By the time we'd visited Zoodle's class and walked to Chickie's, all the other parents were gone from the room. A few minutes alone with the teacher...on Open House night? Score!

I asked the teacher if we could talk. She, Chickie, and I sat down, and I explained Chickie's anxiety and what I've found works when she gets upset. The teacher listened with a look of kindness and understanding, and then she bent down a little so she was eye-to-eye with Chickie. "My daughter deals with bad anxiety too," she said. Then she proceeded to ask Chickie questions about herself. Everything about her spoke gentleness and kindness. I came away from the meeting amazed at the perfect match of this teacher with my daughter. We'd prayed--and God really did care. He put Chickie in just the right place.

Those moments set the tone for Chickie's school year. I've been so pleasantly surprised at how well my daughter--to whom change can be daunting--is adjusting this week, and I give her teacher a large portion of the credit for that!

Zoodle missed the first two days of school thanks to illness, and these last three days have been up and down. The adjustment of a stricter schedule, plus the long school day, has worn him out. I think he'll be fine, but for now he's not so sure about this whole school thing.

But you know what? The God who cared enough to put my daughter in just the right class cares about my son too. I'm looking forward to seeing the little miracles that happen with him this school year.

I'm glad we had this chat. Let's do it again soon, okay?


Unknown said...

Hi Beth!
So glad to see you back!

Anonymous said...

meow kitty girl!