So glad we made the switch

Friday, February 10, 2012

By the end of Ben's second grade year we knew something had to give. The poor kid was not having the elementary school experience his big brothers had. There were numerous reasons and, in the grand scheme of things, he could have done fine but we felt led to move him to our local private Christian school. (Talk about eating crow and "never say never") That year was the school's 50th anniversary and they were offering $99/month scholarships to 50 families for the first year at the school. Almost a fifth of what their normal tuition would be. We definitely weren't rolling in it but knew we could curtail a few items from our budget and find a hundred bucks.

Because Ben had attended there for preschool, we knew and recognized many families at the back-to-school barbecue. The first question I was asked over and over was "what about your other boys? Just Ben?" I couldn't resist. My typical response was: "Ben's the only one we're raising Christian. The other two are experiments." The look on their face was priceless. Seriously though I knew there would be a difference in sending one of our children to a school where everything we are teaching our children and everything we value is reinforced in the classroom. As opposed to the public domain where virtually the opposite happens. But I also knew that we were led down a different path with the other two boys and I have to trust God with that.

Last year was a bit of a tough transition. After being on the same schedule as his big brothers, it wasn't easy to switch gears to a different calendar, different start and end times and no school bus. Ben is a rough and tumble physically active boy and he struggled t0 find many other male classmates who shared his love for sports during recess. (But he did find a tomboy who has 3 brothers and can totally hold her own. They have a total love/hate relationship, of course.) He really missed his friends and teammates from the previous years but it seemed like he saw them just as much, if not more, than he did when they were at the same school. In spite of the minor disappointments, I still knew we made the right decision.

When the tuition bill came in August for the first installment for the 2011-12 school year, I believe my heart skipped a beat. Even though I knew it was coming, there was still a bit of panic. In that moment I could feel God whispering, "just trust me. I led you down this path and I will take care of the details." If you know me very well, then you also know that trusting God with finances has been a lifelong battle for me and yet I had such peace about it. I truly saw it as an investment in Ben's eternal future, not a sacrifice of all the material extras that vie for my attention and wallet.

I'm happy to say that we haven't doubted our decision for one minute. Fourth grade year will definitely go down in history as the "banner year" for Ben. I had heard all about Ms. M. from parents who had gone before me. If you have school age children then you know that rarely is there a teacher that some parent doesn't have a beef with. I have yet to find one in this case. After day one of this school year, I haven't heard one negative comment from Ben. In fact, I think there might even be a little schoolboy crush going on here.

December is when I saw such confirmation that these were the perfect surroundings for Ben. I was at the school helping with a book fair during the after school shift. I happened to be standing in the hallway where the students walk by on their way out to the carpool pick up line. Ben had come down with the stomach flu the previous night so wasn't at school that day. As his class passed me by, one little girl turned around and said, "Oh, how's Ben feeling?" Immediately another boy said, "Hey, how was your final?" (Apparently Ben shared this concern as his prayer request that week.) If this isn't evidence of Ms. M. building a classroom community, I don't know what is.

The icing on the cake came just a couple weeks ago. I was helping Ben with his homework. He had a quiz the following day on Bible knowledge. I looked over the worksheet on prophets before I asked the questions. One of the fill-in-the-blanks was "If you were on the playground with a friend and he asked you why you believe in God, what would you say?" His answer: "Because all of the prophecies I have read about have all come true and I can just feel it in my heart!" Isn't that absolutely precious???

I could go on and on but I'll just say I am so incredibly glad we made the switch.