Acilia has been in private school since preschool. She's been to three different schools over the years, preschool was only two years, and that's all our church offered as far as school goes. Then if you remember, Kindergarten and first grade were spent at a school we loved, until it closed down completely. Now, we are starting year number 3 at a school we LOVE, except for the distance. I know I have mentioned in the past how we travel 20-25 minutes one way to school everyday. That makes for a close to 2 hour commute each school day. I do this because there are not many Lutheran schools in the area and our nearby public school is not an option. As we look forward to starting year number 3 at this school, I've had the revelation this could be the last year we commute to a private school. As you know, our plan is to move next year. My prayerful goal is to move near my parents' house, the school district is phenomenal and the homes are just our style! At one point, I was plagued with "do we keep going to the school Acilia attends now?" or "do we start her at yet another new school?"
I have a list of reasons why either option would be a good option, hence the confusion. It was something weighing on my heart and then Al brought in the perspective that he would feel bad for Miles if he doesn't get to have the same experience Acilia has with a Christ centered education. I had almost gotten myself set up for many more years of driving the kids to school, because that felt like the best option. The revelation came to me last week. I had a glimmer a few weeks ago, I was helping in the nursery at church, a girl both my kids LOVE was in there helping us. She was in 6th grade last year, and she's well known in the school, loved by all the younger kids. She informed me she will be going to public school next year. I am not one for peer pressure or doing what others do, but hearing her tell me she was choosing to go to a public school instead of finishing her last two years and graduating with the kids she has been in class with since Kindergarten, it revealed to me, it's not the end of the world to pull your child out before finishing 8th grade. It was something I needed revealed to me, because my guilt was getting to me. The next part of my revelation came when I was seeing pictures of my Facebook friends' kids and their friends hanging out, enjoying summer. Friends they've met in school. Acilia has made good friends at school, but aside from birthday parties, we don't normally see them outside of school. It's a lot of work to get playdates coordinated when there is a distance factor. We haven't seen Acilia's school friends all summer. Acilia is at an age where she could be making friendships that she will keep well into adult life and I feel it's important to foster those relationships. It dawned on me, it's my duty to get her into middle school close to our home, so she can make friends and they can hang out all the time, like I had and most other kids have. Friendship is so very important and it's up to the parents to facilitate those friendships until the kids are old enough to get around on their own. It dawned on me I feel like I am almost failing her by keeping her at a school that is so far away from home. With this, came the clear direction I had been praying for! Acilia can attend the same school next year for 4th grade, and then for 5th grade, start at the local middle school that goes from 5-8th grade. My prayerful hope is that she will meet some great kids and build friendships with them and build that social circle that is so important for a child. And then of course carry those friendships into high school with her because she will have a lot of the same kids from middle school going into high school together!
I remember fondly, living close to my school friends and when I was old enough, we would walk or ride bikes to each other's houses and spend hours and hours together! My friend's parents were always great, they cared for me like they cared for their own children and my parents were the same with my friends. We had sleepovers and went to parties together, we bonded over life changes. We built true lasting friendships. The kids I was so close with, they are people I still see a few times a year, we always pick up where we left off and we are *still* bonding over life experiences! It's a beautiful thing. I am so glad to have peace in my soul that switching schools *yet again* will actually be a good thing. Acilia was informed of our plans for this to be her last year in private school, she didn't skip a beat when she said "It's OK, I am a pro at new schools!" She is such a doll! I have no doubt she will make new friends and keep in touch with the friends she's already met along the way!