One that would welcome me as a partner.
One that would show the girls that learning is great.
One that could tailor the learning experience for each of my children.
One that could provide the very different tools they need to be successful.
After all, even at the pre-school stage, I knew my daughters were not “one size fits all” learners.
I wasn’t sure there was such a place, but I needed to find out.
And so, I began my search. I looked at traditional schools, private schools, charter schools, and home schools. I'm not saying there wasn't good aspects to each of these options, but could I really find a place where both of my daughters could get what they needed or would I have to choose one daughter's needs over the other’s?
2 girls. 2 very different challenges.
Jenna began to read early. And I mean really read. She was reading chapter books before she started kindergarten. She is calm, polite, friendly, inquisitive, thoughtful and passionate about learning. She needed a school where she could be challenged at her own speed; a place where her natural tendencies and abilities would be encouraged, fed and blossom—not wither.
Mia on her first day of kindergarten, with big sister Jenna going into 2nd grade.
Mia did not read early. In fact, she'd rather listen to her sister read or listen to recorded books. Reading is a BIG effort for Mia. She is energetic, kind, jovial, inquisitive and passionate about fun. She also has education challenges and learns through the lenses of Dyslexia. Let's just say, learning looks different for Mia.
She needed a place where she would be provided the necessary tools to allow her natural tendencies and abilities to blossom; a place of expectations, courage and support.
Wrong Places. Wrong Mindsets.
After interviewing several principals and visiting the schools available in my community, I became weary. I was told things like,
“No, we can’t enroll her in first grade. Jenna will be placed in kindergarten and after a while she’ll adjust. Eventually the advanced students blend in. Eventually. In the mean time, she can spend her time helping the other students.”
“We don't identify and label students with disabilities. That's mean.”
Yeah. I was actually dumfounded by these remarks. I envisioned my sweet, enthusiastic Jenna in a cloud of boredom and wasting away from lack of academic stimulation; becoming tired and frustrated with school. I pictured Mia getting lost in the shuffle, becoming defeated, and never getting the tools she so desperately needs to succeed. I had to keep looking.