Faith has been studying the Medieval times in school. They have been learning about castles, princesses, jesters, and what life was like long ago. In conjunction, they have also been learning about fairy tales. Yesterday I was invited to the Fairy Tale Ball in her classroom. The kids all dressed up like knights and princesses and the moms were to dress in their best “Queen” attire. Some moms wore old bridesmaid dresses, prom dresses, gowns and one was even in her wedding dress. I was going to wear a blue cocktail dress that I wear to wedding, but when I showed it to Faith she said, “No. I want you to wear this”…..she chose my tie-dyed sundress and a pair of flats…..a little embarrassing, but much more comfortable than what the other moms had on.
The ball was very special. We were introduced by the teacher, Faith came to greet me, curtsied and then gave me a tissue paper corsage for my wrist. We all sat with our child on our laps while the teacher told us about what they have been learning. Mrs. Townsend said that the kids have been learning about kings, castles and shields, but most importantly they have been learning that God is their true king. He is also their “shield and their fortress in time of need.” The parallels that were made between the Medieval times and their Lord and Savior were astonishing. It made me cry. The teacher also gave each child a crown that had jewels on it that they had earned throughout the year. She then went on to say that these are symbolic of the crowns that they will receive in heaven and how the crowns in heaven we will give right back to Jesus….the true King.
After that, Faith brought me a plate with some snacks on it and then we all danced to a few Cinderella songs. It was precious! The kids also sang a song for us and then read a story that they all wrote. Here are the links for that….
In the end, I was given a sweet book that she had made with Bible verses in it and pictures about what she had learned. In the back was a tear-jerking poem about how we are the queens of their lives. I will take a picture of it for you later. It was a special time for the two of us. Lately, Faith has been all about Mom. She wants me to do everything with her. It is sweet and I am trying to enjoy it while it lasts. I pray that she and I will have a trusting and fun relationship as she grows up. I know that in a few years we will begin to argue more, but I hope not. I want to be her friend and her mother, as I am sure most moms do. Today, she loves being with me and even wants to be just like me. Faith is a beautiful little girl with a beautiful heart. Here is my princess with her book that she was so proud of….
Last week we met with Faith’s kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Butler, to discuss Faith’s progress so far this year. It was a wonderful conference. Mrs. Butler is the sweetest teacher. She has been teaching at CDS for over fifteen years and taught elsewhere before CDS. She is one of those teachers that can even correct a parent without anyone getting offended. One afternoon at carpool, during the second week of school, she smiled real big and said, “Mom, it would be great if Faith could get to school earlier so that she could play with her friends before class starts.” I smiled back and said, “Ok. Sure. I will do that.” I almost replied, “Yes, Ma’am.” She is very motherly and always smiling and I love her for it!
But, I digress…..
In the conference, Mrs. Butler had many nice things to say about Faith. She said that Faith is a friend to all. Faith doesn’t care who she is partnered with because she loves everyone in her class. She also said that Faith doesn’t put the stress on herself to be perfect that she did at the beginning of school. Faith has loosened up a little bit and is now enjoying school and it shows. She is even told to quiet down every once in a while…which is a good thing!
Here is her progress report for the year so far. She needs to raise her hand more, work on her handwriting and pencil grip, and continue to practice her sight words. Currently, Faith is using the “thumb wrap” method to hold her pencil instead of using two fingers to grip it. We are having to do finger strengthening exercises so that she can hold it the right way. Her fingers aren’t strong enough to write while holding the pencil the right so she is having to use her thumb to help her. We practice every other day or so…probably not often enough.
Here is what she is responsible for learning throughout her kindergarten year. Check out the math! It is very advanced for kindergarten. I am amazed at what she is learning. Covenant Day is a very academic school. I love it!
Here is the “piece de resistance”. Mrs. Butler personalized some goals for Faith for the year. She took what she knows about Faith, her strengths and weaknesses, her personality, her fears, and made a list of how to encourage Faith to be herself and to challenge her to be better. She also made sure that Faith continues to grow in her faith in the Lord. I almost cried when I read it. This is what we are paying for at Covenant Day. We are paying for her to be in a loving Christian environment where she is cherished as a child of God and encouraged to be who God made her to be. I feel so good every time I drop her off at school. I know that she is where the Lord wants her to be. I am so sure of it that I am willing to go back to work to keep her there.
Faith starts kindergarten tomorrow. Today we went to the school with eight other families so that the kids could see the classroom, meet the teachers, and get some instructions for tomorrow. It was great! We followed the paw prints down the hallway and into her classroom. It turns out that the paw prints belonged to Clifford the Big Red Dog. Mrs. Butler and Clifford showed the kids what Clifford’s backpack looked like, how he did his special project, and what his lunches and snacks consisted of. It was a great way for Mrs. Butler to present to the students, and especially to the parents, how things were to be done in her classroom. Most of the parents in this particular class are new to CDS and are putting their first child into kindergarten. It is nice to know that most of us are in the same boat. We will all be a crying mess tomorrow.
Faith enjoyed it. When we first arrived their was coloring to be done, science to be explored, and building supplies to be used. Faith colored and then sat with Mrs. Butler to build something. Her teacher is so sweet and really commands attention from the kids. I wish I could run my house like she probably runs the classroom. I bet her own children were very well behaved and calm…..quite unlike my household.
We came home after “school” and worked on Faith’s project. She had to draw pictures about the things she liked to do on a big piece of paper. Then she had to put three things that were examples of what she liked to do in a brown bag. She will present them next week. In the bag she put a crayon because she likes to draw, a Barbie, and a jump rope (although she never jump ropes). I suggested a picture of her family, but I don’t know which will win out in the end.
Her drawing had a playground, a sunny window, and the island from Alan’s on the top. In the middle are rocks that she climbed on at Alan’s, her as a princess, and a TV. The bottom has a swimming pool, the ocean and flowers. These must be her top nine things….
Faith’s new school, Covenant Day, is doing a great job of welcoming the new kindergarteners and their families. Faith gets mail from them all of the time. We have received bumper stickers, license plates, a backpack name tag, a letter from her teacher, and then there was a dinner for the kindergarten families Tuesday night. The hot dog dinner was in the middle school gym. When we arrived, Faith was given a name tag with her name and a picture of a boot on it. The boot meant that she was in Mrs. Butlers class. We could recognize the other kids in her class because they also had a boot on their name tags. Brilliant!
All of the kids were nervous when they arrived. Most clutched onto Mommy and Daddy in the beginning, but by the end of the dinner most of the kids were running around the gym or playing with the Legos and Playdough that was supplied. Faith was also able to meet Mrs. Butler and her assistant, Mrs. Townsend. They were both super nice. They gave Faith a blue t-shirt that says “Covenant” on it. She has been wearing it as a night shirt for the last two days. She still cries sometimes when she talks about going to school. She cried yesterday, said that she was nervous, and that she had never been away from me before. It was sweet that she wanted to be with me still. It makes me feel good, but I know that she is going to love kindergarten even more. I am excited for her as well!
Tom and I visited four schools over Thanksgiving break while he had off from work. We went to three private Chrisitian schools and one public school.
1 – We are zoned for Lansdowne Elementary which is a partial magnet school. This means that half of the school is zoned for it and the other half elects to send their child there. The entire school is taught the same curriculum: international baccalaureate. Sounds fancy, but to me it seemed like your typical public school. Maybe it was the surroundings – older school with a mix of free lunch and magnet students. People have told me that it is a great school. If we could not send her elsewhere, we would have felt ok sending her to Lansdowne.
2 – The next school we went to was Covenent Day School in Matthews, NC. I decided to tour this school because it is close to our house and have heard good things about it. We loved it!! Our tour was phenomenal. We were very impressed with the Biblical teaching, the curriculum, class size (18 max), the music teacher and the art teacher. Almost every class that we walked into was well behaved and the teacher came out to chat with us. The art teacher talked our ear off, but it was evident that she loved her job and could translate how a child expressed themselves with art into the regular classroom. We left that school knowing that Faith would go there next year. It was “abundantly clear”.
3 – The next day we visited Carmel Christian and Arborbrook Academy. Carmel Christian is where we thought that we would send Faith. I have learned over the years that I can’t just assume that I will do what my aunt or friends do. I have learned that I need to research the subject myself. Too many times I have just gone with others’ decisions so that I don’t have to do any leg work myself. This is one of those instances where I am glad that I did the research myself. Carmel is a great school, but it was clear that she was not to attend there next year.
4 – Arborbrook Academy is a close second to Covenant Day. If it were closer to our house it may have been a much more difficult decision. It is a well known fact that I do not like to drive more than ten minutes in the car before I say, “It is too far”. This would have been a 20 minute drive each way. Not going to happen! It is a cute school. Classes are very small and we would homeschool on Fridays. The school’s philosophy is based on Charlotte Mason’s philosophy of school – children are to reading living books and to learn from nature. A great philosophy and later on down the road, it might be the school for us, but not next year.
So, after all of that explaining….Faith will be attending Covenant Day School in Matthews. We are excited for her. Of course, in my typical, indecisive way, I still am doubting my decision, but know that it is the only choice that feels right.
Tom and I are on a mission this week: to find the right school for Faith to attend kindergarten. This is a big deal for me. My baby is going to kindergarten. There are a lot of choices of schools in Charlotte: magnets, public, and private Christian. We are looking at five schools in particular, three private Christian schools and two public. One of the public schools is supposed to be the number one elementary school in the county but we would have to move to attend it.
Lansdowne Elementary is our current home school. We visited it this week and it was an okay school. Nothing stood out about it, but there wasn’t anything negative either. It is considered a partial IB magnet school, but the curriculum didn’t blow me away. I like that they teach Spanish. I don’t feel that God is saying, “send her there”.
Next week we visit the private schools. The only draw back for those is the ticket price. We have three kids which means that the cost really begins add up in four years when they are all in school. Eek. The education is worth the price tag, but do we really want to do it? That remains to be seen.
We are praying that God makes it abundantly clear where we are to send our baby girl to school. I hope to know next week so that we can either begin to save money or begin to sell our house.