I spent a couple hours at the little school in town. I was highly impressed. As I walked through the door I could sense the peace of the place immediately. The child closest to the door was Sadie from my choir. She greeted me with a bright smile and bent right back to her reading. A younger child was on the carpet beside her working with some sort of math manipulative. There were two girls about 8 or ten years old hand sewing at the far end of the room quietly discussing their craft. A boy of about 7 had a scale and a huge pile of coins. His notebook had a ton of figures filling the entire page. The little guy behind him was sorting letters into alphabetical order. One child was at the receiving end of a one-on-one reading lesson. Two girls, one was 11 and the other maybe 8 were busy with an experiment at the sink. Sadie's brother, Garret, was concentrating very hard on multiplication. He did not even turn to glance at me when he heard my voice until he was done with his project. There were a couple of boys behind the bookshelf where I could not see well, but one had headphones on. A small girl was playing very animatedly with a dollhouse. She was the youngest in the class and her mother was one of the teachers. There were a dozen kids in the room and I was not the slightest bit of a distraction. That in itself was amazing to me. I have dropped into the twins classes and I might as well have walked in and told them it was recess because kids are generally looking for distraction and they make the most of it.
I had some serious questions about how Missy would fit in. I teared up thinking, she could absolutely destroy this peace in a fraction of a second. How in the world would she ever do anything on her own without nagging the teacher to death. She's unmotivated to do things by herself, never mind reaching out to increase her knowledge or skill. That has been a battle she has fought hard to maintain~ That she can't learn anything new. We see most of her passive aggressive behavior in connection with new material and ideas that must be learned. I was full of questions about how they keep the kids on track, etc... and they answered them all satisfactorily. Little Miss with the long, brown braids sewing at the other end of the room brought me her schedule which was very simply the topics she needed to cover in a day. Garret showed me that his was much more specific with times slots. Sadie doesn't use a written schedule at all. She is completely self motivated.
It was interesting that the very questions I had about this actually working with Missy were repeated by the next mother that came in a little after me to observe. She repeated the same fears and concerns and anxieties about her son that I had just expressed almost to a T! She was afraid he would destroy the peace of the place. She was sure he would not just work on his own. She was concerned he would not be motivated to move on to harder material. For some reason, hearing the teacher reiterate what she had just told me in assuring the mom that it takes time to normalize to the new environment, and that it would work eventually, was my turning point to believing that perhaps this would be the best for Missy. I'm still not sure that she is the best thing for the school... :-) The calmness, the self motivation, the manners, the kindness exhibited between students... exactly what I want for her!
I loved how the students did not call for help. Instead they would quietly put a hand on the teacher's shoulder and wait for her to acknowledge them. It's something I would like the kids in my house to do now.
I have shared with Steve all I learned. We both see how it might be the best move for Missy. And so we are praying about it, because it won't fit in our current family budget as we will have two in college next fall (3 actually, but Christina is still free for another year) and my husband works too hard already. I think the answer will come in some sort of home business, or part time, or short term work. If it is the right thing, it will happen because the Lord is invested in this kid.