So, we applied to have BigGuy be part of a classical model-based, Christian co-op next year. It’s one day/week for science, a combined history-literature class, art and performing arts. However, this has sparked two calls of concern from friends that have been asked to be references…
I think there was concern that the group might be too conservative for my family. In reality, I think our family is more conservative than we look to outsiders. Our beliefs overlap Christianity pretty significantly so that’s less an issue. But the group’s goals are to create leaders of tomorrow with a servant’s heart. During our interview process, the headmaster asked us what “servant leadership” meant to us. It means so many things to us really–things we try to drive home to our kids, but would love the community of others with the same mindset to reinforce these concepts.
It means knowing that no matter what you have, you are obligated to serve those who have less. It means that you lead others by being an example of serving those who need you–even if they DON’T have less, but have need of something you can offer. It means that being in a position of power comes with the obligation of standing up for those who are not. And being in a community of families where that is the goal would certainly help our cause.
The group would also provide us with a resource that BigGuy specifically asked for at this time last year: a place to discuss these ideas and things he’s learning with other kids that are excited about them. He wanted Socratic dialogue. I’ve had such a hard time providing that for him and I see him on the verge of amazing ideas if only he had an environment to develop them more fully. The observation I went to gave me such promise of helping him learn to articulate his thoughts more clearly and analyze things more critically and critique others more diplomatically.
No doubt, I had some concerns about the faith aspect of the situation. One thing I truly appreciated was the headmaster’s belief that we were in the application process for a reason and he, as a Christian, needed to recognize that God was bringing this before him to consider for a reason. As a result, he was going to set up additional time to discuss the faith differences with us more at length so he could make a more informed decision about how our difference in faith might or might not be a good fit for the organization and it’s mission. Honestly, I appreciated the thoughtful consideration rather than line-in-the-sand cutoff. We have no problem putting BigGuy in this situation. He understands the differences in our faith and has regularly been in a more Christian setting and handled it with tact and respect. Girly does not yet have a firm enough grasp of our faith and the differences for me to feel comfortable putting her in such a setting. And frankly, I’m not really “for” the rigor that might go with her level in the classical model. I’m not sure how I feel about the memorization of facts and such at her age. I also didn’t observe that level so it may not be like that–but we would decline on faith training alone.
If this doesn’t work out, I’m really not sure how I’m going to proceed in helping BigGuy get what he needs in terms of these skills and opportunities. I’ll be working on some kind of backup plan. We should know by July 4th whether this will be our co-op for next year and frankly, from what I’ve seen so far–I really hope it is. If it isn’t, I can at least feel like it REALLY isn’t a good place for us because it wasn’t a good fit. We don’t want to be anywhere that doesn’t want us (for any reason); but I am hoping it works out.
BigGuy is finally ready for this. He seems to be on the precipice of some great change in his little life. Stay tuned…