Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Answered Prayers

God has a funny way of answering prayer. . .

TJ received his first ever Presidential Citation at Winthrop. He is such a hard worker, and every year his efforts and dedication go unnoticed. He reminds himself daily of Col. 3:23, “And whatsoever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto man” to ease the frustration he so often feels due to the politics involved in working at a State-run agency. Today was his day to shine, and, unfortunately, I was not there to celebrate with him. He was taken by surprise, which makes his achievement all the more memorable. Good for you, babe! I’m proud of you- keep up the great work!

Montessori

Psalm 37:4 says, "Delight yourself in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart."

I've been thinking about this verse, meditating on it, since receiving the letter in the mail. I had prepared myself mentally, knowing full well we could not afford the tuition. But, as TJ so eloquently put it, it would have been much easier if Th had not been accepted. I am talking about Th’s acceptance letter into the Montessori program. The letter arrived in the mail Saturday, but insult was added to injury when I got home from school this evening. A woman from the school phoned to set up his placement interview to match Th to a teacher based on his learning style and personality.

I am such a huge proponent of the Montessori curriculum, and I had hoped and dreamed that my children would be able to attend this particular school. Unfortunately, though, the 3 and 4 year old program is not funded by the State, meaning it is a private school until the children reach kindergarten. Tuition is a hefty $4,200, and in past years they offered full or partial scholarships; however, this year those are reserved for children who live in the neighborhood surrounding the school. Like I said, I knew we could not afford the tuition, but it would have been easier to swallow if he had not been accepted.

We have until June 1st to decline, so TJ and I have been praying about the money. I believe God's Word is truth, so I am trusting in the truth of the above verse. If it’s God’s will for Th to go there, the Lord will provide the money. Th can begin starting in kindergarten, but not only would he have to learn the set-up of the Montessori classroom, he’d have to catch up because the majority of kids in his class would have already been attending for 1 or 2 years (depending if they started at age 3 or age 4).

If you don’t know anything about Montessori, it is wonderful! It is based on the beliefs of Dr. Maria Montessori, and she believes that each child learns in his or her own way and pace. Instead of a traditional classroom setup with rows of desks, students learn using physical, concrete objects and move to the abstract. There are no desks; students move about the class freely. This is especially important to me because Th is so smart for his age. Since he misses the school cut-off here by 3 weeks, he is way more advanced than the other students in his class. The Montessori curriculum makes up for that by allowing the students to work at their own pace- Th could work at his level rather than that of his fellow classmates.

They don’t take traditional paper and pencil tests in a Montessori school; instead, teacher observations and portfolios are used for assessment. Montessori is especially good for those students who like to be active when working, which traditional classrooms highly discourage! In my opinion, special education is closely linked to the Montessori curriculum because special ed does not follow traditional classroom practices, either. The traditional model is focused on the entire class- a “one-size fits all” approach. On the other hand, Montessori and special education focus on the individual learner, gearing lessons specifically for the learning styles and preferences of the individual student. Th is an active learner- it is evident in all he does! He is constantly moving, discovering, and, just when I think he’s not paying attention to me, he’ll say or do something that proves he is. He will be more than ready for kindergarten in the traditional setting, but I want him to be challenged at school, not bored, which is why I believe so strongly in sending him to the Montessori school.

Ultimately, I may homeschool him and can put into practice some of the teaching methods I have been taught, but for now, he is where he is, and I really am happy with all that he’s learned.