Thursday, October 29, 2009

It's different...

I was sitting in Parent-Teacher conferences chatting cheerily about the idiosyncrasies of my sweet, funny children. As I spoke with the teachers, my heart was so warmed by the genuine love that they had for each of my kids. Each child has two teachers (that adds up at Christmastime let me tell you!) and they play off of each other so well.

My worries about Porkchop's need to lick various surfaces? Hasn't show up.

My concerns about Jellybean's desire to please in peer relationships and the ease at which she can be emotionally manipulated? The teacher already spotted it and was on top of things. (Her incessant need to say every single farkin word that comes into that brain of hers? still working on.)

Meatball's rigidity in everything? being redirected productively.

NOTHING was a big deal. Weaknesses were met with nonchalance and strengths developed. Things were going great at the conferences. And then sheets of paper were pushed my way. The "report card," (They don't give grades in Montessori) the reading scores, the standardized test scores. They were all saying one thing. They're bright. Very, very, bright. The test that they take three times a year that is supposed to measure the child's progress as she goes through the year? Pretty much aced the first month of school.

This news filled me with the worst kind of dread. This intelligence is a curse in my family. This is what conference's with Skaterboy's teachers were like...once. Now, he is a high school drop out trying to get his act together in community college. I had these scores, too. I flunked out of college. My brother is extremely bright, barely made it through school and took 6 years to graduate from college (the only one of all of us.)

When I was pregnant with Porkchop, I used to jokingly rub my belly and say, "Mediocre intelligence, high motivation. Mediocre intelligence, high motivation." It was only half a joke. In my family, high intelligence=under achievement. It meant being saddled with every report card saying, "Not living up to potential."

But, these teachers already read the sheets, the child, and in that split second the anxiety on my face. This is Montessori. It's different. Meatball may technically be in first grade but because they have multi-age classrooms, he is working with the older kids. It's not a big deal. They aren't singled out and strapped with that stupid moniker, "Gifted." (What the hell does that mean anyway?!) They don't have to suffer through tedious lessons about things they already know and then go to hours of enrichment activities to give them a challenge. They just work at their own pace. And so does everyone else. No stigma. The kids themselves don't even know that they aren't working at "grade level" because for them, there is no grade level.

This is why the thought of moving is terrifying. This school is the perfect place for my children to grow and learn. It will be very difficult, if not impossible, to duplicate.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Update on the Moving...

As some of you may remember, we were in discussions with a church in a rural area that had some really appealing things attracting us. Namely, the thought of 10 acres for the kids to go nuts on. After continuing those discussions we came to the mutual decision that it just wasn't a good match for us. There were several issues that were holding both parties back. They have since called another pastor and I pray that they work well together.

Since then, we have entered into new discussions with another church. This one is in an urban area very similar to the one we live and love in. There are a couple of concerns, such as schooling, but I have been told that the church has an endowment to pay for the schooling of the pastor's children. I don't know if they had 5 children in mind, but that certainly will be apart of the negotiations if it gets that far...and we are praying that it does. And, I ask that you do the same.

The thing about this church is that it is alive. Even though Chowder and I have made the conscious decision to serve in under-served areas (we've done both rural and urban), this type of ministry can drain the very life of you. Especially, when there is no community to fill you back up again. When Chowder was called to the congregation we are currently serving, it was to be a short term call. He was to help this church discern whether it was time to close or merge, or whether they wanted to dig in and make an attempt at a new life. They really chose neither. The head of our region has actually encouraged Chowder to look elsewhere because he is wasting away at this church. Wasting his substantial, God-given gifts.

Skaterboy grew up with no church community. No youth group. Often the only child in a congregation. He's 18 and we can't drag him to church. It offers nothing for him. And frankly, it offers nothing for the rest of us. It only demands of us. And we are tired. I can't tell you the number of times we have tried to start a bible study only to be sitting alone. The kids have no community. The sad truth is that we need some time in a congregation that just loves all over us.

This other church has that. It has 1800 members. It has a head pastor. Chowder would be the Family Minister. It believes in faith in action. This church is doing ministry. It is serving. It is getting its hands dirty. I get giddy just at that the thought of having my family surrounded by that. upheld in that. We've been lonely for too long.

Things seem to look good. They feel good. The head pastor has expressed nothing but enthusiasm for Chowder's candidacy. So, please keep us and that in your prayers as the conversation goes on.

I mean....what's not to love?!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Hopefully we are back in business...

I apologize for the very long vacation on my blog. I stirred up a hornet's nest on one of the message boards I was member on and sadly my little piece of the internet became a lightning rod for some of my attackers. I am hoping that they have all moved on with their lives and will do so, too. It made me really sad. Even Chowder was sad that I had to give up Sometimes. So, hopefully we don't have to.

I have ditched the other format and will be returning to Blogger. So, I don't know if anyone will even be able to find me anymore! But, I need to get back to writing. Back to chronicling. I will be filling you in on my summer and the family. (Sweeting is ONE YEAR OLD! and Skateboy started college! And we have decided to move forward with trying to bring the seventh and final Cakes family member into the clan. big stuff.) I will also be catching up with all of you and seeing how your summer went.

I hope, my friends, you are still there. I have missed you.