I am not one to brag about my kids. In fact their accomplishments get a hug and an "I am so proud of you, happy you picked me to be your Mom, keep up the good working being you." Sometimes I mention their accomplishments to Gramma & Grampa, Aunt Ginny & Aunt Terry... but that is about as far as it goes.
This past weekend, I heard several times (as my kids were volunteering for the Local Living Festival) that my kids were kind, respectful, considerate, helpful... adults told me they were going to adopt a child in part because of their time spent with my kids and wanting to give love and guidance to another child, and then this AM as I dropped my kids at Little River Community School (yes, I know this is a run on sentence) another Mom told me how her son spoke highly of Eli (my youngest son) every day: how Eli protects him, sticks up for him, helps him, etc.
Keep in mind, I live with these boys. I see them in their darkest moments and wonder if I will survive Mom-hood with my sanity intact. I question, at challenging moments: "where DID I go wrong." To hear good things about one's kids, when they are out and about in the world and free to make decisions based upon who they inherently are, makes a parent's heart sing. "Oh MY... I (we) may have done something right!"
I know it takes a community to raise a kid and I am forever grateful to Gramma & Grampa, my sisters, their Dad's family, dear friends who role model awesome human characteristics, people they meet on the street, their friends, and even people who bring negative characteristics into their lives. I love teachable moments! "Why is it you should not behave like this, treat others like this, etc." are amazing tools in parenting kids who will hopefully go out into the world and spread good energy and love to all their connections.
OK, so for the Little River Community School part of my parenting gratitude. Kids spend a big portion of their growing up years in their school setting. This time spent at school is a shaper of who they are.
Top 10 Reasons I Am Glad My Kids Go To Little River Community School: (keep in mind I have 2 sons)
- They walk up the hill to school to great friends with hugs and words such as: "Hey Aj, I am sooooo glad you are my friend."
- Their awesome teachers randomly dole out hugs as part of the school day.
- My kids still hug, kiss, and say I Love You Mom loudly and clearly in front of people in public. This has not been bullied, shamed, or embarrassed out of them in public school.
- They are nurtured for who they are and what they need to learn to grow themselves into the best they can be (to the very best of the school's ability combined with volunteer community teachers and ongoing support with parental choices).
- Small class size (8-10 students to 1 teacher!) and amazing hands on teacher support.
- It is a community school (see volunteer community teacher comment above). Students from local colleges come to share their passion for music, movement, building, education, you name it with Little River's students. "Experts" in the community come into volunteer share great stuff with the students: drumming, dance, tae kwon do, carpentry, building, Project Adventure Team Building Skills, Aeronautical stuff (I forget the technical name of this class that Rob Klein, formerly of Norwood, NY, taught with the older students interested in planes and helicopters), yoga, stress reduction techniques, wood stacking, and the list goes on & on of practical life skills my kids (our kids) are being exposed to and learning at Little River Community School.
- High School students must do 50 hours of community service every year. This has exposed my kids to: helping & teaching young students their tae kwon do, shoveling neighbors out of the snow, stacking woods for family - friends - neighbors, tech help with neighbor's computers, volunteering for the Local Living Venture, offering love to the animals at the Potsdam Animal Shelter... I know there is more but my mind is not recalling all.
- Opportunities to put on events for the community: Latin Dance Party in Potsdam, NY which has become an annual event.
- Small group camping and hiking trips to continue exposing them to the great outdoors. Trust me, someone helping me with this one in the age of kids and tech is a true Mom blessing.
- A holistic approach to kids, education, and life on this planet.
- Teaching to the kids not teaching to a test. I think this speaks again of #4 above.
- Outdoor play time and class time! Little River students get a morning and a lunch break that includes plenty of outdoor play time (and it is encouraged). This means fresh air, sunshine, and body movement not just sitting at a desk all day. Courses are scheduled with outside teaching & learning time in mind based upon the seasons of the year.
Oh yeah, I said 10 top reasons... truly, there are so many more. My heart gives a deep thanks to the people who have reminded me that my kids go out in the world and shine, giving their best so others can be their best as well. As a Mom, I cannot ask for more.
No matter where kids go to school: public, private, community, home schooled, etc. , they deserve to be loved, nurtured, and supported to become who they are meant to be.