Maureen Rayburn, Marketing Strategist at Laurel Springs School, shares the story of her family’s journey into schooling from home, as well as her first experiences as a Laurel Springs parent.
Well, we’re doing it. We’re taking the leap. If you’ve been following the blog posts about my elementary school-aged children, Cassidy and Imogene, you know that shortly after the COVID-19 quarantine began, I began to wonder if a Laurel Springs education could work for us. COVID-19 shut down our traditional public school, and the poorly executed online lessons made me question the quality of education they were receiving, even before the pandemic. My kids are natural learners. Their creative, curious minds honestly need more than a traditional school can offer.
After dipping our toes into the world of online learning at Laurel Springs with summer courses, we made the decision to withdraw them from our public school for the fall. They both completed Spanish 1 for grades K-2, and they were so much more engaged with the online format than they were with the chaotic Zoom meetings and the busywork that just fell short of an actual education.
So now it’s official. Cassidy will be attending 3rd grade, and Imogene will be attending 1st grade full-time at Laurel Springs. Our whole family is really excited for the future, but I will also admit that I’m nervous.
The Biggest Difference
The commitment to doing school from home requires discipline from my children, but it also requires discipline on my part. One of the most important lessons I’ve learned while Cassidy and Imogene have been learning remotely is that life as I know it absolutely must shift gears. There are no two ways about it. It’s unreasonable to think that young children are going to be completely self-sufficient while learning outside of a traditional classroom, and that means my own day-to-day life has to look different than it used to when they sat in a classroom for hours at a time. I want to have oversight and a voice in my children’s education, and I want their academic journey to be consistent. That means I need to actively engage. I need to be a champion for their education, while allowing the experts to actually execute on the curriculum.
Gone are the days when we do a nightly inventory of backpacks and lunchboxes. I no longer have to think about Crazy Hair Day or sneakers for gym class or any of the other mental checklist items that many parents have to keep straight. Truth be told, I’ll miss it. I’ll miss that organized chaos because there is some sort of perceived safety in it all. It’s formulaic…we all know what to expect every day. (I can even predict that I’ll forget pizza money AND the Wacky Sock Contest.) But does that comfort come at the expense of a well-rounded education? Maybe. Is that well-rounded education going to, in turn, cost me the ability to plan my days perfectly to the hour? Most definitely. But it also means I have the opportunity to really see my kids grow. I will watch them follow their passions outside of a planned school day…and that’s because they will have the time to do it.
Is It Worth the Change?
At the end of the day, enrolling Cassidy and Imogene at Laurel Springs offers us all greater freedom and flexibility in their learning than you’d typically find in a traditional brick-and-mortar school. What I also know is that an online private school fills the holes I see in my children’s academic experience. They can truly own their learning journey. They’re given safety and stability in their education. It’s shaping up to be everything I could possibly hope for their future and journey through life.
As for me, my coffee breaks at work will now be spent reviewing foreign language speaking labs and sight words. It’s good, though. It’s different, but it’s good. There’s an entirely different comfort in knowing that shifting my own schedule and expectations could be the first step in giving my girls exactly what they need in an academic home.