The first year can be scary. This transition from primary colors, simple shapes, and “D is for duck” above the bulletin board to writing rubrics, student planners and dry erase boards with math problems I can no longer solve. This transition I’m describing is that big one – to middle school. Our oldest son is only (maybe not quite) half way through his fifth grade year and we are wound up in school of choice applications and extrapolating his future into his 20s and beyond.
A dear friend of mine answered my desperate text to grab lunch a few weeks ago. How do we choose a Boy Scout troop? How do I foster good friendships? And how do we survive middle school? I asked very sincerely. Her good word, “He’s gonna be OK.” Right. My shoulders dropped and I took a deep breath. She’s right – my kiddo, he’s gonna be OK. He’s resilient, he’s pretty sharp and he lives in a city with options.
The option we’re going with is the Intellectual Virtues Academy. Why? Well…a number of reasons, not the least of which is the small class size. I’m in no hurry to grow my boy up fast or give up the community we enjoyed on his elementary school campus. But the more I travel through this stuff called life, the more I have come to value the people who ask good questions, who are not settled with who they are, but choose to grow and stretch and never stop learning, and who have stick-to-itiveness. More than perfect test scores, or 4s or check-pluses, those are qualities I want my son to have.
Yeah…the first year of anything can be scary but because I believe in the people behind Intellectual Virtues Academy, I believe the risk is going to be well worth the reward. That’s why we are choosing a middle school where our boys can learn and live well.
Over the next 15 weeks, you’ll hear from me on Tuesdays – about the charter school, and about our thoughts and conversations as parents of a fifth grader. On Fridays, you’ll hear from Dr. Jason Baehr – one of Intellectual Virtues Academy’s founders and the recipient of a John Templeton Grant to train teachers in the Intellectual Virtues model of education. We hope you’ll visit again to learn more about this important movement in learning.