Monday, January 5, 2009

Benjamin Academy of the Arts and Sciences

It's official, we passed our first review with flying colors!

The Holy Spirits fingerprints were all over this meeting. We had a tender Asian grandmother do our review. We were supposed to bring a sample of reading material for our review. I limited myself to 2 books per subject area. When I brought out the plastic bin of books, the darling Mrs. L burst out with "so many books for a kindergartner! That is good! That is very good!"

We had the most pleasant hour of conversation. Mrs. L is completely on the same page as us. She was so happy to see Hannah's drawings and scribbled "books." As a former math teacher, she was all over Math-U-See and my random collection of unfinished Number Street drawings.

"Emotional security counts," according to Mrs. L. "The most important thing you can do is read them a book each night, sign them a song and then give them a hug from Mommy and Daddy. That way the child had no bad dreams fearing that they are alone in the world."

Can you imagine a sweeter, more confidence building portfolio review? So much for my fears of being busted for not more vigorously pursuing phonics!

As a final mark of the Holy Spirit's presence occurred when we got to the music section. Last Saturday, I completely panicked over our lack of music lessons this semester. For Hannah's portfolio I photocopied two Catholic hymns. That section seemed a bit small so I added our Nutcracker unit. When typing out the labels for the portfolio, Jon made a mistake and wrote NUTCRACKER BALLET in huge bold letters. The words jumped out from you on the page. We were going to change it but ran out of time.

So in the midst of this delightful review, Mrs. L turns the page and NUTCRACKER BALLET leaps off the page at her.

She stops in silence for a moment. Catches her breath.

Out tumbles this long story of how much she loves this ballet and how important it is for young girls. Her own granddaughter performed this ballet in front of 1200 people in St. Louis at age 10. Mrs. L loved the performance so much so put the Nutcracker as the ring tone on her cellphone.

So when she turns the page and sees the pictures of Hannah's dance and choreography notation, she almost faints. "This is so advanced!" she shouts and notes all sorts of nice things on our official paperwork.

And to think, that was one of the many parts that sort of landed in the portfolio by accident. Yes, just another day of the Holy Spirit at work.

(It went so well, I'm sheepish about all my earlier stress. It wasn't until later that I realized that in both side of my family we have public school teachers who are deeply opposed to our decision to home school. Jon and Ibuilt it up in our minds that the entire public school system in Maryland was hostile to home-schooling. I'm glad to know that some boogymen only exist in our imaginations!)