Now that Hank is 2 months into his new adventure at Catholic School, I thought I'd post a progress report. It's been an interesting experiment.
In the beginning, Henry was very, *very* nervous about going to a new school. I even had tears a few mornings when I dropped him off, which broke my heart. And then it was hard to get information out of him at the end of the day as to how everything had gone. I felt good about him being there, but I was worried.
As the weeks went on, I could see him getting a tad more comfortable. And his teacher is *wonderful*. She's a veteran with first graders, and is super warm, kind and very, very Catholic. I knew as soon as I saw her Brown Scapular that I would like her. :)
Pretty soon, the teary mornings stopped. He still asks Mike and I every morning, "will you be thinking about me when I'm at school?" so I know that he's still feeling vulnerable to some extent. But he happily goes off each day and I can see a huge improvement. We had a conference with his teacher last week as well, and she confirmed that Henry has come a long way with relaxing and being happier at school.
He's also thriving academically. Being one of the youngest kids in the class, there are still certain things that don't come easily to him, but whereas in kindergarten we constantly heard about how he was struggling, now we can see him flourishing. He's reading and doing his basic addition and subtraction. He does excellent with spelling and vocabulary. And the school just handles things very seamlessly. There's no big deal made - if the kids need a boost in their subtraction skills, they are simply sent to the math lab for an extra session. This isn't a criticism, but at the public school, everything was much more formalized and structured. And that may be what many people prefer. For us, this works better.
Given how crazy our evenings are, I have to say that I am glad that he does not have to go to CCD separately, which in our parish is on Tuesday or Thursday evenings. It's all integrated right into his Catholic school curriculum. This past Sunday we went to Mass at Hank's school parish (separate from our regular parish; we have a crazy amount of Catholic churches in this area) and as we were walking in, he pointed out a little grotto on the side with a statue of Our Lady of Lourdes and a small bench in front of it.
"Look Mommy. I've been there before during school, to pray."
I mean, it was PRECIOUS. So I like knowing that he's doing those things at school. The only thing I don't like is that I don't really *know* what the religion curriculum is per se. He does come home with religion assignments sometimes, so I can see what they worked on, but that's not more frequent than once every one to two weeks. Yesterday, he brought home an assignment he had worked on (and gotten a 100% on :) ) about God's love and the angels. He had a heaven assignment a few weeks ago. I just wish I knew more of what they were doing because I'm interested.
So, that's that. Even though we're very money conscious these days, and he could go to the public school for free, we both feel that our investment in Hank's education at this school is very worthwhile. It has a very familial feel, and Hank is getting a lot of attention. Everyone there is very, very kind and warm. We all like it, and all signs point to us keeping Henry there, which I'm thrilled about. If that happens, Anne will go there too starting in pre-k.