Over the last week I shared our journey to Journey. How have the last 4 years been?
Pretty great. Here are my insights from the last 4 years.
I will say the hardest part is how far away the school is. There are certain inherent problems when your school is 30 minutes away. Luckily I have had a carpool each year. That has saved my sanity.
It is hard to develop and maintain close friendships outside of school. Play dates are harder to create and arrange when you live 30-45 minutes away from friends.
It is hard to be motivated to be fully involved when the school is so far away. I have been on the Parent Cabinet for 3 years and helped in the classroom as well over the past few years. So I make it happen, but I think I would be more involved if it was closer.
Flexibility in Expectations
I have had 2 different experiences with Journey School.
T2 – transferred over into 5th grade. So he was already a proficient student. He had no problems adjusting and loved the more laid back creative way of learning things. His teachers have been great and seen his natural creativity talents and allowed them to shine. I loved that his homework load was completely manageable and gave him plenty of time to be creative in the afternoons.
T3 – started at Journey in Kindergarten. So I have had to be flexible and calm about their curriculum. They don’t start teaching kids to read until 1st grade and don’t even really emphasize it until 2nd. I was a little nervous last summer that things wouldn’t click. But once he started 2nd grade his reading took off. His spelling is still questionable, but I know it will come. I love that he hasn’t had any homework. Well, his homework is to read 30 minutes a day and do a chore at home. Totally wonderful age appropriate homework!
Transitioning to High School
The big question is, will your kids be prepared for High School? I have never had a worry about this. Journey school added a specialized math teacher last year for the Jr. High kids, which was great. So T2 had Algebra 1 in 8th grade. His 8th grade project was an awesome experience. The homework load also gradually went up with each grade in Journey. Never reaching the crazy levels my other son in public school had, but he had about an 45-60 minutes a night, which I think was great. He learned how to study and do homework.
He has only been in High School for a week. His only comments about the challenge of adjusting were –
There are a LOT of kids. (250 in Journey and over 2000 at his high school, so yep…) This was more exciting to him than stressful. Though I have been reminding him to put up his Force Field every morning. He is pretty empathetic and can get overwhelmed by everyone else’s feelings if he isn’t aware.
When the bell rings the kids bolt out of the room. He was used to a more laid back enjoy your class, not needing to rush out feeling. He is also a pretty deliberate kid, taking his time doing things, even putting things into his backpack.
Other than that, the transition has been seamless.