This story begins at the end of last school year.
For my son, Bunny, we decided to homeschool school him for the summer to see how he’d do. Traditional, public school wasn’t working and if I’m going to work this hard as a parent, I may as well do all of the work. We enrolled him in Florida Virtual School (FLVS) and got him started.
For my daughter, Bee, we were considering sending her to school for the first time. At four, the state of Florida allows children to attend school, to a voluntary pre-kindergarten program, paid for by the state. Bee is four.
Bee has asked to attend school since she could understand that we were dropping Bunny off there every day. We explained that it was a place to learn, grow and make friends. I think it was the “friends” that attracted her most.
Now that it was time, I was excited to give her that opportunity. As we searched for a new school, I received advice from friends, reviews from colleagues, online information and websites were abundant. But where was the best place to send my precious little girl?
A quick Google search showed me the opening of a new school. It was private, expensive and very cool. The foundation of the school is STEM (or STEAM): science, technology, engineering, (arts), mathematics. I’ll tell you more about the “cool factor” later.
I wasn’t sure how we would afford it, on one income and all. I mean, I make some cash from this blog, but for the most part, it pays for itself and gives me some spending cash, hardly enough to finance a private school education.
But I was curious. Curious to see what they said, curious to see what the difference was from the traditional public school that we had utilized over the last several years. So, I submitted a request for the particulars. I signed up to go to their informational session. I even got my husband to buy in. We attended the session together.
What we saw was intriguing. The session itself was, well, a school informational session, all shiny and new. But for the kids, the kids played with robotics and technology while mom and dad were busy. The teachers sat down on the floor and walked my girls through how to use them. The teachers watched while my girls played.
By far, their favorite was this little robot that followed whatever line you drew. Bee had a blast drawing lines and then placing the robot down to follow. I know this because she spent a few minutes after the meeting telling me the ends and outs of how it works.
“We would like to see Bee again. When can you come in for an interview?” the administrator asked as we were leaving.
Until she asked, I don’t think the possibility of my daughter going to a private school was real.
My husband and I had a long discussion on the way home and I scheduled an interview the following Monday.
I was nervous. I had never put my children up for an interview or audition of any sort.
The interview was fantastic. Bee’s knowledge, memory, and understanding rocked the tester. I was a proud momma. Then Butterfly started strutting her stuff (because where would I go without both of my girls?).
The second part of the interview was more of a robotics play session. Remember I told you about the “cool factor”, this was it. She went to another room and played with various robotics toys: a 3d printer (well, not played with, but watched it work), Google cardboard, and a whole lotta other stuff.
If you haven’t tried Google cardboard, you have to try it. It’s a 3D map rendition of the world. Once you download the app, this $15 device will help you see the world literally through new eyes. Virtual reality is at your fingertips and for cheap!
Anywho, my daughter got into the school. We were excited and my husband went to tell his family.
This fairly innocent phone call changed the rest of our summer and possibly the rest of our lives.