so excited about my daughter starting high school

liesl will start attending a new private high school this fall that’s part of the school she’s been attending the last few years. it’s called the waldorf high school of san diego. it’s tiny to begin with — 14 students in the freshman class (which will be the only class this fall). but for those 14 kids, they have 2 full-time faculty, 4 part-time faculty, and 2 or 3 visiting faculty.

i am so stoked about the education and experience she’ll have this year.

we went to a faculty/parent/student potluck and school-year kick-off thingy the other night, where they went over a bunch of info about the year, and we had a chance to get to know the teachers and such. and we got her schedule for the year. it’s so freakin’ cool:

every morning, all year, they have a ‘seminar’ (like a block study) for a concentrated number of weeks, taught by the various faculty (including the visiting peeps). these will cover: history of drama, geology, social justice. modern revolutions, descriptive geometry, human anatomy, thermodynamics, the grapes of wrath, organic chemistry, and history of art.

then they have a period that is literature and history three days a week, and dance two days a week (this is the kind of thing that will really engage liesl), followed by a period that is choir one day a week, and algebra the other four days.

they can choose french or spanish (liesl will take french), and she’ll have that every day while the kids taking spanish have lunch (then she’ll have lunch while the spanish kids are in class).

the afternoon periods are different each day: monday and thursday are “movement” (which is a waldorf way of saying “P.E”), wednesday is band (they have a totally cool dude of a band leader, who’s also a performing jazz guitarist), and tuesday and friday are art. this “art” chunk is a kick. they start with 4.5 weeks of metalsmithing (yeah, the geology teacher is also a female blacksmith!), 8 weeks of creative writing, 3 weeks of community service, 2 weeks of glasswork, and 17.5 weeks of fine art.

then, there are optional after school programs for sports.

we’re totally pumped (as is liesl). this is one of the main reasons we’re moving (and downsizing), so we can afford to make this tuition a priority.

a little reminder for those who might be newer to my blog: i’m a huge fan of public schools, and we only switched to a private school because liesl’s learning style didn’t fit the public school, and she was dying (academically and emotionally). the private school we chose isn’t a christian school – we want our kids to learn in an environment that includes people of other beliefs and faiths, and to learn to be salt and light in the world. as for cost: well, this is one of the main reasons why we’re downsizing and moving today.

12 thoughts on “so excited about my daughter starting high school”

  1. Mark, the school sounds really cool. I looked it up on the web and really love the core values. I really admire you and Jeannie searching for the school that worked well with Liesl and not making her fit the mold of another school.

    My wife and I will be facing the same decision in a few years. Like you, I am a big believer in public schools- but you have to do with is best for the education of your child.

    Congrats and holding you in prayer during this transition.

    Jay Clark
    Pulaski Heights UMC
    Little Rock, AR

  2. Not that either you Marko, or you Jay are necessarily disagreeing with what I’m about to say but the phrase “but you have to do with is best for the education of your child” is a worrying one. Education of your child be damned. You have to do what’s best to raise your child to love Jesus. Whether that’s through putting them in a good school or a taking them out of school or whatever, but ultimate, the education isn’t that important.

  3. Mark – So does “loving Jesus” in any way exist in opposition to “education?” I look at what you have written, and am left with the impression that you see an inverse linear relationship between the two, that the more educated a person is, the less likely that they will love Jesus, and that the more that someone loves Jesus, the less educated they need to be.

    I think Jesus will be very upset with us if we raise up a generation of children who “love” Him, but don’t have the mental acuity to understand or to explain why they “love” Him. “Faith seeking understanding” not “Faith LACKING understanding”.

  4. My kids are in a Christian school but have plenty of opportunity to be “salt and light” as many students do not embrace their parent’s values. The school is small and has been a great place for my kids to thrive (one is graduated and doing well at university), grow, learn, and serve. My son has some emotional development problems and knowing that the teachers pray for him is a huge blessing to us.
    I am not against public education but this was the right choice for our kids.

  5. Jeff, I’m not sure I’m going to disagree with anything you say too. If you think I’m saying we need a stupid faith, then I’m not. What I’m trying to say is that their is a problem with the phrase “but you have to do what is best for the education of your child” is that it’s putting the highest goal you have for your child -what you think of as best for your child- as his or her getting a good education. That’s not the highest goal for your child, that’s idolatry. The highest goal for your child is that he or she would know and love Jesus.

  6. Marko – Sorry if we’re hijacking the blog here.

    Mark – There seems to be an assumption here that there is (or at least can be) an exclusivity between the two. I would disagree. Faith has nothing to fear from education. Far from it, it is a prerequisite.

    Education HAS to be a priority, and there are times that it, yes I am saying this, is more important than faith. It is understanding that the pursuit of a superior education is an expression of faith, not a challenge to it.

  7. Sounds like a fantastic learning experience! And kudos for doing whatever you can to raise Liesl up in the way that she should go. To know that something isn’t working for your child and to consider your options and then sacrifice so that your child can have something that will work, well, it rocks. Happy back-to-school.

  8. Marko,

    Way to go for doing what’s best for your family and for Liesl. No matter where she goes, she will be Salt and Light, because of the examples that you and Jeannie, live out before her and Max…

    Way to go & God Bless!

  9. Jeff – I’m not quite sure what you’re arguing for. My point is this: putting everything aside so that your kids education is first is idolatry. Their education is only important as long as it helps them to glorify God and love Jesus. That’s why I say “education be damned”, it’s better to be uneducated than it is to not know Jesus. I’m not saying stupidity is a virtue or anything like that, I’m just saying, education, like any good thing, is idolatrous if we put it above knowing Jesus. That’s why the phrase “but you have to do what is best for the education of your child” is worrying.

    Why do you say education can be a priority over having faith?

  10. Mark – I don’t say that. I do say that at any given moment, the pursuit of an educational goal often is the expression of a faithful relationship. Just because that educational moment is studying something that overtly has nothing to do with Jesus does not mean that it isn’t an expression of faith.

    What is having faith to you? You ask me “[w]hy do you say education can be a priority over having faith?” Is there a situation where those two objectives are exclusive of each other? Is faith some tangible object, and God is some bogey-man hiding around the corner waiting to jump out at us to ask “do you have it?” Hardly. (God doesn’t need to be a bogeyman – there are plenty of volunteers; i.e. Falwell, Dobson, etc.)

    What boundaries would you place upon the definition of a pursuit of faith? What activities are included and what activities are included? The study of the bible I’m assuming would be inside those walls. Prayer time would be a good thing.

    What about the study of critics of Christianity? Inside or out?

    What about the study of religions that are in conflict of Christianity? Inside or out?

    What about the study of the universe and how everything interacts with everything else, both on a Newtonian level and on a Quantum level? In or out?

    What about helping poor people find the services and programs that will help them put food on the table tonight? Inside or out? Does your answer change if that person gets paid and so we call them “employee” instead of “volunteer”? What if that job is helping people find the right investment so that they can put food on the table when they’re retired? What if that job is helping rich people get richer (and be careful to define rich if your answer changes)? Are these inside or outside of your walls? Where is YOUR line in the sand.

    The pursuit of anything that God does not want for us is disobedience (not idolatry). However, I am completely and utterly unable to imagine a situation where God would be saying “no” to someone wanting to expand the capabilities of their God-given mind. For a parent, it is an expression of our faith and becomes a self-imposed responsibility to insure the expansion of all the God-given gifts to our children. Contrary to what you said, the vigilant pursuit of better education for our children is not idolatry. The lack of doing so would be sloth or disobedience, and therefore failure in our God-given role as stewards of our children’s potential.

    But I do encourage you to try and provide a concrete example of where the pursuit of an objective education is going against God’s will.

  11. Mark, I envy the obvious trust you have to place your daughter in God’s hands with regard to her education. My husband and I agonized over a school choice for our new 9th Grader and ultimately decided against the new age charter school in favor of our local public high school. Yes, she is student #318 in a class of 647 kids, but it is our responsibility to find a way for her to be successful in such a large institution.

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