“Mom, I love love LOVE my new school. Oh. Em. Gee!!!”

This declaration came before the end of the first week of school, yet after a summer break filled with weeping and gnashing of teeth. For example:

@SayWhatScooter: “… but I like my OLD school!”

Mommy: “Ooh, look at this beautiful garden. And we get to do the Tuesday market!”

Scoot: “But I’m gonna miss my FRENNNNNS”

Me: “You’ll make NEW friends!”

LeScoot: “But… DAAAAADDDDYYYYY!” #writhingonfloor

Truth is, I, too, was perplexed. Our family had a lot going on. Bossman and I were buying a house, which meant we would be moving during the school year (that also meant we would have to get serious about Marie Kondo-ing our space). I was working my way out of a steady music gig and stepping into a completely new field and scope of work. So, I get it.

But here’s the best part: Bossman, Scoot, and I get to share this journey with some of the most wonderful people– family (my Mom is a Rockstar), friends, our #sahdahtay group and creative community. They are smart, kind, beautiful, giving and gifted. And all strive to bring light into the world in a very real way. And because of that, I am thrilled to see how this all shakes out.

I’ve always believed that you should surround yourself with people who are smarter than you. Well, I’ve got that part covered. I also seek out people who are more compassionate than I. Compassion was one of the many things that my sis, Niki, and I would discuss at length when Scoot and I would have regular sleepovers, many moons ago.

Compassion and kindness were among the topics of conversation when I joined her at a friend’s home for cocktails about five years ago. We talked about how important it is to raise children who are confident and self-aware. We spoke about alternative education methods, and this was the first time I gave home-schooling some real consideration. That friend was Margaret Strickland. At that time, she was embarking on her new adventure, as founder of the Westabou Montessori School.

Back then, The Scoot fell outside of the age range for enrollment, but, when the planets lined up, we signed on the dotted line. The Montessori class setup, teaching methods, etc., are new to me, but Scooter takes it all in stride. He is loving his responsibilities as market manager (well, I think I love that more than he), junior zoologist (they’ve got a pair of sugar gliders, a bearded dragon and periodic visits from Mrs. Amanda’s chickens), and junior counselor (because, well, kindness and compassion).

So, here’s the thing. While we love love LOVE Westabou Montessori, I was also excited to receive Richmond County Public Schools 2020-2021 School Options Guide and check out what they offer. I’ve not had a chance to dig too deeply, but I’m eager to discover how Richmond County employs innovation and collaboration in the classroom.

Quality education is not to be taken for granted, and while I’m no expert, I know that equal opportunity is not a reality for all. And though there are exceptions, kids in different zip codes walk into very different classrooms (thanks, Latasha Louis). So… As we get ready for an epic Year 2020, let’s put the kids out of the house every morning with an encouraging word. Let us shower our teachers with hand sanitizer, colored pencils and gift cards. And let us work toward a more perfect classroom.

And let there be a pet chicken in every classroom. ONWARD!

Karen Gordon is a singer, songwriter and the founder of Garden City Jazz. She works with the City of Augusta to present the Candlelight Jazz Concert Series each year and has partnered with RCBOE to develop interactive courses such as Taking Notes: Jazz & The American Story and Jazz4Kids.

This article appears in the December 2019/January 2020 issue of Augusta Family Magazine.
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