I am excited this morning. Over the 5 years (cannot believe it’s been 5 years) of having the school, our recruitment efforts have evolved. When I first started we were eager to bring in new families. After year 3 we made the decision to not be so eager. We do not hold open houses, but we open our doors. I am always “on call” for when a new family wants to learn about the school through a one on one meeting. My main recruitment tactic however is the open door policy. We offer 5 free days to any potential family to just come and hang with us for as long as they want each day. They can drop off the child or stay with the child.
When we started doing this, we started having less families that did not connect to the philosophy and were disgruntled and more families that signed up and stayed and became fans of the school. The school is beyond different. It is just something a person has to experience fully to grasp it. We have had many families visit and leave and don’t return but there are no hard feelings. We may call or message once or twice to follow up, but we try not to do too much “selling” of the school. I feel relief that their decision was made before money was exchanged and forms were filled out. No one’s time was wasted and no stress on me to try to convince people that this school is awesome.
Then we have families that come and stay and love it. It’s like they have the eyes to see that traditional structure is not always necessary for a child to have a great learning experience. As the poem the Human Family says, we are all different! We learn differently! Our children learn differently, which is why there needs to be options so that every single child can learn in the way that God created them.
So we had a family visit us on this week. Dad sat there just staring, texting the wife and reporting on what he was observing (she had to work). He stayed about 2 hours and then said…slowly, “I think this is what my son needs.” What did he see? I am not quite sure. To the natural eye he saw kids laughing, talking hanging out, sitting quietly, laid out on the floor, dancing, reading, singing, running, sleeping, working on a work book of some kind, etc….and he saw staff being calm, relaxing as we watched over the students, talking to students, laughing with students, playing with students, hugging students. They did not see classrooms, and kids organized by age or ability. He did not hear silence and the voice of one person pouring in information to a student’s brain.
When he left, he talked about how his son loves music and needs the freedom to pursue that passion and the flexibility to do his learning on his own time and in his own way. So I think he saw “it.” You cannot see “it” until you hang out with us for a while. You cannot see “it” if you struggle with trusting a child to direct his own life and learning path. You cannot see “it” if visions of structure and order and traditional authority cloud your mind’s eye.
So I get a text this morning from the parent and he is sending his son today for his 5 free days and I am so excited that this family seemed to see “it” at the LW School.