From the Founder: After so many years in education, I know that I have chosen a very odd philosophy to latch on to, but I just really believe in it. The research is there, and my own personal experiences have brought me to this place!
After serving as a public and private school teacher, a university supervisor (UMD) of student teachers for MCPS, a school administrator and now a principal…after these over 20 years in education and with all these experiences, I have come to a philosophy of such simplicity that it is sometimes hard to grasp or believe works. BUT IT WORKS! One just has to come to a place of trusting the process.
We have our timelines and even “bench marks” of where our kids should be, but most times, God has programmed something totally different into our child. When we force “our way” on them, I have seen so many times that it backfires, and we find ourselves frustrated with our kids. As a mom, when it came time to educating my kids and realizing my children are so different, finding this philosophy has been such a blessing. It has removed my anxiety. It has made my oldest son stop stuttering and to finally love reading. It has allowed youngest son want to learn to read at an early age. It has allowed my baby girl to already start writing. All these things happening when they are ready, but yet not feeling the pressure to perform to meet my expectations. They are just happy and free little souls discovering for themselves who God wants them to be.
We are praying that God continues to bring families to the school who want more than just a nurturing small school that can fit into the traditional model (that will NEVER be us), but have embraced the concept of FREEING our children to learn and grow as GOD has designed them. We are looking for parents who really want their children to pursue their own dreams and not be trophies for parents to brag about. This is the child’s journey and I am and will always be an advocate for the child to be who they feel God leading them to be.
We misinterpret scripture I believe when we feel we have to force kids into their educational journey and discovering their life purpose. Joseph was given dreams as a YOUNG child, that even his father did not believe. Samuel was called by God himself and even Eli had trouble believing that God would be audibly talking to a young boy! We must come to a place of trusting our kids to follow their dreams and passions! We continue to disobey the Word when it says, in 1 Timothy 4:12 “Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.” Children have a calling and we must let them pursue it! Just about every person God called to do mighty things in the Word were called as a young child that no one believe and everyone underestimated.
We really LOVE this article that debunks the theory that kids need summer academic enrichment. Check it out!
The students planned an amazing prom this year on The Spirit of Washington! Looking forward to next year’s prom!!
A fundraiser from the founder: There is always one goal in mind and everything I do is geared towards funding the work of the Living Water School. My mind is NEVER off of that. Years ago, I sang jazz. I finally have gotten around to putting it on SoundCloud. The music is all set for listening and purchasing. Our hope and prayer is that this can provide another stream of income to support this work. I pray you’ll support and spread the word. This stuff has been in my basement for over 10 years, collecting dust. I hope God can use it to bless the school somehow. Purchases of my music go towards supporting The Living Water School.
She is our first graduate this year. She has been with us for both years of our existence. She’s been working hard to discover her passion. She found it. Beauty and fashion. She tried community college thru the dual enrollment program but fashion and beauty calls for her. She spends her day doing students’ hair, makeup and sewing. She made her prom dress. I (the founder) wrote a letter to the Dudley hair school to let her take some classes last year. They let her and she aced them. She decided that she was ready to leave our little nest and has set her graduation date. Next year she will finish cosmetology school and then she says she will go to college for business so she can open her own studio. I look forward to watching her journey.
Many of those may wonder, how does a Christian school practice the Sudbury model, and still uphold Christian standards. If we are giving the students freedom to follow their interests, then how do we connect that with making wise choices in the music they listen to?
Last night I received a text from a parent who was concerned that her daughter came home singing secular songs a lot. This morning I got to work, and she was enjoying YouTube (with staff nearby to monitor), and actually she had chosen Kids Bop. I was impressed that she was not watching something inappropriate for her young ears. I talked with the mom about what I discovered and let her know that her daughter was watching Kids Bop, so she was not looking at things that were inappropriate, but she was learning some of the words to secular songs through Kids Bop.
Later on in the day, the girl (she’s about 9) started talking and we had a great dialogue about her music choices. This girl typically does not talk much, but on this occasion she told me, “Ms. Anika I LOVE rap music and I don’t know any Christian rappers! I just love the beat!” On my end, there was no fussing at her or anything as such, but I was just listening. We have got to learn to listen to our youth! Hear their cries and desires! So, I asked her, “If I give you a list of Christian rappers to check out, would you be interested?” Her face lit up! Her mom came to get her and asked me to send her the list as well. As the mom walked out the door, I encouraged her to look up The Cross Movement. I felt like her daughter would like any of their music. I also told her that most Christian rap that we hear today, is birthed from this group…much of the Christian rap we love today is influenced by them. Now, I have to get my list together of Tripp Lee, LeCrae, and many others that this little girl can get her groove on with!
This was not a Bible class, or me spending hours preaching at her about how “bad” secular music is, but it was about she and I simply having a dialogue and me sharing my thoughts with her. It was about me HEARING her hearts desire and respecting that. To me, this is how the Sudbury Model is played out in a Christian setting. We simply guide them, share with them, and then step back to let their own free will learn to make the best choices. But we as staff are ever watchful in order NOT to miss these teachable moments.
The Living Water School is sponsoring it’s first prom and we’d like to invite EVERYONE! We call it The 1 Prom! High school students in grades 9-12 from any school, youth group, homeschool group, etc. are welcome! For more information visit www.the1prom.com and spread the word!