Written by: Kelsey Bonilla | Cambridge Parent
As a new family to Cambridge last year, one of the differences we noticed was the philosophy regarding a parent’s role in their child’s education. In public school, the overriding attitude is that education is the responsibility of the school. While the learning curve was a bit steep; we’ve come to appreciate and cherish this partnership between parents and teachers, home and school. This distinction in attitude and approach at Cambridge was an advantage as we transitioned into a distance learning environment.
Compared to friends with children in public school who are struggling to embrace their new role as teacher, our role has remained fairly consistent in supporting our children’s education. We’re definitely spending more time supervising their school work and proctoring tests, but the bulk of their instruction and learning is being provided by their teachers.
As a working parent, I’ve cherished this time at home and enjoyed greater insight into what my children are learning. The days become compartmentalized between times we are all off working independently and times we’re together engaging and sharing. It’s been helpful to identify the natural energy rhythms for each of us and use them to our advantage. We’ve also enjoyed discussing topics in depth such as our Founding Fathers, Martha Washington and Ancient Egypt. The history curriculum provides so much material for family dinner conversation!
It’s fun to see the kids using Sienna’s Colonial Day supplies to setup their own colonial village in the backyard. The embodied historical narratives that they enjoy at school are then carried into their imaginative play. Through Sienna’s enthusiasm and storytelling, Mateo is already interested in Colonial America, so his learning in Fifth Grade will be that much more robust.
As I sit down to work and can hear the kids in their bedrooms joining their first Zoom meeting of the day, I marvel at the teachers’ ability to maintain their classroom culture. Mrs. Hensley greets each student by name and they reply, “Good morning, Mrs. Hensley” one by one. The morning devotion and prayers still set the tone at the beginning of the school day, as they did in the Great Hall and courtyard when the campus was open.
This moment in time is not ideal and it’s sad that so many milestones and special events had to be modified or cancelled due to the pandemic. However, there are also blessings in this slower, more restful approach to life. On a recent weekend afternoon, Dennis told the kids all about his childhood growing up on a ranch, complete with a map of various crops and orchards. They were riveted by his story for hours! These types of conversations are difficult to come by in the busyness of normal school days, after school activities, and weekend sporting events. Learning is happening in these moments of family connection, as well as in the daily activities like cooking, laundry, and watering plants.
Our family culture has been changed by our experience at Cambridge as we’re intentional with our time while prioritizing conversation, prayer and rest. I feel that this school/family culture has been a tremendous asset during this “Safer at Home” order. Our days continue to have structure and purpose while we also enjoy a lot more downtime to explore interests, play and relax. We are grateful for the hard work that the teachers and leaders at Cambridge have put in to provide a consistent schedule, engaging curriculum, and positive attitude during this challenging time.