Since moving to Oregon, I've been regularly hit with all the many reasons we made this move:
*The delightfully cool and drippy weather that we love.
*The excellent shopping. (Not that we shop more than the average family, but it's nice having direct access to all the things we want and not being forced to shop online or drive an hour and a half to make a purchase.)
*The steady stream of community activities, things to see, and places to go.
*The people. (To put it simply, we fit here.)
First and foremost though, we moved here because of the schools. The schools here in the small towns outside of Portland are really, really good schools. When Jay and I were researching potential places to put down roots, the schools were a huge deciding factor.
Here's the thing about my son-he's a great student and he's always done well, but he needs to be pushed into trying new things. And if he thinks that something isn't going to interest him, he won't even give it a shot. He's always gotten good grades and the Florida school system has taught him many things, but they didn't give him a love of learning. He knows facts and he knows how to do well in school, but the idea of being a lifelong learner has never really appealed to him.
As his parents, Jay and I have tried to fill in the gaps, educationally speaking, and expose him to other things, but it's been hard. There were times I didn't have the resources or even any idea as to where to begin. And of course, since we are his parents, we're usually met with resistance anytime we try to teach him anything new.
Anyway, back to his school here in Oregon. The boy is doing well and getting good grades, which honestly we expected. What we didn't expect was an almost immediate exposure to new and different things. One of the big events of the sixth grade school year is Outdoor School, where all of the sixth graders go camping for three days. This is a pretty big deal and a major part of the curriculum, but I've seen the difference on a smaller scale as well. For instance, today the boy came in the door and immediately pulled this out of his backpack:Do you know what that is??? It's baby Elphaba from Act One of Wicked! Not only is my son in a musical theatre class (a class long since cut from the budget in Florida) but he's being exposed to Wicked! Plus, he was so excited to share this with me because he knows I just read the book a few months ago. (Excuse the folds in his drawing, but it's a huge improvement from the wadded up balls he usually brings me.) Do you know how excited I am by this? The theatre, and the arts in general, are what I've been trying to interest my son in his whole life. I'm overjoyed that he's being introduced to things like this in a classroom setting. This makes it all (the financial hit we took, the fact that we're living in a teeny apartment, etc...) worth it. As Jay has said numerous times, the only thing we regret is that we didn't do it sooner.