The other night Marlin was playing with the boys after dinner, as they often do each evening. Marlin asked Bennett a question and Bennett replied with a confident, “No way!” We froze. Our eyes grew wide, and we looked at each other in wonder. Marlin asked him to say it again and Bennett loudly said, “No way!” We cheered and tousled his hair and hugged him tight. You see, Bennett just turned ten years old and has only a few words he can say. He communicates using a variety of methods, but this was the first time he has said two words together and we were elated!
In our family, we celebrate each milestone and every tiny bit of effort and progress it takes in between along the way. In the same manner, Juneberry Hill Schoolhouse will use a competency-based approach to instruction where all students progress through curriculum based on mastery of material at their own pace. Direct instruction in language arts and math will be given to small groups or individuals by the teacher at the student’s instructional levels. Science, social studies, and other subjects will be taught in a multi-age format with individual assessments given at the student’s academic level. Our goal is to make each student successful at their own unique level using a variety of curriculums, hands-on learnings tools, and techniques.
By doing so, the needs of all the students can be met. And since Juneberry Hill Schoolhouse is modeled after the one room schoolhouses in the past, our schoolhouse will purposefully have an enrollment of only 12 to 15 students, and it will be possible to enable individual supports for students across all levels of academics.
To help Bennett and students who, like him, may need communication supports, we plan to have a communication board outside as well as within the classroom. Below is a photo of one we took at an all-inclusive playground in Winona Lake, Indiana, called Limitless Park… what a wonderful name for a playground. While we also plan to include sign language as a second language in the classroom, a communication board like the one pictured, will allow Bennett to communicate his needs or wants quickly.
Please continue to pray for the paperwork, planning, teacher, future students, and funding needed to bring Juneberry Hill Schoolhouse to life. We thank you so very much!
May you find joy in the simple things in life,